Coronavirus Presents Opportunities for Resilience in Dallas

Dallasites have a history of responding to times of crisis with plans for reinvention. What could the city do to improve public life after the coronavirus pandemic?

2 minute read

May 1, 2020, 8:00 AM PDT

By Lee Flannery @leecflannery


kan_khampanya / Shutterstock

Dallas isn't known for being a particularly walkable city. Lockdown has brought more people into the streets, seeking solace in exercise and a reminder of social life in public spaces.

Mark Lamster envisions a future where this newfound fervor for pedestrianism reshapes the city: "When lockdown ends, and it will, our streets will reopen. But instead of returning them to the status quo ante, why not take this opportunity to rapidly paint in bike lanes and adapt our streets to better suit the needs of pedestrians. That means expanding sidewalks, squaring off those infernal 'radiused' corners — the corners rounded off to allow cars to turn faster — creating median strips and bump outs at crossings, and many other proven traffic calming techniques."

Building a stronger Dallas begins with modifying the streets, removing I-345, and creating additional pedestrian-friendly infrastructure, persuades Lamster pointing to Klyde Warren Park as a proof of concept.

What else can Dallasites do to improve urban infrastructure after the passing of the pandemic? Dallas could design public infrastructure with the concept of dual-use facilities in mind. Resilience planners are calling for flexible use of public buildings like the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, which was recently converted into a medical center to facilitate increased demand for medical care.

In Lamster's view, Dallas has two options: "better or worse for it, better prepared for the next disaster, or more susceptible than it is even now."

Thursday, April 30, 2020 in The Dallas Morning News

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