Friday, February 6, 2015

Ill-suited Building

Peter Simek doesn't think much of a building under construction in Dallas. It reminded me of one in Richardson. See if you can identify each.
The very fact that the building sits right next to a DART station demonstrates that:
1) Our light rail system doesn't count as a real public transit, at least not in the eyes of decision makers at companies who want to work in the core. We need to improve public transportation desperately,
2) Market demand is still driving development that is ill-suited to the long range viability and potential of our urban neighborhoods.
Source: FrontBurner.

The building Simek refers to is the Richards Group building under construction on Central Expressway near Cityplace. Its fatal flaw, in Peter Simek's opinion, is that of its eighteen stories, ten of them are for parking. Peter Simek predicts that such car-centric development will look economically and socially silly in ten years.

The building I am reminded of is the State Farm building in CityLine. Its parking is in a separate garage, but it too is massive and just across the street from a DART station. Richardson Mayor Laura Maczka, bragging about CityLine, talks of having a 20- or 30-year vision.

Personally, I think Simek and Maczka are both wrong. Simek is wrong in thinking that the coming transportation revolution (e.g., driverless cars) will take only a decade (i.e., 2025) to transform cities. It's coming, but not that fast.

Maczka is wrong in thinking that that the honking huge parking garage she is so pleased with is compatible with a 30 year vision (i.e., 2045). Heck, that DART station next door makes it incompatible with what's here already in 2015. And in thirty years, 2045, when the transportation revolution will be in full swing, it almost certainly will look a little economically and socially silly.

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