Let’s face it. Garland Road is a pretty bland stretch of highway. It’s painfully obvious that Dallas city zoning board gave up on the area by the mid 1990′s. Littered with half empty big box stores and used auto lots, old or decaying roadside signs, the area is looking economically anemic. Squeezed by neighborhoods to the west and the railroad to the east, it’s a narrow, but long center of commerce for many (29,000) residents on the far side of White Rock Lake. It’s also a bastion of small, independent businesses, employing about 20,000 people.
Garland Road’s southern/western terminus is at the White Rock Lake spillway, which has been extensively remodeled in recent years as part of a larger investment in the area. While the spillway itself is beautiful, it is surrounded on three sides by a pawn shop, a gas station, a liquor store and a storage facility. While important to Dallas city life, they aren’t exactly shining examples of businesses you want across the street from your new park.
At the north end of the proposed improvement district is Samuel Garland Park, and two rusting railroad bridges, along with a rail yard. Just south of this is the percieved blight – many used car lots, half empty or closed big box stores, and lots of telephone poles, wires and road signs.
The City of Dallas recently approved the Garland Road plan. The plan speaks to improve this northern end of Garland Road, needing the most improvement, but Of interest is the fact that it extends all the way to the White Rock Lake spillway – two completely unconnected neighborhoods. This likely just good politics. The strech of road between the spillway and Buckner Rd is a healthy, bustling business center, with green manicured lawns and brick crosswalks, and has largely been glossed over in this report. The two areas focused on seem completely unconnected and it’s confusing why they would choose the spillway as their southern terminus.
So let’s talk about the real problem citizens are concerned about: poor (but stable) economic growth in the area from Peavy road to 635. The plan outlines a system of adding several parks and minor concessions such as continious sidewalks, decreasing bus service (poor people!) to the area and a cutesy trolly-shaped bus in trade for adding high density housing all up and down an already crowded traffic coridor. Awkwardly tacked on to this Vision is the desire to raze everything in a half mile radius of the White Rock spillway and build an urban, walkable neighborhood.
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