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Urbanism

Dallas: The City That Hates Pedestrians, Pt. 51

At some point, Hi Line Drive will be an important connecting point between the Katy Trail and the Trinity River. Until construction is finished, maybe just stay in your car.
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The construction on Hi Line and a parked car in a closed lane makes it difficult to safely cross the street. Matt Goodman

Editor’s Note: The below was updated on 5/8 with comment from the city of Dallas.

Hi-Line Drive is an odd little circulator through the Design District, four lanes with wide sidewalks and a wider median that guides cars and pedestrians past shopping centers, restaurants, apartments, and a hotel. Its median will soon be a key connecting point for the 50-mile Loop Trail, which will eventually tie the Katy Trail from Victory Park to trails along the Trinity River.

Eventually. The project’s construction has gobbled the intersection at Oak Lawn, making it difficult—and honestly pretty treacherous—for pedestrians to cross the road. The crosswalks have vanished and large portions of the sidewalk have either been torn up and filled with dirt or are being used to hold pipes and other construction detritus. Last Friday, a truck was parked in one of the closed-off lanes, another obstacle to crossing. The often-busy Oak Lawn is down to two lanes of traffic in either direction, divided by traffic bollards. The good news? Philip Hiatt Haigh, the executive director of the Loop Dallas, tells me if the weather plays nice, the project could be complete by the end of the month. The construction began in January. (The city manages construction contracts for projects in the public right of way.)

It’s ironic how a project that will greatly improve accessibility and safety for pedestrians and cyclists has presently turned a busy intersection into Frogger, forcing walkers to enter the construction just to avoid the cars streaming from points north and south. On Tuesday afternoon, Dallas Park and Recreation Department spokesperson Andrea Hawkins responded to questions.

It is the City’s goal to maintain pedestrian and vehicular flow to the greatest extent possible. Because the intersection is scheduled for a full replacement and with the goal to minimize disruption as much as possible, the intersection replacement is being done in quadrants. The main 12-foot-wide crosswalk has been completed for the Hi-Line Trail itself over Oak Lawn in the middle of the intersection and contractor is now working on completion of the existing sidewalk connections at the four corners of the intersection. This paving work is anticipated to be completed by May 17th barring any weather delays.

And then something to look forward to:

The Hi-Line Connector Trail when completed this Spring will make the pedestrian connection experience seamless from the White Rock Lake Trail system all the way to the Trinity Strand Trail via the Ridgewood, University Crossing, and Katy Trails which will have combined distance of 14 miles and offer an improved pedestrian connection experience throughout the urban core in a way Dallas has not seen in the past.   

Here’s some photos of the mess.

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It's difficult to cross Oak Lawn from Hi Line because of construction for a new trail that will connect the Katy Trail to the Trinity River. Matt Goodman

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Hi-Line construction as part of the Loop Trail. Matt Goodman

Send your photo evidence of Dallas hating pedestrians to [email protected]. For more in this series, go here.

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Matt Goodman

Matt Goodman

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Matt Goodman is the online editorial director for D Magazine. He's written about a surgeon who killed, a man who…
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