I have been wrong about a lot of things in the past: DART, the Calatrava Bridges, and even Klyde Warren Park. I thought all of these things were interesting; I just underestimated their impact. What I missed was the power and importance of linkage.
Take Klyde Warren Park. Aside from its conspicuous beauty and constant use by families, businesspeople, students, and visitors, what it really has done is eliminate a huge barrier and, in doing so, connected the Arts District and downtown Dallas to Uptown. The result has been phenomenal. If you don’t believe me, ask the land owners on Woodall Rodgers around the park. Property values are stratospheric, and rightfully so.
DART creates obvious connectivity and has fostered true Transit Oriented Development around its various stations. It has also energized areas of the urban core, where office and residential buildings with limited parking now benefit from DART’s reach. Again, linkage.
So now we get to the Calatrava Bridges. They are beautiful, but the banks of the Trinity aren’t the only thing they connect. They have brought an emphasis on where the bridges take you. Due to this linkage, it’s no mistake we’re now seeing the gentrification of areas south of the Trinity River. Oak Cliff is one of the jewels of Dallas, with its rolling topography and beautiful trees—things that tend to diminish as you move north. But, the chasm of the Trinity River has been a very real barrier. Like Klyde Warren Park, the bridges took a weakness and turned it into a strength. They beautifully connect these areas and give them relevance.
I don’t know how far north major development will go, but I do know this: If Dallas-Fort Worth doubles in size to 14 million humans in the next 25 years (think of 1992 to get your arms around how quickly we’ll be there), the transportation arteries will not be able to support conventional suburban commuting. Yes, we will see things “pod” across North Texas, but we’ll also likely see South Dallas continue its renaissance.
Ran Holman is managing principal and market leader for Cushman & Wakefield in Dallas-Fort Worth.