“We are committed to maximizing the economic and cultural potential of the Dallas urban Arts District…which now holds the distinction of being the largest urban arts district in the nation. Art and culture are important to our city’s soul and economic vitality.”

– Mayor Mike Rawlings

 
vision

   

Help the arts emerge in Dallas | Connect to our neighbors | Harmonize with the life of the city   

In the 80’s, Dallas city leaders came together to build a world-class cultural district. This led to the design plan, known as the Sasaki Plan, which became the roadmap for the Dallas Arts District we know today. More than three decades later, the Dallas Arts District is beginning to realize its full potential: a mixed-use neighborhood with educational opportunities, religious elements, recreation, and increasing numbers of residential, retail and commercial neighbors. At this point in the completion of the Arts District, it is no longer enough to simply spruce up the Arts District; it is essential to connect the Arts to the surrounding downtown neighborhoods: Pearl Street Station, Klyde Warren Park, Uptown, Victory Park, West End, City Center, and to the entire City of Dallas.


The 2050 Plan proposes a new set of principles that will guide the District for the next three decades: where the Arts District becomes just one of many vibrant neighborhoods connected by walkable streets and filled with residents of all income levels and ages. The plan is based on the understanding that Dallas has reclaimed a love for the public realm. From the construction of the Klyde Warren Park over the Woodall Rodgers Freeway to the Katy Trail, Dallas residents are flocking to the city and enjoying public spaces as never before. Downtown is host to thousands of new residents who enjoy and demand a high quality public realm that is connected and convenient not just for vehicle travel, but for walking and cycling.


The plan outlines key strategies and initiatives for improving and expanding the Arts District into areas of the City that currently lack clear identity. Flora Street will be preserved as the focus of the Arts District, but Pearl Street and Ross Avenue are called out for significant investment to expand the perception and boundaries of the Arts District as it reaches out to adjoining neighborhoods and transportation networks. The remainder of streets in the District will also be enhanced for pedestrians with better sidewalks, shade trees and safer pedestrian crossings. The Arts District will be better branded by moving art and performance outside the walls of existing institutions.


The 2050 Plan also updates the specific design guidelines from the former Sasaki Plan, for applicability in the current era of resource conservation and universal accessibility. The new design guidelines preserve those standards that have served the district well while replacing those that have proven to be problematic or outdated.


Part of this vision has been to establish a more peer based design review process by which the Arts District can evaluate future projects. Using the principles and guidelines in this plan, the membership of the Arts District, together with city-wide design professionals, can be empowered to control their future with flexibility through the coming decades.

 
strategies

 

The DAD2050 framework vision is driven by five mutually supportive strategies that will expand the impact of the district and improve connectivity to adjacent neighborhoods.

 enhance pedestrian connections, focus to west 

5

 embrace ross avenue 

 reinvigorate flora street 

 transform pearl street into the "avenue of the arts" 

 expand/update wayfinding, public art, gateways 

guiding strategies

The first three strategies are primarily focused on enhancing three major roadway corridors within the district. Flora Street paving, trees and lighting will be restored to provide more contemporary infrastructure for emerging commercial uses within a cultural district. Pearl Street and Ross Avenue will be treated with the same level of design scrutiny and investment in the public realm as Flora Street. Pearl Street will extend the Arts theme between Uptown and Main Street, while Ross Avenue will become a complementary, mixed use street parallel to Flora Street with the ability to support future transit.


Enhancing wayfinding, gateways and improving pedestrian connections to the west make up the last two strategies. Art works, either temporary of permanent, will announce the district at various gateway points to define a broader conception of the Dallas Arts District. In light of the Perot Museum location west of N. Field, the need to expand public perception of the Arts District should be achieved with strategic placement of public art, enhanced pedestrian crossings and sidewalks and a contemporary wi-fi enabled public realm to enhance access to users of all economic strata.

transform pearl street into the "avenue of the arts"

strategy 1

Flora Street is the core of the Dallas Arts District. But after 30 years, the time has come for the Dallas Arts District to stretch beyond the cul-de-sac of Flora Street and extend to the districts and neighborhoods to the north and south. Pearl Street is a large street, but so should be the ambition of the Dallas Arts District: a vision that opens itself to visitors from Uptown and Downtown.


Pearl Street should no longer be a divider of the Arts District, but rather the focus of a much larger vision of the Arts in Dallas and one that extends and opens itself to the larger city. Pearl Street should be the grandest arts corridor in the City, with additional arts, culture and entertainment venues sprinkled from Uptown to Main Street and to Deep Ellum beyond.

Review the detailed design guidelines for Pearl Street here.

priority actions​

  • ​Reinterpret Pearl Street as the "Avenue of the Arts”
    from McKinney Avenue to Live Oak Street

  • Create a connection between Downtown neighborhoods

  • Improve deteriorating and unsafe pedestrian right-of-way and crossings with a focus on safety and comfort

  • Unify and expand the Dallas Arts District with a continuous, streetscape between Uptown, Klyde Warren Park, the Arts District, and City Center

reinvigorate flora street

strategy 2

Flora Street was designed 35 years ago with a bold vision for a beautiful, tree lined street with world class arts institutions, artist housing, retail and vibrant open spaces strung along its length. While the institutions were realized, many of the other uses never arrived. In the meantime, the aging streetscapes have failed to live up to desires for outdoor programming and universal access. Poor lighting and rampant tree growth have become impediments to retail uses that are just now arriving to re-invigorate the district.


Reinvestment in Flora Street should respect the bold vision of the Sasaki Plan but be the guidelines should be updated to support the current needs for outdoor dining, pedestrians, universal access and new residents. Updated, ADA compliant, paving, energy efficient lighting and water saving landscape standards are essential for a cohesive, sustainable and quality experience true to the original vision for the Arts District.

priority actions​

  • Replace unsafe and deteriorating sidewalks where needed

  • Replace existing bald cypress with appropriate street trees when in poor condition

  • Improve existing lighting with fixtures that address street and pedestrian safety and energy efficiency

  • Establish new streetscape standards for retail uses

  • Incorporate sustainable features

implementation and partners
  • Initiate public art program for temporary and permanent art installations on Pearl Street

  • Initiate wayfinding along Flora with kiosks from Dallas Innovation Alliance’ test in West End

downtown dallas inc

  • Coordinate with Dallas360 thoroughfare recommendations to narrow pedestrian crossing at Pearl Street

3

embrace ross avenue

Need actual

 
strategy 3

Ross Avenue has been seen as the edge of the Dallas Arts District. Even the design guidelines stopped short of the south side of the street. While modest improvements have been made over the years, Ross Avenue could become one of Dallas’ most successful urban mixed-use boulevards. Already several new mixed-use projects are emerging that will define the character of Ross, and the City is investigating Ross as a potential transit corridor connecting Downtown with some of Dallas’ most popular residential districts and historic neighborhoods. The future of Ross Avenue should not be left to chance. Strong design guidelines that have served Flora Street over the years should be applied to Ross to ensure an equally high quality streetscape and active street frontages free from numerous curb cuts or blank walls. Additional setbacks will be needed to support a transit rich corridor for the future.

priority actions​

  • Establish streetscape standards for private development along Ross Avenue within the KWP/DAD PID

  • Support the transformation of Ross Avenue into a safe, multimodal, and mixed use urban corridor

implementation and partners​

 

downtown dallas

  • Coordinate with Dallas360 thoroughfare recommendations to identify future transit needs on Ross Avenue​

 

city of dallas

  • Expand DAD design guideline boundary to both sides of Ross Approve and implement new DAD Design Guidelines

2020 bond issue

  • Immediate funding for the Pearl Street/Flora Street intersection

  • Prioritize funding to the Betty B. Marcus Park to improve park visibility from Flora

  • Earmark funding for sidewalk replacement at public facilities 

1/1

Need actual

4

expand and update signage,
wayfinding, public art, and gateway experiences

Need actual

 
strategy 4

Over the decades, a limited number of mismatched directional signs and monuments have been introduced to the district. A cohesive wayfinding or system was never implemented, nor is such a system necessary with today’s ubiquitous use of hand held and vehicle navigation devices available. But district identity should be strengthened and expanded to include beyond Flora Street. Pearl Street, Ross Avenue and the Woodall Rogers service roads are major gateways to the Dallas Arts District, and introducing public art at an urban scale will both announce the Arts District to visitors and enhance the public realm. Parking signage should be unified to encourage visitors to park once and walk to various destinations within the district.

priority actions​

  • Locate new wayfinding signage for larger District identity

  • Improve WiFi access for visitors

  • Improve distribution of information for visitors

  • Assist visitors in finding public parking

implementation and partners

 

downtown dallas

  • Coordinate with Dallas360 thoroughfare recommendations to identify future transit needs on Ross Avenue​

 

city of dallas

  • Expand DAD design guideline boundary to both sides of Ross Approve and implement new DAD Design Guidelines

2020 bond issue

  • Immediate funding for the Pearl Street/Flora Street intersection

  • Prioritize funding to the Betty B. Marcus Park to improve park visibility from Flora

  • Earmark funding for sidewalk replacement at public facilities 

5

enhance pedestrian connections

strategy 5

Perhaps the greatest challenge for the Arts District is the tenuous pedestrian connection from

the Klyde Warren Park to the Perot Museum. While many streets in the district could and

should be enhanced for pedestrians the Woodall Rogers Freeway and its many high speed on

and off ramps creates a physically intimidating barrier. But enhancing pedestrian connections

between the Arts District, the West End and Victory Park and the future M2 DART station is of

primary importance for the Arts District and the City of Dallas.

While long range plans should contemplate the eventual diminishment of highway impacts on

the City (as Klyde Warren Park has demonstrated), it is unlikely that the freeway or its many disruptive ramps will be significantly adjusted in the short term. For this reason it is critical to expand the pedestrian realm to overcome the dominance of high speed auto traffic. This can only be achieved with design controls that require sidewalks and crossing

s that protect vulnerable pedestrians while slowing traffic to more urban speeds. Expansion of design

guidelines to the Woodall Rogers corridor would give sufficient regulatory oversight to ensure

compliance by private abutting property owners when sufficient public space is lacking.

priority actions​

  • Establish safe, non-motorized connections between the Arts District and the Perot Museum

  • Support connectivity needs of the Field/Griffin corridor

  • Coordinate with DDI, City planning entities, and TXDOT to facilitate infrastructure improvements

  • With the help of key stakeholders, establish safe, pedestrian connections between the Arts District and other amenities and districts

  • Support connectivity needs of the Field/Griffin corridor

  • Coordinate with DDI, City planning entities, and TXDOT to facilitate infrastructure improvements

implementation and partners

  • Initiate public art program for temporary and permanent art installations between Perot and Klyde Warren Park

  • Initiate wayfinding along pedestrian routes with kiosks from Dallas Innovation Alliance’ test in West End

downtown dallas

  • Coordinate with Dallas360 thoroughfare recommendation

city of dallas

  • Approve and implement new DAD Design Guidelines

  • Rename Woodall Rodgers Fwy. North and Woodall Rodgers Fwy. South

texas dot

  • Advocate for removal of Texas U at N. Akard Street

 

2020 bond issue

  • Prioritize Funding for sidewalk improvements on publicly owned ROW within corridor​

before
 

2017 Dallas Arts District

Community Plan - Strategies 

Apr 06, 2017

Flora Old