In Downtown Arlington, there are four small strips of land along a railroad corridor.
Arlington, Texas, like many other US towns, grew around a railroad corridor. In fact, the town relocated from its original site a few miles south, to its current location in order to be on the Dallas - Fort Worth Texas and Pacific Railway originally built in the late 1800s for both passenger and freight. Today, only the freight trains operate in Arlington, primarily delivering critical supplies and equipment to GM’s Arlington plant which is 2.5 miles east of Downtown. However, the railway remains an important feature and a boundary for Downtown Arlington, with narrow parcels of land providing a buffer around the tracks.
In the last 15 years, Downtown Arlington has been experiencing nothing short of a renaissance, and during this same time period, the University of Texas at Arlington, located on the southern border of the area, has grown from less than 20,000 students to over 40,000. The sustained transformation of downtown and growth of UTA has brought thousands of new residents, countless more visitors and tourists, plus dozens of new businesses and attractions to both the north and south side of the tracks. However, the railroad remains a barrier, preventing these new residents and establishments from coming together into a cohesive place.
With the support of a Community Placemaking Grant, the Downtown Arlington Management Corporation envisions converting the buffer lots around the railroad tracks into active green spaces that bind the city together. Many locals are excited about the possibility of a dog park as an opportunity to socialize and meet their neighbors. Through the collaborative placemaking process engaging a variety of Arlington stakeholders including residents, students, and city staff, Project for Public Spaces and Downtown Arlington propose transforming the land along the railroad corridor into a catalyst for physical and programmatic connections downtown.