Dallas Builds Urban Park Over Recessed Freeway

By Mark R. Brown, AICP

Dallas has never been known for its urban parks nor as a model for downtown revitalization, but the city is now on the map in both categories due to Klyde Warren Park.

The most notable fact about the 5.2 acre park is that it was built above Woodal Rodgers Freeway, a below grade highway that divided Dallas’ Uptown neighborhood from downtown. Constructed between 2010 and 2012, the park contains playgrounds, dog parks, an outdoor performance stage, a new restaurant, and plenty of programmable space for outdoor activities. While the park has only been open a year, it has gotten rave reviews by local and national press, most notably for mitigating the negative effects of a major urban highway.

The park has also spurred new investment in nearby neighborhoods. Recent development proposals surrounding Klyde Warren Park include office towers, high rise apartments, and several major mixed use infill projects. Several development projects already in construction will add more foot traffic to the area, while the M line streetcar is also being extended nearby and will complete a loop alignment through Dallas’ Arts District. The park serves as a needed catalyst for revitalization of Dallas’ core neighborhoods in a region which has seen a disproportionate share of sprawl.