An image depicting the nightmarish future of Victory Park, according to one condo resident.

Ask John Neely Bryan: Is Dallas About to Ruin Victory Park?

Wait, is that even possible?

John Neely Bryan, Our Founder
John Neely Bryan, Our Founder
Photography by Matthew Shelley

Question: I live in Victory Park at The House. The House as well as the other residential buildings that are on Victory Ave and N. Houston were built and designed for one-way streets. Our building is 75% full. Victory Park has come a long way as far as people moving in. Now the city and the developers think we need two way streets which we are not in favor of. Adam Medrano has been to meetings with us but we have not talked to anyone higher than Kieth Mannoy with the city of Dallas. Mayor Rawlins office will not even respond to an email. Help, before the city ruins Victory Park! — Dan H.

 

I cannot fathom how the city could further ruin the unqualified disaster that is Victory Park. I suppose they might close its streets to any mode of transport other than unicycles. They could declare it a free zone for all drug use and rechristen it Hamsterdam. Or maybe approve a Sam’s Club across from the W Hotel.

All right, I withdraw my earlier comment. I can envision a host of means by which the city could undermine the rehabilitation of Victory, but two-way traffic ain’t one. Unless, that is, your definition of “ruin” includes any situation in which the neighborhood becomes something other than the ghost town that it now is approximately 90 percent of the time.

Bully for you and yours that you live in a building that is merely 25 percent empty. Hate to break it you, since you’re clearly a devoted reader and intelligent enough to turn to yours truly for counsel, but the occupancy rates of luxury condos that offer valet parking and a private dog park (so that their residents needn’t interact with the hoi polloi forced to suffer the indignity of walking anywhere) are not the problem that the coming changes to Victory are primarily designed to address.

Unless you believe the recently announced additions of a Buzzbrews, a CrossFit Cult Forward Operating Base, and the pestilence known as Jimmy John’s sandwich shop are enough to cure what ills the neighborhood, more significant measures are required. The vast emptiness of Victory’s roads and sidewalks anytime other than during the ingress and egress of crowds for American Airlines Center events is hardly surprising. Mostly unoccupied retail spaces aren’t much of a draw.

There are a number of reasons that shops and restaurants have had difficulty making a go of it, but the overriding issue is that Victory’s layout doesn’t encourage people to want to hang out there. I mean, for St. Peter’s sake, listen to your own objection that your building was designed for one-way streets. There’s no surer sign that your No. 1 desire regarding your chosen neighborhood is that you spend as little time in it as possible. The hell if you’re gonna be stuck drinking at Victory Tavern some lonely Thursday night when the Maverick Basket Ballers are out of town, right?

One-way traffic is intended to enable cars to get into and out of a place quickly. This makes a certain amount of sense when you’re talking about a flood of vehicles all trying to exit a sporting match at once, but it also spells trouble for the neighborhood, since it means the traffic pattern has been designed for the needs of a minority of the time.

Taking Houston Street and Victory Avenue two-way should slow drivers down, encouraging them to take a look around and — as long as the owners bring in the right mix of tenants — maybe stop and stay awhile. It could make the area more pedestrian-friendly as well, since it’ll discourage speeding along those roads. The developer sees this change as so important to its efforts that it was willing to pay the upfront costs itself to get it done more quickly.

Here’s hoping that once that and the rest of Victory Park’s $100 million makeover are completed the area will cease to be a tragic waste of space on the edge of downtown. And here’s further hoping that the smackdown I’ve just delivered unto you doesn’t preclude the possibility of an invitation to take a dip in that sweet 130-foot saltwater infinity pool you’ve got.

Tanning ahead of bathing suit season,

John-Neely-Bryan-signature
John Neely Bryan is the founder of the city of Dallas and an expert on all matters. Email him for advice, to have a dispute adjudicated, or to seek his wisdom on any of a myriad of topics, at [email protected].

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