Downtown Plano: A Vision & Strategy forCreating a Transit Village
Across America, people are searching for places with the warmth and feel towns had ahundred years ago. People want places that are vibrant and diverse – where they canlive, walk to a park, stores, restaurants and visit with friends along the way. Fortunately,there is a special place like this nearby – Historic Downtown Plano.Once sleepy and nearly forgotten, downtown Plano has reawakened and offers uniqueshops, galleries, restaurants and two community theaters. Haggard Park, the center ofdowntown, is a great place for a concert, picnic or romantic stroll. Nearly 500 urbanapartments and 40,000 square feet of non-residential space have been built downtown.More than 100 for-sale townhouses and condominiums are now under construction. TheHaggard Park, Douglass and Old Towne neighborhoods adjoining downtown are gracedwith historic homes and tree-lined streets.
Catalyst for Change
The catalyst for downtown’s transformation was the opening of Dallas Area RapidTransit (DART) light rail service in December 2002. DART has made downtown Planomore accessible and visible to the region. During peak service hours, trains arrive anddepart at 4-minute intervals. The run from downtown Plano to downtown Dallas takesapproximately 35 minutes. With approximately 1,000 daily trips, the downtown station isvery successful. Like DART stops at the Dallas Zoo, Southside at Lamar, the WestEnd, and Mockingbird Station, downtown Plano is a destination station that attractsleisure-time riders who come to shop, eat and enjoy cultural attractions.In the mid-1990s, the City of Plano prepared a strategy to maximize DART’s potentialbenefits. Each station’s development opportunities vary due to their service demandsand area context. The Red Line, serving Plano, comes north from Dallas within whatwas once railroad right-of-way. This heavily developed commercial/industrial corridorhas limited opportunities for new development immediately surrounding DART stations.