COVID-19: The Recovery will Happen in Public Space

Road Diet Case Study: Higher Livability, Lower Greenville

Jan 31, 2020
Jan 30, 2020

↵ Back: A Placemaker's Primer on Road Diets

Top: Greenville Avenue before road diet (2008). Bottom: After road diet (2018).
This four- to two-lane road redesign in Dallas, TX, transformed a high-crime corridor into a walkable, economically vibrant commercial district.

The Highlights

  • Development has increased 212%
  • All crimes have reduced by 80%
  • Average speed reduced from 35-40 mph to 20-25 mph
  • The population living at Lower Greenville has increased by 3.6% over the last five years

The Details

The Greenville Avenue road diet project in the Lower Greenville neighborhood of Dallas, TX, is an excellent example of a road redesign conducted with a specific purpose in mind: the transformation of a high-crime nightlife district into a more family-friendly, economically vibrant, walkable commercial corridor. 

In 2010, Councilwoman Angela Hunt and Mayor Pro-Tem Pauline Medrano led a campaign to improve the neighborhood. The reduction of the road from four lanes to two, with doubled on-street parking and vastly-enhanced sidewalks, was central to this effort.

After Greenville Avenue was redesigned to focus on creating an environment for people, business followed and development has increased by 212% since then. A body of evidence, both statistical and anecdotal, suggest various other benefits, including reduced vehicular speeds, crime, and accidents. The variety of businesses, the redesign of wider sidewalks with street buffers, and the addition of crosswalks has increased pedestrian activity throughout all times of the day, contributing more "eyes on the street."  

The transformation of Lower Greenville extended beyond the physical infrastructure, too. A couple of years after Lower Greenville’s road diet, stakeholders got together to form the Lower Greenville Business Association whose mission is "supporting and promoting a positive quality of life in our neighborhood."

Word on the Street

“Lower Greenville went through this physical transformation, but there was this richer transformation going through it in terms of relationships.” 
Jessica Burnham
“Locals love that they can walk to their favorite neighborhood joint and back home again after an evening of throwing back a cocktail or three.”
D Magazine
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COVID-19: The Recovery will Happen in Public Space