When I showed up at last week’s meeting for the latest proposal on the Oak Cliff Gateway, I was expecting the usual rows of chairs at Hitt Auditorium facing a large PowerPoint presentation up front. Instead, I found neighbors grouped together at round tables, looking at a map and holding markers at a glue stick.
Instead of presenting a plan of his, David Whitley from the city had asked neighbors to outline their own hopes for the land stretching between Oak Cliff and the Trinity River levee.
Each table was first asked to name three goals for the project, which may involve planning and zoning changes. I sat with neighbors from East Kessler, and one of their goals was no retail along Beckley backing up to their neighborhood; instead they suggested something along the lines of townhomes there.
The tables were asked to outline with red any areas that they do not want to change at all, and outline in green areas that should change. To show what kinds of changes they wanted for the different areas, they were given small rectangular pieces of paper with nine different kinds of property uses — things like single-family detached (a photo of a residential street lined with historic bungalows); multi-family (three- or four-story apartments or townhomes); mixed use, low (a photo of the Knox/Henderson area); mixed use, medium (a photo of Uptown, with the trolley running along the street); high rise (a photo of Cliff Tower); and high rise, mixed use (a photo of the new Park Lane development at Central Expressway and Park Lane).
Because the emphasis on pedestrian-friendly development has been such a frequent request, Whitley also asked neighbors to point out areas that need pedestrian access.
Whitley told those present that their maps, with goals and ideas, would be scanned and uploaded on the Trinity River Corridor Project website (I haven’t found them yet, but will post an update once I do). The next meeting on Feb. 3 will include a refined plan vision based ont he suggestions, and a Feb. 24 meeting will include committee action on the plan revisions.