Dallas Plans to Deck Over a Highway — With a Parking Garage

Dallas' vision for highway lid topped with a parking garage. Image: Woodall Rodgers Deck Park Foundation
Dallas’ vision for highway lid topped with a parking garage. Image: Woodall Rodgers Deck Park Foundation

“The most Dallas thing ever.” That’s how Robert Wilonsky at The Dallas Morning News described a new plan to build a parking garage over a highway in the Big D.

The project adds an ironic twist to what has been, until now, a civic success story. Klyde Warren Park is a beloved five-acre space that sits on a lid on top of the Woodall Rogers Freeway. The new project, proposed by the Woodall Rogers Deck Park Foundation, would extend the deck with new public spaces and, on the northeast side, a bar and restaurant, offices for the park, and a parking garage with 70 to 90 spaces.

As you can see in the rendering, there is no lack of parking nearby. So why build more car storage on top of the highway?

Jody Grant of the Woodall Rogers Deck Park Foundation told Wilonsky that the garage would generate revenue needed to make the whole plan pencil out. The group is also counting on $40 million in public bonding to help pay for the $90 million project.

Even if you take Grant’s scenario at face value and assume this garage won’t be a money loser, it’s a sad commentary on the state of financing civic projects. Highway decks are supposed to heal the damage caused by urban car infrastructure. Can’t Dallas come up with a way to pay for this one without causing more damage by building new car infrastructure?

  • Mark Dowling

    I’d be fine with it if it meant one of the adjacent lots got developed with something bigger than a highway deck could support…

  • Keith Lamb

    Ok, educate me on the problem with this. In general parking garages are more ped friendly to walk by than surface lots which are more ped friendly than highway trenches. While I won’t ever cheer for a garage, if it’s going to be built, I’d rather see it placed on land that would otherwise be expensive and/or difficult to develop because of noise and pollution. Plus, if you add parking here, it may reduce demand for parking in the surface lots surrounding it, leading to development of those lots. I wish we didn’t need parking in downtowns, but till that happens, isn’t moving it to less desirable and developable lots a net positive?

  • Combin8tion

    To the authors, how would you suggest that Dallas pay for this? What creative ideas do you bring to the discussion? I’m truly interested.

    If you’ve been following the civic financial news for the past 5 years you know that government budgets have been busted by golden union pension benefits and the needs of aging infrastructure. There is no money in civic coffers for these “pretty” projects. If parking helps pay for it great. As time passes the pension obligations will eat more of civic budgets and even fewer services much less nice-to-have projects will be funded.

  • ardecila

    Agreed, if the end result will look like the renderings, I will consider it a success. Ultimately this provides additional green space and what looks like active, engaging retail space in the building.

    Chicago’s Millennium Park wasn’t a “failure” because it replaced a surface parking lot with underground parking. The top level is a massively popular public park.

  • Bob Dobbins

    If a parking garage could generate 50 million in income, there would be a lot more parking garages. Well, maybe if it is an authentic Italian Designer Signature Parking Garage. And how is the Arboretum going to keep pace with this weaponized escalation of parking facilities?

  • John Wayne

    Maybe something that pays property taxes? Say, maybe a building or two with things called businesses on the ground floor and offices or apartments above. Something that actually makes you want to cross the bridge? We build these caps so highway bridges don’t feel like a rape zone and to reclaim land for the downtown.

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