[Video] Reimagining Downtown Dallas' Pedestrian Tunnels

Posted on: March 5th, 2012 by David Garber 4 Comments

"Do I think that the tunnels and one way streets were a bad idea? Yes, I do. I think it was a terrible, disastrous idea for a city that needs to maintain a vibrant downtown." -Jack Gosnell, Dallas real estate broker

Here's a great video from You + Dallas on downtown Dallas' pedestrian tunnel system. When they were built in the 1960s, they were heralded as new, streamlined, climate-controlled retail corridors. Problem was, they pretty much killed the streets above them.

As the city of Dallas' new Downtown Dallas 360 plan is implemented, the city's tunnels and sky bridges may close to bring people back to the sidewalks. Is there a role for these places as the city evolves?

David Garber is the blog editor at the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

General, Modern Architecture, Videos

4 Responses

  1. OKmod

    March 5, 2012

    So the tunnels are to blame for the decline of downtown retail in the Seventies?

    I only recently “discovered” the tunnels of Downtown Dallas. I found it a wonderful way for a tourist to navigate the downtown area, have lunch, enjoy different parts of the city and escape the weather. I was shocked to learn they’re trying to eliminate them!

    Most any Midwestern city experienced this same mass exodus- tunnels or not. Instead of forcing them to close they should make better use of them and promote them to tourists.

  2. sueur

    March 6, 2012

    I like this post, enjoyed this one thank you for putting up.

  3. Noah Jeppson

    March 6, 2012

    The different segments are all privately owned, so their closure is up to the property owners who are currently bringing in revenue from tenants. The network will naturally evolve as land use changes in the CBD (as it becomes more of a mixed-use district).

    If you’d like to read about the Dallas Pedestrian Network and its impact on historic property/preservation, I wrote a more in-depth article here: http://www.unvisiteddallas.com/archives/635

    I’ve also created a new map of the network which can be found at http://www.noahjeppson.com.

  4. Maggie

    March 9, 2012

    It’s been 6 years since I lived in Downtown, so things may have changed with the tunnels since then, but my experience at the time I lived in them was disapointment. Access to my bank’s ATM underground and away from the street was a GODSEND! I loved the idea of those tunnels for inclement weather, but was disappointed that NOTHING was open down there outside of office building business hours. Of course, most everything above ground was closed too and that has changed. I can see how people would think that sending all the foot traffic down below would be detrimental to above ground ventures, but how about utilizing the tunnels for things that residents in the area need. Like cobblers and dry cleaners and corner stores and pet day care