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A Vision and Strategy For Creating a Transit Village: Downtown Plano

A Vision and Strategy For Creating a Transit Village: Downtown Plano

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Published by Scott Schaefer
Across America, people are searching for places that have the warmth and feel small towns had a hundred years ago. People want places that are vibrant and diverse, where they can live, walk to a park, stores, restaurants and visit with friends along the way. Fortunately, there is a special place like this in the Dallas Metroplex: Historic Downtown Plano.

A sleepy hamlet which was once nearly forgotten, Downtown Plano has reawakened and offers a unique shopping, living, dining environment with galleries, restaurants and two community theaters. Haggard Park, the center of Downtown Plano, is a great place for an evening concert, picnic or romantic stroll. Nearly 500 urban apartments and 40,000 square feet of retail space have been built downtown.

Dallas home builder Scott Schaefer and his company Lexington Luxury Builders are building almost 100 luxury, green built townhouses and condominiums within two blocks of the Downtown Plano DART rail station. The project, Lexington Park at Rice Field is presently under construction. The Haggard Park, Douglass and Old Towne neighborhoods adjoining downtown are graced with historic homes and tree-lined streets.

The catalyst for transformation in Downtown Plano was the opening of the Dallas Area Rapid Transit light rail station in December 2002. DART has made Downtown Plano more accessible and visible to the region. During peak service hours, trains arrive and depart at four minute intervals. The trip from downtown Plano to downtown Dallas takes approximately 35 minutes. With approximately 1,000 daily trips, the downtown station is proving to be very successful. Like DART stations located at the Dallas Zoo, Southside at Lamar, the West End and Mockingbird Station, Downtown Plano has become a destination station which attracts leisure-time riders who come to shop, eat and enjoy the cultural attractions in Downtown Plano.

In the mid to late1990s, the City of Plano prepared a strategy to maximize the potential benefits of DART rail service on Downtown Plano. Each station’s development opportunities vary due to their service demands and area context. DARTs Red Line, serving Plano, comes north from Dallas within what was once railroad right-of-way. This heavily developed commercial/industrial corridor has limited opportunities for new development immediately surrounding DART stations.
Across America, people are searching for places that have the warmth and feel small towns had a hundred years ago. People want places that are vibrant and diverse, where they can live, walk to a park, stores, restaurants and visit with friends along the way. Fortunately, there is a special place like this in the Dallas Metroplex: Historic Downtown Plano.

A sleepy hamlet which was once nearly forgotten, Downtown Plano has reawakened and offers a unique shopping, living, dining environment with galleries, restaurants and two community theaters. Haggard Park, the center of Downtown Plano, is a great place for an evening concert, picnic or romantic stroll. Nearly 500 urban apartments and 40,000 square feet of retail space have been built downtown.

Dallas home builder Scott Schaefer and his company Lexington Luxury Builders are building almost 100 luxury, green built townhouses and condominiums within two blocks of the Downtown Plano DART rail station. The project, Lexington Park at Rice Field is presently under construction. The Haggard Park, Douglass and Old Towne neighborhoods adjoining downtown are graced with historic homes and tree-lined streets.

The catalyst for transformation in Downtown Plano was the opening of the Dallas Area Rapid Transit light rail station in December 2002. DART has made Downtown Plano more accessible and visible to the region. During peak service hours, trains arrive and depart at four minute intervals. The trip from downtown Plano to downtown Dallas takes approximately 35 minutes. With approximately 1,000 daily trips, the downtown station is proving to be very successful. Like DART stations located at the Dallas Zoo, Southside at Lamar, the West End and Mockingbird Station, Downtown Plano has become a destination station which attracts leisure-time riders who come to shop, eat and enjoy the cultural attractions in Downtown Plano.

In the mid to late1990s, the City of Plano prepared a strategy to maximize the potential benefits of DART rail service on Downtown Plano. Each station’s development opportunities vary due to their service demands and area context. DARTs Red Line, serving Plano, comes north from Dallas within what was once railroad right-of-way. This heavily developed commercial/industrial corridor has limited opportunities for new development immediately surrounding DART stations.

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Published by: Scott Schaefer on Dec 08, 2008
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DowntownPlano
 
A Vision and Strategy for Creating a Transit Village
 
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.
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Some stations have large parking lots and bus transfer bays to serve commuters whichtypically separate the platform from potential development sites. Other stations, suchas downtown Plano’s, have little or no parking and rely on shuttle service, drop-off andpedestrian traffic. These stations often present the best development opportunities.After examining the alternatives, Plano chose to create a transit village through urbaninfill mixed-use development based on the principles of transit-oriented development(TOD).
Transit Village Concept
The concept of a transit village has its historical roots in the streetcar suburbs and newtowns of long ago. At that time, transit and residential development were built jointly todisperse urban population and create streetcar ridership. Modern transit villages, unliketheir antecedents, are typically infill or redevelopment projects constructed withinestablished urban and suburban areas. A transit village integrates residential andcommercial uses in a compact, pedestrian-oriented environment served by a transitstation. A transit village is designed to reduce auto dependency by clusteringdevelopment within walking distance of the station. The primary core of a transit villageshould be contained within a 5-minute walk (1/4 mile) of the transit stop. A transitvillage may contain a variety of retail, entertainment, service, civic and residential uses,but residential use is often primary. The land use mix within a transit village mustachieve synergy, whereby each use supports and reinforces other uses. Merecompatibility of use is not sufficient. A transit village is not intended to be self-sufficient,but it should be an interdependent community where auto-based travel by its residentsis more by choice than necessity. The amount of residential use within the village isunlikely to be sufficient to create a market for retailing and services. Therefore, asuccessful business strategy must focus on the needs of the larger area market. Toencourage demographic diversity, the village should contain a variety of housing typesand sizes, including rental and for-sale units.
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