I was about two-thirds into the DMN’s story about the Arboretum’s parking issues, which ran on Sunday’s front page, before fully understanding just how much land along Garland Road the Dallas Arboretum is purchasing, or hoping to purchase, to convert to parking lots.
The former Deaton’s Salon and Gifts. Arbor Trails, the gift shop next door selling home and garden decor. Nearby, a former auto repair shop and cheerleader supply store (Bob Handy’s and Cheers Etc., perhaps?). And the arboretum also is eying Walton’s Garden Center as well as a tree shop and an auto repair shop (which we’re assuming are Personal Touch Tree Service, and Ross and Greenville Automotive) on land controlled by the family of Jack Keller.
“Taken together, the properties known to be in play include nearly everything along Garland Road from Lakeland Drive to Tavaros Avenue,” the DMN story states.
The possibility of parking at Winfrey Point — either on the grass, or paving the land — wasn’t addressed in this article. (The Dallas Arboretum is saying on its website that the possibility of a parking lot at Winfrey Point is a “misconception.”) Arboretum president Mary Brinegar is quoted in the DMN story as saying of the Winfrey temporary parking plan, “We don’t want to be trouble for anyone. This seemed like a good answer at the time.” But Brinegar stresses that though “we can muddle through, if you will … we need serious help for our parking needs.”
The Dallas Morning News editorial board backed her in a recent editorial, saying initially, “Now that everyone agrees that grasslands by White Rock Lake are not being paved over to accommodate surging crowds — yes, what apparently was never officially on the table is officially off for now — let’s try to put the matter in some perspective.”
And then a few paragraphs later, “There are more than 300 acres of grassland around the lake, and it is unreasonable to expect every blade to be protected in perpetuity given the urban nature of this public park. The arboretum’s needs are significant, and addressing them is a priority — it is, after all, one of the city’s jewels.”
(Jim Schutze, who focused his Observer column last week on the showdown at Winfrey Point, used some choice language when he took umbrage at the DMN for this editorial.)
The DMN story also noted plans the future parking garage across the street from the children’s garden, which could hold between 700-850 spots. It would cost between $15 and $20 million, and the city hopes to pay for it with “bonds repaid by revenue the arboretum collects for charging people to park.”
So a parking garage, and parking lots along Garland Road from Lakeland to Tavaros … how much parking does the Arboretum need? Though the arboretum’s “misconceptions vs. facts” statement calls the lack of parking “the real issue,” it doesn’t supply numbers in terms of exactly how much. The DMN article states that right now, the Arboretum has only 675 spaces but needs 2,000 on busy weekends, and the editorial states that projected attendance for 2012 is 1 million, a number that increases to 1.8 million by 2016.
The Garland Road Vision Advisory Committee wanted to get rid of ” ‘fatigued’ buildings, unprofessional signage and graffiti” and wanted “uniformity in the buildings and businesses.” Perhaps a long stretch of parking lot is one way to accomplish that.
And perhaps neighborhoods around the arboretum would be more amenable to parking lots on Garland Road rather than in White Rock Lake Park?