By Darren Dattalo
The standards for parking in the City of Dallas are complex and outdated and have significant impact on our neighborhood as they relate to area businesses, as well as resident and non-resident on-street parking. There is currently a proposal before the Zoning Ordinance Advisory Committee (ZOAC) which would dramatically alter current parking requirements and potentially cause irreparable harm to our neighborhood.
It’s still a work in progress, but some of the proposals call for eliminating ALL parking requirements for any building built before 1967 or less than 5,000 square feet in size. That describes virtually every building on Greenville Avenue.
The magical thinking is that everyone will either walk, bike, use a bus or take a ride share to visit spots up and down Greenville. Never mind that there is nowhere to park a bike and walking from one end of our neighborhood to the other isn’t practical, especially in August. This is being pushed forward by an idealistic group that would like to see Dallas more closely resemble Amsterdam or Paris where cars are not as common. That would be great – if Dallas had the transportation infrastructure those cities have.
What happens if anything close to this passes?
If the City succeeds in passing a proposal that eliminates parking requirements for businesses in areas closely tied to residential neighborhoods, the impact on quality of life for those living in the area will be significant.
Our neighborhood streets will become parking lots for area bars, restaurants and businesses when the existing parking lots are redeveloped into more restaurants.
Our retail establishments will convert to restaurant and bar use. Parking restrictions are the only thing keeping any balance between retail and restaurant use.
This will be permanent and irreversible. Once the City grants landlords a property right, it is extremely difficult to revoke it.
Historic buildings will come down in favor of larger buildings that can accommodate more customers due to lessened parking requirements.
This plan is intended to cover the entire City, not just areas where it might work. Due to some very vocal opposition from most of the East Dallas neighborhoods (including LGNA), the City staff is suggesting that Lower Greenville (and possibly Bishop Arts) could get an exception from this plan. But LGNA feels this one-size-fits-all approach is a no-win for the City. While we do recognize that some updating is needed to Dallas parking requirements, this is mostly applicable to large strip centers, not to small neighborhood areas like Lower Greenville.
Please follow the ZOAC meetings on this topic online and contact the City staff to share your thoughts. If this proposal passes, every day could feel like St. Patrick’s Day in Lower Greenville.