Greater City Providence

Building a Better Block in Dallas

What Made a “Better Block”? Oh, Just the Fact You Could Walk, Shop, Drink and Hang Out and Not Get Run Over.
Dallas Observer

Protected bike lane, road diet, parklet, pop-up retail, and it only took a day to put together.

Jef Nickerson

Jef is Greater City Providence's co-founder, editor, and publisher. He grew up on Cape Cod and lived in Boston; Portland, Maine; and New York before settling in Providence. In addition to urbanism, Jef is interested in art, design, and ice cream. Please feel free to contact Jef if you have any question or comments about Greater City Providence.


  • I wonder how much of this is was possible because of a laxer attitude toward zoning and development in Texas generally. I have a feeling there would be a lot of cities where this kind of (awesome) change would be end in fines and lawsuits.

  • It totally went against current zoning law in Dallas. It was a temporary installation and is now gone. Hopefully the experiment will serve as a proof of concept to the authorities in Dallas to change zoning to allow places like this to legally exist.

  • I’m not sure what bothers me more:

    a) the fact that the necessary zoning changes are likely a long time coming in Dallas, therefore screwing one of America’s biggest cities out of the type of development it deserves.

    or b) Sun Belt cities that flash a little project like this around now and then, and claim to be pioneers in sustainable design, as ready-made sustainable cities rot away elsewhere in the country.

  • I don’t think that they we’re claiming to be pioneers. They did credit European cities and New York with being ahead on this. The rigidity of Dallas zoning wouldn’t be unfamiliar to people in the northeast. It is possible in Dallas to change the rules just as it is in Providence, though it takes a lot of work in both places. These people should be commended for basically commandeering the street to make a point and to show public officials a possible way to humanize the streets in their city.

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