Letter to The Editor

Retired Architect Advocates For Preston Center Planning

The redevelopment of the parking structure block in Preston Center West could be an asset or another missed opportunity.

Question 1: How could the city, the engaged community, and the leadership at all levels have missed the opportunity to require setbacks for the recent development at the northeast corner of Preston Road and Northwest Highway like the setbacks at the southwest corner – to keep the intersection open?

Question 2: If housing and office space are considered as well as a park, is this a “right location” to include affordable housing?

Question 3: Who is the park for – shoppers and diners, the residential and office occupants, or for the Preston Center neighborhood at large; or can it be a park for all? (This is not a Klyde Warren Park location.)

Fact 1: Density is not a four-letter word, and public transportation to serve Preston Center should be a major component in planning any development within the Preston Center neighborhood.

Fact 2: Density at a destination site supports public transportation, and that asks the question: Is the shopping mix at Preston Center a destination site?

Recommendations: The sidewalks around the redevelopment of the block should be at least 12 feet wide and include trees and landscape furniture, and wider setbacks to support bus stops — suggesting a different traffic pattern; and the ramps for subgrade parking should be designed thinking light wells. The weather shelters for the ramps/light wells, elevators, stairs, and exhaust chimneys for the subgrade garage can be interesting features for the street level park.

Yes, I’m pro street level park and pro subgrade garage.

During construction, the city and DART can arrange for off-site parking locations and make the shuttle service from these locations to drop-off locations within Preston Center an enjoyable part of the shopping and dining experiences.

One more time: Who is the park for?

One more question: Will the city’s program for the redevelopment of Preston Center West attract the best solutions from our local professionals?

Dallas can’t miss this opportunity to get it right, and that means thinking credit card stations for charging your car in the sub-grade garage as well as providing affordable housing.

-Howard C. Parker, American Institute of Architects fellow emeritus Dallas

Editor’s note: A public meeting on Preston Center garage plans is scheduled for 6 p.m. Aug. 8 at the Walnut Hill Recreation Center.

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