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Thread: Downtown Dallas and the tunnel system

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    Downtown Dallas and the tunnel system

    Interesting video about the decision to build a tunnel system in downtown Dallas, and the impact it's had. This should be of interest for citizens of Dallas and urban planning enthusiasts on this site. The streets downtown are soulless, and there are those who think the tunnels played a decent part in that.


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    I can see the correlation. I have lived in the Kirby Building on Main St. and The West End Station on Ross and generally, outside of the apts/lofts on Jackson and one-offs like the Mosiac, there is no life. It's interesting that he said what is left are the people that ride the busses (read: black, mexican, and poor). And it's true. Now a lot of poeple go to the tunnels to eat to avoid them.

    I eat at the tunnels quite a bit, working downtown, as well. Interesting conundrum

  3. #3
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    It will be damn near impossible to get the people out of the tunnels and up on the streets, especially in the summer. Laura Miller once called the tunnels the worst urban planning decision Dallas ever made.

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    Meh, tremedously oversimplified. There are a large number of factors at play here including, lack of downtown residents, oil prices, the savings and loan/real estate collapse, etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mdmost View Post
    It will be damn near impossible to get the people out of the tunnels and up on the streets, especially in the summer. Laura Miller once called the tunnels the worst urban planning decision Dallas ever made.
    Yah, Downtown in Summer is a beating. Beyond that, what is available in walking distance to people who work downtown? There is that super sweet McDonalds with hired security that is next to the bus stop that attracts all the drug dealers, pan handlers and wannabe thugs and there are resturants next to that awesome Greyhound bus station with all the high quality of people that that entails.

    The tunnels does a good job of connecting a bunch of buildings and providing options, so there's that...

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    as long as we can blame a foreigner i'm down.

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    It's not like the tunnels are brimming with activity. You won't find many stores there and most of the restaurants are fast food venues that close at 2:30 pm. I worked downtown all last summer and, unless I was pressed for time, I usually walked down Main Street to one of the surface restaurants -- sometimes just across the street and other times several blocks.

    Going from Point A to Point B is a lot more direct on the surface.

    That gets to the crux of the matter. There's hardly any retail because the traffic that was on the surface before has been divvied up into a bunch of nodes -- Point A being where someone works and Point B being the nearest underground food court. Most people don't walk the tunnels any further than that
    (except when going to their car).

    If there was a single main destination for all of the tunnels, it would be vibrant. So vibrant that you could put easy access to the surface and have it spill over there.
    Last edited by zzzz; 03-01-2011 at 06:52 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mdmost View Post
    Laura Miller once called the tunnels the worst urban planning decision Dallas ever made.
    I'd certainly consider her an authority on Urban planning disasters.

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    The ones in Houston are awesome when it's 95 degrees and the humidity is at 99.9%.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by zzzz View Post
    It's not like the tunnels are brimming with activity. You won't find many stores there and most of the restaurants are fast food venues that close at 2:30 pm. I worked downtown all last summer and, unless I was pressed for time, I usually walked down Main Street to one of the surface restaurants -- sometimes just across the street and other times several blocks.

    Going from Point A to Point B is a lot more direct on the surface.

    That gets to the crux of the matter. There's hardly any retail because the traffic that was on the surface before has been divvied up into a bunch of nodes -- Point A being where someone works and Point B being the nearest underground food court. Most people don't walk the tunnels any further than that
    (except when going to their car).

    If there was a single main destination for all of the tunnels, it would be vibrant. So vibrant that you could put easy access to the surface and have it spill over there.
    No one goes into the tunnels after 2:30 because lunch is over.

    Without the tunnels all of these shops would be street level (jewelry, flower shops, gift shops, tons more places to eat, ect...), and that would most likely have lead to more people living downtown. Which would mean more bars, restaurants, and nightlife after 6:30pm. The tunnels killed downtown Houston.

  12. #12
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    I've always hated the tunnels. I think they were the turning point for what happened to downtown in the 80s.

  13. #13
    Didn't they use them to secretly transport people to the north?

  14. #14
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    I think the tunnels were the reason the cowboys moved out of town

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    very interesting. Longtime dallasite that has never worked downtown. Grew up in Plano, worked in Addison and Las Colinas and live in uptown.....really had no idea about the tunnels first hand other than hearing some stories from folks who work downtown. It does make a lot of sense how that could kill an urban setting like that.

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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by mycoxaphlopin View Post
    Without the tunnels all of these shops would be street level (jewelry, flower shops, gift shops, tons more places to eat, ect...)
    Right. But my point was there aren't many shops like that even in the tunnels because the traffic traveling to any retail/restaurant area is typically from just a few buildings. Going from the base of one of the largest buildings in downtown Dallas, the Comerica building, to the food court entails encountering two small convenience stores, two shoeshine places and about ten restaurant options. Further down the tunnel there are a half dozen more restaurant options and another shoeshine place.

    If there were no restaurant options underground, most of main street or another street would be filled with restaurants instead of empty store fronts. That would bring most of the downtown workforce to that strip, and that in turn would create enough traffic to support retail businesses that depend on pop-in traffic.
    Last edited by zzzz; 03-01-2011 at 10:41 PM.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by zzzz View Post
    Right. But my point was there aren't many shops like that even in the tunnels because the traffic traveling to any retail/restaurant area is typically from just a few buildings. Going from the base of one of the largest buildings in downtown Dallas, the Comerica building, to the food court entails encountering two small convenience stores, two shoeshine places and about ten restaurant options. Further down the tunnel there are a half dozen more restaurant options and another shoeshine place.

    If there were no restaurant options underground, most of main street or another street would be filled with restaurants instead of empty store fronts. That would bring most of the downtown workforce to that strip, and that in turn would create enough traffic to support retail businesses that depend on pop-in traffic.
    So Houston has tunnels albeit way more elaborate. There is a ton of traffic no matter what every day but especially on hot/cold/raining days. Houston also has a more vibrant social/restaurant/retail scene than Dallas. I think the big problem was that at the same time as the tunnels were being developed there was a flight to the suburbs. This was the bigger problem and had nothing to do with the one way streets and what have you. Nowadays you have uptown but that doesn't really count either. Look at a city like Minneapolis and they have tunnels but is just as much and probably more of a downtown scene than Dallas.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by DCA_HORN View Post
    So Houston has tunnels albeit way more elaborate. There is a ton of traffic no matter what every day but especially on hot/cold/raining days. Houston also has a more vibrant social/restaurant/retail scene than Dallas. I think the big problem was that at the same time as the tunnels were being developed there was a flight to the suburbs. This was the bigger problem and had nothing to do with the one way streets and what have you. Nowadays you have uptown but that doesn't really count either. Look at a city like Minneapolis and they have tunnels but is just as much and probably more of a downtown scene than Dallas.
    what?

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by zzzz View Post
    If there were no restaurant options underground, most of main street or another street would be filled with restaurants instead of empty store fronts. That would bring most of the downtown workforce to that strip, and that in turn would create enough traffic to support retail businesses that depend on pop-in traffic.
    I think this oversimplifies the matter greatly, for a number of reasons:

    1) The "tunnels" that could be closed are those that go underneath the streets and connect various buildings' basements. There are very few restaurants in the tunnels themselves. Rather, all the restaurants and underground storefronts are in buildings' basements.

    The City doesn't own those buildings' basements, and they can't do anything effectively to close them. So even if you close the tunnels, it won't close the restaurants. If you closed the tunnels, I'd still go over to Kuai in the basement of the building across the street, I'd just have to walk across the street rather than under it to do so.

    2) I don't think it is realistic to believe that all the businesses in the underground would magically relocate to street level. What we're talking about here is almost unanimously restaurants--there's a barber shop, a framing store, and a florist underneath One Main; there's a shoeshine place under Comerica and a convenience store under 1700 Pacific--but otherwise it's limited to restaurants. There's no retail that would move up there.

    Those restaurants are able to stay in business exactly because of the underground. They share seating with the surrounding eateries, so they're not paying rent on that floorspace. And it's understood that they are in undesireable space and that they can only serve breakfast and lunch, so their rents are set accordingly. Campisi's can make do at street level serving lunch and dinner to a sit-down crowd; the little sandwich place in the underground cannot.

    3) What you really do by closing the tunnels is make downtown office space less attractive vis-a-vis the suburbs and Uptown. Right now, my garage is a block away. In my former office it was across the street and in my office before that it was a block away. But in each case, it was connected to my building by the tunnels, which allowed me to walk to work even in inclement weather.

    If my office were in Plano or the Galleria or Uptown, it would probably have an adjoining garage that would be both closer to the building and accessible by a covered walkway. If you take that away from the Downtown buildings, you make them even less attractive then they already are.

    4) We need more retail downtown, there's no doubt about that. But it's developing right now even with the tunnels. For those that haven't been paying attention, there have been three 7-11's open downtown within the past year. The CVS on Elm opened just a couple of years ago and even office buildings (i.e., Comerica and 1700 Pacific) have redesigned their ground floors to accommodate retail (the Dallas Chop House and a Chase Bank, respectively). So there is favorable movement, and I see no reason to upset that with such a drastic change.

    5) As an aside, there were a couple of pictures of Dakota's in the video. Lincoln Center was (and I think still is) owned by First Baptist Church, and in fact it was part of my law firm's lease in that building that we could not have alcohol in the building (a prohibition we routinely violated). The story I heard was that Dakota's sits on land that is owned by that Church and would otherwise be subject to that prohibition, but that the Church sold the underground to the City to build the tunnels, and the City allows alcohol sales on its land. So Dakota's couldn't sell alcohol if it were built on the ground level, but can since it's underground.

    I've always wondered if that's true.

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by DCA_HORN View Post
    So Houston has tunnels albeit way more elaborate. There is a ton of traffic no matter what every day but especially on hot/cold/raining days. Houston also has a more vibrant social/restaurant/retail scene than Dallas. I think the big problem was that at the same time as the tunnels were being developed there was a flight to the suburbs. This was the bigger problem and had nothing to do with the one way streets and what have you. Nowadays you have uptown but that doesn't really count either. Look at a city like Minneapolis and they have tunnels but is just as much and probably more of a downtown scene than Dallas.
    So does NYC, and they do fine, even when it's cold as $#@!. It's the transient nature of people in downtown Houston and Dallas that's at issue. And even where downtown residential is being developed, it's isolated from commercial, so you end up with the commercial area being a ghost town during non-business hours. In NYC, residential is dispersed amongst commercial, so business districts never empty out entirely, and businesses can remain open after hours and on weekends. Furthermore, unlike Texas cities, you really have no choice but to walk where you are going, and while tunnels are an option, they aren't the only one. Dallas is moving in the right direction though, as far as urban life is concerned.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by LonghornLawyer View Post
    I think this oversimplifies the matter greatly, for a number of reasons:

    5) As an aside, there were a couple of pictures of Dakota's in the video. Lincoln Center was (and I think still is) owned by First Baptist Church, and in fact it was part of my law firm's lease in that building that we could not have alcohol in the building (a prohibition we routinely violated). The story I heard was that Dakota's sits on land that is owned by that Church and would otherwise be subject to that prohibition, but that the Church sold the underground to the City to build the tunnels, and the City allows alcohol sales on its land. So Dakota's couldn't sell alcohol if it were built on the ground level, but can since it's underground.

    I've always wondered if that's true.
    I have always wondered why it was built like that.

  23. #23
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    That bitch Laura Miller was always trying to shut the tunnels down. I worked in a couple of the BofA buildings down there from '02 to '05 when she was yapping about it. We all agreed that if they shut down the tunnels, we still wouldn't have gone outside that much. We'd be far more likely to jump in our cars (particularly during the summer) and drive to uptown, than to walk around downtown.

    Shutting down the tunnels wouldn't suddenly spur some huge street level bonanza of shops and restaurants.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by FondrenRoad View Post
    So does NYC, and they do fine, even when it's cold as $#@!. It's the transient nature of people in downtown Houston and Dallas that's at issue. And even where downtown residential is being developed, it's isolated from commercial, so you end up with the commercial area being a ghost town during non-business hours. In NYC, residential is dispersed amongst commercial, so business districts never empty out entirely, and businesses can remain open after hours and on weekends. Furthermore, unlike Texas cities, you really have no choice but to walk where you are going, and while tunnels are an option, they aren't the only one. Dallas is moving in the right direction though, as far as urban life is concerned.
    Even NYC isn't fully integrated with commercial and residential. Walking around the financial district after about 7pm, its a total ghost town.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hellraiser97 View Post
    That bitch Laura Miller was always trying to shut the tunnels down. I worked in a couple of the BofA buildings down there from '02 to '05 when she was yapping about it. We all agreed that if they shut down the tunnels, we still wouldn't have gone outside that much. We'd be far more likely to jump in our cars (particularly during the summer) and drive to uptown, than to walk around downtown.

    Shutting down the tunnels wouldn't suddenly spur some huge street level bonanza of shops and restaurants.
    I know you say that, but I don't think it's true for most people.

    The fact is that more often than not, office workers grab something down in the tunnels and eat it down there or take it back up to the offices because that's the quickest way to grab lunch. Jumping in your car and driving to Uptown means not only are you spending that extra time in the car, but you're spending the extra time to have a sit-down meal. And most of us can't do that on a daily basis.

    But as I said above, I don't think closing the tunnels would magically move the lunch places up to ground level. Those are niche businesses that need to stay where they are (or else they won't be anywhere).

  26. #26
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    The Houston tunnels are awesome. $#@! walking 8 blocks in a suit when it's 95 outside and 90% humidity.

  27. #27
    Duke of New York Hellraiser97 is probably pretty witty. or good at photoshop. or porn. Hellraiser97 is probably pretty witty. or good at photoshop. or porn. Hellraiser97 is probably pretty witty. or good at photoshop. or porn. Hellraiser97 is probably pretty witty. or good at photoshop. or porn. Hellraiser97 is probably pretty witty. or good at photoshop. or porn. Hellraiser97 is probably pretty witty. or good at photoshop. or porn. Hellraiser97 is probably pretty witty. or good at photoshop. or porn. Hellraiser97 is probably pretty witty. or good at photoshop. or porn. Hellraiser97 is probably pretty witty. or good at photoshop. or porn. Hellraiser97 is probably pretty witty. or good at photoshop. or porn. Hellraiser97 is probably pretty witty. or good at photoshop. or porn. Hellraiser97's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LonghornLawyer View Post
    The fact is that more often than not, office workers grab something down in the tunnels and eat it down there or take it back up to the offices because that's the quickest way to grab lunch. Jumping in your car and driving to Uptown means not only are you spending that extra time in the car, but you're spending the extra time to have a sit-down meal. And most of us can't do that on a daily basis
    We brought stuff back all the time from uptown rather than sit down. My point is that when it is hotter than hell, or Dallas is having one of those nice freezing rain/ice storms in the winter, most people won't walk down the street to get lunch when they can jump in the car (or send someone else), stay out of the weather and be back in not much more time. The drive to uptown from any of the major buildings in downtown is less than 5 minutes. You'll spend more time than that walking around.

    But as I said above, I don't think closing the tunnels would magically move the lunch places up to ground level. Those are niche businesses that need to stay where they are (or else they won't be anywhere).
    I agree. The businesses on the street level are going to have a hard time surviving just on the working crowd. They'll get murdered in bad weather because they have two much nicer competitor groups to do deal with.

    The only thing that is going to bring more street level is more residential development in downtown.

  28. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by Hellraiser97 View Post
    That bitch Laura Miller was always trying to shut the tunnels down. I worked in a couple of the BofA buildings down there from '02 to '05 when she was yapping about it. We all agreed that if they shut down the tunnels, we still wouldn't have gone outside that much. We'd be far more likely to jump in our cars (particularly during the summer) and drive to uptown, than to walk around downtown.

    Shutting down the tunnels wouldn't suddenly spur some huge street level bonanza of shops and restaurants.
    Think about what your saying for a second. You would get into your cars and drive to uptown where... there is street level retail. If they shut down the tunnels in dt there would be an immediate demand for dt street level retail so people like you wouldn't have to drive across Woodall Rodgers to uptown for those retail options.



    Great video Jive, thanks for sharing. I couldn't agree more with the premise.

  29. #29
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    I've never been in the Dallas or Houston tunnels but I have been to the Crystal City, VA tunnels and they are very busy and very much used during the day (can't say about evenings). They basically connect a bunch of Federal, DoD, and Contractor buildings with Metro, hotels, conference centers and a large food court in the middle that has a sky light to a park above ground. Using the tunnels in that area is much more efficient than trying to get anywhere at the surface level. The surface level is pretty much building entrances.

    There the issue is snow in the winter.

    They seem to work there though I doubt much happens after dark. Was there poor planning in the Dallas tunnels or is the problem really night life?

    It sounds like it is what it is and complaining about the street level stuff is just people complaining. The street level stuff has moved to the tunnels and will stay there to serve the business crowd. Without residential in the area this will not change.
    Last edited by TexasEd; 03-02-2011 at 11:28 AM.

  30. #30
    Duke of New York Hellraiser97 is probably pretty witty. or good at photoshop. or porn. Hellraiser97 is probably pretty witty. or good at photoshop. or porn. Hellraiser97 is probably pretty witty. or good at photoshop. or porn. Hellraiser97 is probably pretty witty. or good at photoshop. or porn. Hellraiser97 is probably pretty witty. or good at photoshop. or porn. Hellraiser97 is probably pretty witty. or good at photoshop. or porn. Hellraiser97 is probably pretty witty. or good at photoshop. or porn. Hellraiser97 is probably pretty witty. or good at photoshop. or porn. Hellraiser97 is probably pretty witty. or good at photoshop. or porn. Hellraiser97 is probably pretty witty. or good at photoshop. or porn. Hellraiser97 is probably pretty witty. or good at photoshop. or porn. Hellraiser97's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by drycreek View Post
    Think about what your saying for a second. You would get into your cars and drive to uptown where... there is street level retail. If they shut down the tunnels in dt there would be an immediate demand for dt street level retail so people like you wouldn't have to drive across Woodall Rodgers to uptown for those retail options.
    It's not about the street level aspect. It's about being in my nice air conditioned (or heated in the winter) car and parking right in front of the restaurant vs walking outside 2,3,4 who knows how many blocks in the $#@!ty Dallas weather. When we got tired of the underground options for lunch, we'd jump in the car and go to uptown. It was a very, very rare day that we walked anywhere outside in downtown, even with options like Campisis around.

  31. #31
    asshat LurkingHorn can play the whole course with a 4 iron. At night. LurkingHorn can play the whole course with a 4 iron. At night. LurkingHorn can play the whole course with a 4 iron. At night. LurkingHorn can play the whole course with a 4 iron. At night. LurkingHorn can play the whole course with a 4 iron. At night. LurkingHorn can play the whole course with a 4 iron. At night. LurkingHorn can play the whole course with a 4 iron. At night. LurkingHorn can play the whole course with a 4 iron. At night. LurkingHorn can play the whole course with a 4 iron. At night. LurkingHorn can play the whole course with a 4 iron. At night. LurkingHorn can play the whole course with a 4 iron. At night.
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    Am I the only Dallasite who has no knowledge of these tunnels? I haven't heard anything about them until now. Granted I've never worked downtown, but I did live in West End Station for a year.

  32. #32
    Quote Originally Posted by Hellraiser97 View Post
    Even NYC isn't fully integrated with commercial and residential. Walking around the financial district after about 7pm, its a total ghost town.
    Mostly that's because the area still hasn't fully recovered from 911. And actually, the financial district is more integrated than it used to be. There are many condo conversions. They just aren't owned by the type of people that do things much. Same can be said of Battery Park City and it's nearly 100 percent residential and dead as a doornail nearly 24 hours a day. The new WTC will make both areas pick up by dropping 10 to 20,000 more workers on the area.

    But what I'm really talking about with NYC is Midtown, which is the largest commercial cluster in the world. But even in the 40s between 6th and 7th Ave, you have plenty of residential, and there is always activity.

  33. #33
    Duke of New York Hellraiser97 is probably pretty witty. or good at photoshop. or porn. Hellraiser97 is probably pretty witty. or good at photoshop. or porn. Hellraiser97 is probably pretty witty. or good at photoshop. or porn. Hellraiser97 is probably pretty witty. or good at photoshop. or porn. Hellraiser97 is probably pretty witty. or good at photoshop. or porn. Hellraiser97 is probably pretty witty. or good at photoshop. or porn. Hellraiser97 is probably pretty witty. or good at photoshop. or porn. Hellraiser97 is probably pretty witty. or good at photoshop. or porn. Hellraiser97 is probably pretty witty. or good at photoshop. or porn. Hellraiser97 is probably pretty witty. or good at photoshop. or porn. Hellraiser97 is probably pretty witty. or good at photoshop. or porn. Hellraiser97's Avatar
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    Yeah, Midtown is lively 24/7. I was amazed that despite all the new condos in the financial district how dead it was at night.

  34. #34
    dead from aggy misery od Ghost of LL might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Ghost of LL might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Ghost of LL might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Ghost of LL might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Ghost of LL might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Ghost of LL might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Ghost of LL might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Ghost of LL might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Ghost of LL might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Ghost of LL might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Ghost of LL might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Ghost of LL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hellraiser97 View Post
    It's not about the street level aspect. It's about being in my nice air conditioned (or heated in the winter) car and parking right in front of the restaurant vs walking outside 2,3,4 who knows how many blocks in the $#@!ty Dallas weather. When we got tired of the underground options for lunch, we'd jump in the car and go to uptown. It was a very, very rare day that we walked anywhere outside in downtown, even with options like Campisis around.
    Ok--maybe you do that. I just personally think that's insane.

    I don't know how BofA is set up--I've never worked there. But in the three buildings I've worked in my car is in a garage that is either across the street or a block away. By the time I've walked to my car, I might as well have walked to Campisi's, or Sol Irlandes, or Press Box, or any number of other lunch joints. If I'm driving, it's because I want to go somewhere in particular (it was Angry Dog yesterday), and not because it's easier to drive two miles than it is to walk a block.

    And by the way, what kind of pussy are you that you can't walk two or three blocks in the Dallas heat?

    Quote Originally Posted by drycreek View Post
    If they shut down the tunnels in dt there would be an immediate demand for dt street level retail so people like you wouldn't have to drive across Woodall Rodgers to uptown for those retail options.
    I don't see why you say that, given that there aren't "retail options" in the underground now.

    If they eliminated the tunnels, you might have a few more surface-level restaurants (or you might not). But the restaurants that are underground are not going to just move to the surface because they are niche lunch places with a business model that only works in the underground.

  35. #35
    Duke of New York Hellraiser97 is probably pretty witty. or good at photoshop. or porn. Hellraiser97 is probably pretty witty. or good at photoshop. or porn. Hellraiser97 is probably pretty witty. or good at photoshop. or porn. Hellraiser97 is probably pretty witty. or good at photoshop. or porn. Hellraiser97 is probably pretty witty. or good at photoshop. or porn. Hellraiser97 is probably pretty witty. or good at photoshop. or porn. Hellraiser97 is probably pretty witty. or good at photoshop. or porn. Hellraiser97 is probably pretty witty. or good at photoshop. or porn. Hellraiser97 is probably pretty witty. or good at photoshop. or porn. Hellraiser97 is probably pretty witty. or good at photoshop. or porn. Hellraiser97 is probably pretty witty. or good at photoshop. or porn. Hellraiser97's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LonghornLawyer View Post
    Ok--maybe you do that. I just personally think that's insane.

    I don't know how BofA is set up--I've never worked there. But in the three buildings I've worked in my car is in a garage that is either across the street or a block away.
    One building it was across the street (connected by the tunnels), the other it was in the building.

    And by the way, what kind of pussy are you that you can't walk two or three blocks in the Dallas heat?
    I certainly could, but why would I when I have other options?

  36. #36
    arbiter of taste huge is probably pretty witty. or good at photoshop. or porn. huge is probably pretty witty. or good at photoshop. or porn. huge is probably pretty witty. or good at photoshop. or porn. huge is probably pretty witty. or good at photoshop. or porn. huge is probably pretty witty. or good at photoshop. or porn. huge is probably pretty witty. or good at photoshop. or porn. huge is probably pretty witty. or good at photoshop. or porn. huge is probably pretty witty. or good at photoshop. or porn. huge is probably pretty witty. or good at photoshop. or porn. huge is probably pretty witty. or good at photoshop. or porn. huge is probably pretty witty. or good at photoshop. or porn. huge's Avatar
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    In Houston there are street level restaurants as well as tunnels.

    If the street level restaurant is good, it survives. If not, it is gone quick. Same with the tunnels, but they are usually cheaper.

  37. #37
    arbiter of taste huge is probably pretty witty. or good at photoshop. or porn. huge is probably pretty witty. or good at photoshop. or porn. huge is probably pretty witty. or good at photoshop. or porn. huge is probably pretty witty. or good at photoshop. or porn. huge is probably pretty witty. or good at photoshop. or porn. huge is probably pretty witty. or good at photoshop. or porn. huge is probably pretty witty. or good at photoshop. or porn. huge is probably pretty witty. or good at photoshop. or porn. huge is probably pretty witty. or good at photoshop. or porn. huge is probably pretty witty. or good at photoshop. or porn. huge is probably pretty witty. or good at photoshop. or porn. huge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hellraiser97 View Post
    One building it was across the street (connected by the tunnels), the other it was in the building.



    I certainly could, but why would I when I have other options?
    I hate getting in my car and driving to lunch when I can just walk.

    I'm about to go meet a friend at the Chipotle on Shepherd. There is one 3 blocks from my bldg downtown and I am going to get in my car and drive and it bugs the $#@! out of me.

  38. #38
    Duke of New York Hellraiser97 is probably pretty witty. or good at photoshop. or porn. Hellraiser97 is probably pretty witty. or good at photoshop. or porn. Hellraiser97 is probably pretty witty. or good at photoshop. or porn. Hellraiser97 is probably pretty witty. or good at photoshop. or porn. Hellraiser97 is probably pretty witty. or good at photoshop. or porn. Hellraiser97 is probably pretty witty. or good at photoshop. or porn. Hellraiser97 is probably pretty witty. or good at photoshop. or porn. Hellraiser97 is probably pretty witty. or good at photoshop. or porn. Hellraiser97 is probably pretty witty. or good at photoshop. or porn. Hellraiser97 is probably pretty witty. or good at photoshop. or porn. Hellraiser97 is probably pretty witty. or good at photoshop. or porn. Hellraiser97's Avatar
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    I'd prefer walking if the weather was better. To be fair, we would walk out to lunch when the weather was nice in the Spring, but I don't those few months like that are enough to keep a large number of street level restaurants in business.

  39. #39
    asshat zzzz is a rep whore. zzzz is a rep whore. zzzz is a rep whore. zzzz is a rep whore. zzzz is a rep whore. zzzz is a rep whore. zzzz is a rep whore. zzzz is a rep whore. zzzz is a rep whore. zzzz is a rep whore. zzzz is a rep whore. zzzz's Avatar
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    Here's another idea. Take a look at the existing tunnel/sky-bridge system:



    Theoretically, what you could do to make Main St more viable is run a tunnel down the length of it. This tunnel would have no retail but it would have access to the surface every block. That way people could walk the length of Main St without being exposed to the elements until they were near their destination.

  40. #40
    Duke of New York Hellraiser97 is probably pretty witty. or good at photoshop. or porn. Hellraiser97 is probably pretty witty. or good at photoshop. or porn. Hellraiser97 is probably pretty witty. or good at photoshop. or porn. Hellraiser97 is probably pretty witty. or good at photoshop. or porn. Hellraiser97 is probably pretty witty. or good at photoshop. or porn. Hellraiser97 is probably pretty witty. or good at photoshop. or porn. Hellraiser97 is probably pretty witty. or good at photoshop. or porn. Hellraiser97 is probably pretty witty. or good at photoshop. or porn. Hellraiser97 is probably pretty witty. or good at photoshop. or porn. Hellraiser97 is probably pretty witty. or good at photoshop. or porn. Hellraiser97 is probably pretty witty. or good at photoshop. or porn. Hellraiser97's Avatar
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    Not a bad idea, but I would imagine at this point it would be very expensive to do.

  41. #41

  42. #42
    Quote Originally Posted by LurkingHorn View Post
    Am I the only Dallasite who has no knowledge of these tunnels? I haven't heard anything about them until now. Granted I've never worked downtown, but I did live in West End Station for a year.
    No, I've never heard of them. I know I've only been here a year, but I grew up in Arlington and shopped in Dallas growing up. I've always wondered what that Dakota elevator was in the middle of the sidewalk.

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by LonghornLawyer View Post
    I know you say that, but I don't think it's true for most people.

    The fact is that more often than not, office workers grab something down in the tunnels and eat it down there or take it back up to the offices because that's the quickest way to grab lunch. Jumping in your car and driving to Uptown means not only are you spending that extra time in the car, but you're spending the extra time to have a sit-down meal. And most of us can't do that on a daily basis.

    But as I said above, I don't think closing the tunnels would magically move the lunch places up to ground level. Those are niche businesses that need to stay where they are (or else they won't be anywhere).
    I think LL is right: closing the tunnels would just mena that the majority of people who grab lunch in the tunnel would just go to their office building's sandwich shop that is tucked away on the ground floor of virtually every office building in America.

  44. #44
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    I did a little research on Vincent Ponte -- read a few articles from the sixties and seventies. His first claim to fame was taking a hole in Montreal that was filled with train tracks and creating a 176,000 sq ft underground transit-oriented shopping plaza on which a Hilton Hotel was situated. Almost immediately private companies began erecting skyscrapers around it and the system of connecting tunnels began.

    Ponte referred to this development concept as "the sheltered city" and promoted it as the answer to overcrowding, weather and pollution.

    Today, the Montreal system consists of almost 20 miles of tunnels -- the largest underground system in the world. It has been described as a vast shopping mall that connects various underground transit stops. 500,000 people a day are said to use the tunnels.

    I was curious if they had empty storefronts in downtown Montreal as a result. I don't think they do because they have a lot of residential high rises.

    What I did find is some pictures that make nearby parts of Montreal look as forlorn as parts of Detroit:
























    http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/show...=186603&page=2

    http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=186603

    "Our 'sheltered city' the finest in the world" (1974): http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...ls+ponte&hl=en
    Last edited by zzzz; 03-02-2011 at 04:40 PM.

  45. #45
    dead from aggy misery od Ghost of LL might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Ghost of LL might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Ghost of LL might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Ghost of LL might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Ghost of LL might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Ghost of LL might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Ghost of LL might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Ghost of LL might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Ghost of LL might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Ghost of LL might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Ghost of LL might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Ghost of LL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zzzz View Post
    Theoretically, what you could do to make Main St more viable is run a tunnel down the length of it. This tunnel would have no retail but it would have access to the surface every block. That way people could walk the length of Main St without being exposed to the elements until they were near their destination.
    Aside from the cost, I think that's a horrible idea that just reproduces the problem created by the existing tunnels in the first place. I think the point of all these urban planners and "density" types is that there is an innate value to the hustle-and-bustle of a crowded street in a busy downtown. It creates energy, which makes the area more attractive. At the same time, forcing people to walk past storefronts informs them of other retail choices (i.e., the very marketing theory behind department store windows).

    Let's put it in a different (and for many people, more familiar) context. Imagine if Northpark Mall was set up soch that every store had an exterior door. Imagine further that the mall was set up in such a way that you could quickly and efficiently valet your car directly at the store you wanted to go to (which pretty much rules out Northpark actually running the valets--seriously, that place has the worst valets I've ever seen). So if you're going to the AMC theater, you could open your car door and walk right in to the AMC theater without passing by the Urban Outfitters or the Sunglasses Hut. If you're going to Victoria's Secret, you don't have to pass by the Tiffany's or smell the Antie Anne's pretzels.

    Do you think the retailers at Northpark Mall would like that arrangement?

  46. #46
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    i've never been in these underground tunnels but i was aware of them

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigup2dahorns View Post
    i've never been in these underground tunnels but i was aware of them
    Hipster.

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by LonghornLawyer View Post
    At the same time, forcing people to walk past storefronts informs them of other retail choices (i.e., the very marketing theory behind department store windows)... Imagine if Northpark Mall was set up such that every store had an exterior door. Imagine further that the mall was set up in such a way that you could quickly and efficiently valet your car directly at the store you wanted to go..
    I suggested that as a way to get the wussies to venture down Main Street. Signs could be placed at each exit to the street informing them what is available on the surface at that point. That might possibly lead to more people on the street. I don't think the idea is viable financially, just conjecturing how it might impact people's behavior.

    A cheaper alternative would be to devise a manner of shading the sidewalks. When I walked them on the hottest day, having a bit of shade made a big difference. How about a series of revolving slats strung horizontally across the streets and sidewalk? They could be automated to rotate with the sun: Early in the day angled to block the rising sun, midday they lie flat, then angled to block the setting sun. That would let some light in except at high noon.

    In regards to the mall concept, all around the country they are tearing down less successful malls and constructing open air centers that let people park near their destination.

  49. #49
    dead from aggy misery od Ghost of LL might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Ghost of LL might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Ghost of LL might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Ghost of LL might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Ghost of LL might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Ghost of LL might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Ghost of LL might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Ghost of LL might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Ghost of LL might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Ghost of LL might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Ghost of LL might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Ghost of LL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zzzz View Post
    A cheaper alternative would be to devise a manner of shading the sidewalks. When I walked them on the hottest day, having a bit of shade made a big difference. How about a series of revolving slats strung horizontally across the streets and sidewalk? They could be automated to rotate with the sun: Early in the day angled to block the rising sun, midday they lie flat, then angled to block the setting sun. That would let some light in except at high noon.

    In regards to the mall concept, all around the country they are tearing down less successful malls and constructing open air centers that let people park near their destination.
    But doesn't that demonstrate that people aren't as allergic to walking outside in the elements as some might imagine?

    I don't think the heat is that big of an issue. It's not like this is 1970 anymore when office workers had to wear wool suits to work. People downtown are now generally casual during the summer, so the heat is generally less oppressive. The key to getting people to walk outside is what has been discussed at length, and which incorporates some of your ideas--more shade (generally from trees), broader sidewalks, and more outdoor seating at restaurants. I think those are the ideas that need not be seriously explored--not the idea of closing down the tunnels.

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by FondrenRoad View Post
    So does NYC, and they do fine, even when it's cold as $#@!. It's the transient nature of people in downtown Houston and Dallas that's at issue. And even where downtown residential is being developed, it's isolated from commercial, so you end up with the commercial area being a ghost town during non-business hours. In NYC, residential is dispersed amongst commercial, so business districts never empty out entirely, and businesses can remain open after hours and on weekends. Furthermore, unlike Texas cities, you really have no choice but to walk where you are going, and while tunnels are an option, they aren't the only one. Dallas is moving in the right direction though, as far as urban life is concerned.
    Yeah, this makes sense.

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