In September, the Dallas Team Better Block re-engineered a three block stretch of Knox Street for four days. The project successfully calmed traffic, create more opportunities for pedestrians to safely cross, and made a historic business district into a more comfortable and vibrant place. How?
The demonstration project involved converting:
the four lane auto-dominated street into a two lane complete street. Parking was changed from dangerous 90 degree head-in to 45 degree angle, a center turn lane made it easier to turn and reduced lane widths from 12 feet to 10 feet and improved traffic calming. A dedicated two-way cycle track further reduced the width of the street, making it easier for pedestrians to cross.
The project on Knox Street was the first demonstration of a Complete Street in Dallas. Dallas launched a Complete Streets Initiative in June 2011, with the goal of instituting a new approach to designing and building streets. They are planning a least a dozen more demonstrations.
What I like most about the experiment was the Team Better Block not only re-engineered the street, they created economic activity by converted a vacant gas station to a market and outdoor beer garden, and created new ‘green’ space through the incorporation of parklets and additional public seating.
A great example of how we can experiment with streets. Not every project needs to cost millions. Experimentation and flexibility are the key building better streets.