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Dallas Giving Streets A Complete Makeover

By Steven Pickering, KRLD
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Ross Avenue received a temporary makeover as part of the 'Complete Streets Project' in downtown Dallas on June 25, 2011. (credit: Steven Pickering/KRLD)

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Some Dallas city streets will be getting a makeover this fall. This comes as part of a city program to make it easier for people to walk or bike on streets which were originally designed for cars. It is called the ‘Complete Streets Project.’

To get the project started, the city transformed six blocks of Ross Avenue in downtown Dallas on Saturday. Instead of four lanes of traffic devoted only to cars, the city had vendors set up shop in the middle of the street, creating a temporary marketplace. “We allowed cars to come in and out of the area, too,” said Jason Roberts, a member of the independent Better Block Team that has been leading the charge on redesigning streets. “That shows cars can come in and people can come in. We can create greater safety in the area because the cars are going slower, and we’re putting more eyes on the street. It’s more compelling to walk in and a more exciting environment.”

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Sunday’s test run also included a temporary dog park. Volunteers put up fencing around a patch of grass next to a parking lot and used discarded lumber to create a place for dogs to play. “Dog parks definitely are the best way to bring a community together. You sit here with your dog and just talk to people you wouldn’t necessarily talk to anywhere else,” said Mandy McGuire, who was involved with the project.

“With very little money and very little effort, we can actually change the city and make it a lot more livable,” McGuire added. ” We don’t need billion-dollar projects for everything. We can just put in a couple of bike lanes, put up some fencing and get some people hanging out and enjoying their city.”

Officials at Dallas City Hall hope that this philosophy will take hold in other neighborhoods as well. This fall, similar projects will be seen on streets all across the city. Feedback from the public will determine which features should become a permanent part of the city’s guidelines for designing and building new streets. “Our goal is to have our streets enjoyed by everyone, so we’re looking for a paradigm shift,” said Dallas City Council member Linda Koop.

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