Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Breaking and Branding Richardson

Central Expressway Study Map

Central Heights. Trailside. McKamy Spring. Rustic Circle. Civic District. Chinatown. Recognize these areas of Richardson? They're all supposedly neighborhoods in the planning study for the Main Street/Central Expressway redevelopment project that the City of Richardson has launched. The city's latest thinking on the subject is full of new names and pretty pictures.

After the jump, my thoughts.

The city (or more likely, the consultants hired by the city) broke up the spine of Richardson into numerous little redevelopment areas. Where is the global vision to grow Richardson out from those DART stations, like a string of pearls all connected into one beautiful necklace? I don't see it. Instead, I see more QuikTrips and 7-Elevens and self-service warehouses and, maybe, a TGIF restaurant or two, all opportunistic take-the-money-and-run deals that leave the whole less than the sum of the parts. It's as if, instead of thinking synergistically, city planners are thinking like commercial real estate agents with a bunch of random parcels of land to move. Subdivide, brand and sell.

Oh, and don't forget cars. I was struck by one particular implementation suggestion: "Rethink the traffic flow on Main Street to make it more pedestrian and bike friendly while still providing the capacity for vehicular traffic." Sounds like an impossible challenge. Which do you think will win out? Pedestrian-friendly or capacity for vehicular traffic? Note that the city isn't waiting to figure out how to do it. It's already catering to traffic, adding another lane to Main Street for right turns onto Central Expressway. That new lane will be built on top of the soon-to-be-buried Floyd Branch creek. The only surprise is the consultants didn't simultaneously rename downtown something like "Creekside Meadows" so the real estate parcels would move faster.

1 comment:

dc-tm said...

Sounds kind of like you are complaining that you think there is a lack of leadership on the city council.

David Chenoweth