Thursday, August 2, 2012

What To Do With Main Street

Richardson's Main Street is an unappreciated bit of living history, a sadly neglected town center that time passed by as Richardson grew up all around it. Maybe, just maybe, that's about to change. The city has initiated a Main Street/Central Expressway Corridor study to explore redevelopment opportunities for old downtown. The public's careabouts for the area are being gathered through public meetings and an online survey and questionnaire, available through August 30.

After the jump, my responses to the survey.

  1. I am most involved in the Main Street / Central Expressway Corridor as: A resident of Richardson outside this Corridor
  2. I am most interested in issues related to: Business and the Economy
  3. How important is this concept?
    • Making the area more appealing to pedestrians -- Very Important
    • Taking better advantage of nearby DART stations -- Very Important
    • Attracting new private investment -- Very Important
    • Creating a better gateway into Richardson -- Not Very Important
    • Offering places that attract younger residents and workers -- Very Important
    • Having a mix of uses -- Very Important
    • Having better physical amenities, like parks or plazas -- Very Important
    • Attracting new business development -- Somewhat Important
    • Enhancing Richardson's multiculturalism -- Very Important
    • Renovating and reusing existing businesses -- Somewhat Important
    • Retaining Main Street Richardson's historic character -- Somewhat Important
    • Attracting major employers and company headquarters -- Neutral
    • Creating a distinctive identity for the area -- Neutral
    • Moving traffic more smoothly -- Very Unimportant
    • Making this area more sustainable -- Very Important
This survey is unlikely to reveal much useful information. It's like asking American voters if they want to support our troops, protect Social Security, cut taxes and balance the budget (yes, yes, yes, yes). I could have answered "Very Important" to almost every careabout, but what would that tell city planners?

I support "almost" every careabout. There's one careabout in that list that I rated "Very Unimportant." That's "moving traffic more smoothly." It's not that moving traffic more smoothly is unimportant to Main Street redevelopment. It's that it is inimical to Main Street redevelopment. I would have liked to have answered that it's "Very Important" that the City of Richardson *not* do this. I don't want the city to do anything to cram more cars through old downtown. The more Main Street serves as a throughway from west Richardson to east, the less chance old downtown has of being a destination itself. No way can Main Street be made more appealing to pedestrians, say, with even more traffic (the inevitable result of "moving traffic more smoothly"). The city ought to be looking at how it can *reduce* the flow of traffic through old downtown, not how to make it move more smoothly.

So, let your voice be heard. Take the survey. Surprise the city planners. Don't assume every careabout the city put on the list is something that will actually help old downtown. At least one of the careabouts is a threat in disguise, a threat to suck even more life out of old downtown. Let the city planners know that you know which one it is.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

City of Richardson lack of vision didn't put a DART station at Main Street and it would have revealize it.