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2200 Ross Avenue Suite 4600E Dallas, TX 75201

Downtown Dallas, Inc. Tunnels and Sky Bridges Network Task Force Final Report and Recommendations Mission Downtown Dallas, Inc. (DDI) charged this task force with evaluating one of the recommendations in the Downtown 360 plan:

p. 214.744.1270 f. 214.744.1986

UD 5: Develop a plan to phase out retail or restaurant uses from underground tunnels

The work of this task force involved determining: Existing uses of the tunnels and sky bridges network The degree to which retail establishments under office buildings rely on pedestrian traffic in the network The extent to which portions of the network are being closed due to decisions of private property owners Which uses are in space owned by the city of Dallas What contractual relationships that may exist between retail and restaurant owners and either building owners or the city

Findings of Fact The recommendation of the Vincent Ponte 1969 study to create a tunnel system was based on the perceived need to separate vehicular traffic from pedestrians to make it easier to enter and exit Downtown. This was a common urban planning principal during that time, but now is largely abhorred by urban planners. Weather extremes were not a consideration in the Ponte recommendations. The network by its very nature is secure and mostly inaccessible to the street. It is accessed internally almost exclusively through several office buildings. Therefore retail
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(mostly fast food) in the network tends to operate only during business hours, generally limited to from 10 am to 3 pm on business days and closed all other times including evenings, weekends and holidays. The network is disjointed and inconsistent with the street system and only lends itself to ad hoc trips rather than providing a consistent pathway that is helpful to civic interaction. There has been minimum or no new retail development in the last 15 years in the tunnel system, only replacement of existing retail. The network was conceived when there was virtually no downtown residential development and is incompatible with a residential community because it is mostly closed and sealed up during non-business hours. A surge of retail development at street level has negated the need to use the tunnel system. Many portions of the tunnel system have been discontinued by decision of private property owners, including: o o o o o o 1600 Pacific 1025 Elm 1401 Elm 1505 Elm Continental/Mercantile buildings Corrigan Tower/Tower Petroleum buildings

The remaining buildings and facilities connected to the tunnels and sky bridges system includes: Office Buildings Comerica Tower Chase Tower 1700 Pacific Bank of America Plaza Renaissance Tower Fountain Place Plaza of the Americas Bryan Tower KPMG Centre Patriot Tower Energy Plaza Lincoln Plaza Residential Buildings Davis Building Gables Republic Titche-Goettinger Building Hotels

Sheraton Dallas Hotel Fairmont Hotel Marriott Dallas City Center Hotel Indigo Crowne Plaza Dallas Downtown

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One Main Place Republic Center

Parks Cancer Survivors Plaza Thanks-Giving Square

Other First Baptist Church Universities Center at Dallas Majestic Garage Elm Street Garage Metropolitan Garage

With the exception of the Bullington Truck Terminal, which is owned by the city of Dallas, most of the remaining tunnels and sky bridges, including those under city rightof-way, are owned fee simple by private property owners. The city leases four spaces for retail use in the Bullington Truck Terminal. All other retail establishments are in privately-owned space. The tunnels and sky bridges are not a homogeneous system. Each was developed by private property owners to meet the needs of their office building tenants, including connecting to parking garages. As a result, they vary from location to location in terms of: o o o o o Width Lighting Decoration Wayfinding Maintenance

Conclusions Although the tunnels and sky bridges are not desirable in terms of street-level activation and urban design, they do exist and, in the perception of some property owners and office tenants, serve a purpose. Due to the dominance of privately owned property, any attempt to regulate below street level retail out of existence would be a significant infringement on private property rights. One of Downtowns competitive advantages over the suburbs is an active street life where office tenants can walk to restaurants and stores without having to drive their cars. Another is its mix of residents, workers, hotel guests, conventioneers, and retail and restaurant customers that make Downtown a 24/7 activity zone. The tunnels and sky bridges network does not contribute to this dynamic and attractive street life.

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Street-level activity continues to increase with the addition of significant ground-floor retail, especially dining, due to an emphasis from the public and private sector. This is very apparent in the Main Street Core with the addition of many restaurants such as Dallas Chop House and Charlie Palmers. And, it is becoming more apparent in areas outside of the Core such as the marketing of ground-floor retail space in One Main Place and the renovation plans for 1401 Elm and 1600 Pacific.

Recommendations Based on its mission statement, the task force undertook a deliberate and thoughtful review of the tunnel and sky bridge network. Although the task force does not recommend eliminating the retail uses in the existing tunnel and sky bridge network, it does recognize that going forward the emphasis in public policy must be to encourage street-level retail and the use of other urban design techniques to increase desirable street activity. The task force supports continued efforts to implement the Downtown Dallas 360 recommendations concerning Creating Great Urban Design, Creating Vibrant Streets and Public Places and the Main Street Retail Activation strategies. The task force recommends the following: Recognize that the existing tunnels and sky bridges and the retail uses within them will continue to be important to building owners and operators for the foreseeable future. Create public and DDI policies that incentivize street-level retail and street animation (e.g., elimination of licensing fees for sidewalk cafes and awnings) or encourage modification of above/below grade retail to address the street (e.g., street level entrances). Develop public policies that discourage any expansion of the tunnel and sky bridge network, except under two specific conditions: o Property owners may construct a tunnel or sky bridge if they have existing fee simple ownership of below surface or air rights. o The city may allow additional tunnels or sky bridges if it determines that there are substantial and significant public safety or public welfare reasons to allow them. This should only be done after ample opportunity for public comment and a review of the potential effects on surrounding street-level retail uses and on the goal of creating vibrant streets.
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Prohibit the use of public or DDI funds to subsidize any wayfinding system for the tunnels and sky bridges. Support the use of private funds to increase wayfinding/accessibility from the network to the street level. Require regular city inspections of tunnels and sky bridges to ensure that private owners are adequately maintaining and that there are no unaddressed life safety issues.

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Appendix 1 Task Force Members Dr. Paul McCarthy, El Centro Community College, Chair Wade Andres, Andres Construction Kyle Burtnett, Tenet Healthcare Gregg Chilton, Cushman and Wakefield Jack Gosnell, UCR Larry Hamilton, Hamilton Properties Jeff Hinson, You+Media Noah Jeppson, Downtown Residents Council Suzan Kedron, Jackson Walker Aaron Nathan, Kimley Horn John Stenger, Hunton & Williams Sanders Thompson, Transwestern Resources John Crawford, Downtown Dallas, Inc. Jim Wood, Downtown Dallas, Inc.

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