Friday, July 18, 2014

Mixed-Use Developments Don't Have "Shopping Centers"

The Dallas Morning News has a story by Steve Brown that illustrates how Richardson is missing the mark on transit-oriented, mixed-use development. (That's not Steve Brown's point. That's my takeaway.) The headline reads, "Plans approved for CityLine Market shopping center in Richardson.

After the jump, the details.

The News's story says the new shopping center will be "just south" of the "State Farm campus." It's "in the same area" as Raytheon's office complex. The shopping center will have "sites along Renner Road in front of the strip" for smaller retail buildings.

Do you notice what's common to all of these location descriptions? None of them say the retail will actually be part of the office or residential developments. Just somewhere close to them. That is, none of these new developments will actually be mixed-use. The different pieces of this whole CityLine development will be within sight of each other or within a short drive of each other, but that's not really the same thing as mixed-use development. Mixed-use developments don't have "shopping centers." The shopping should be, you know, mixed in with the other uses. To be fair, it appears that there will be some mixed-use buildings constructed in the original State Farm campus. But most of this CityLine development appears to be something that you'd expect to see built in the 1980s.

Richardson keeps using the right buzzwords -- mixed-use, transit-oriented, walkability. But then they allow (and even cheer) the development of unwalkable, separate-use, non-transit-oriented developments like CityLine. They talk walkability, but they don't walk the talk.

P.S. The recent approval by the City Plan Commission for a drive-through-only Starbucks in the Richardson Heights shopping center is another aspect of this problem. It's catering to the automobile culture even though the city says it encourages walkability.

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