Kicking Off Richardson, Texas's Innovation District
The 1,200-acre area, generally bounded by Central Expressway, Campbell Road, Plano Road, and Apollo Road, was identified as an opportunity zone in the City of Richardson’s Comprehensive Plan recommendations in 2009. Since then, the city has conducted a Vision Study that sought input from a series of community meetings, pop-up workshops, and other engagements to lay the groundwork for the transformation. Ultimately, Richardson has developed a vision for the District to be “the premier tech hub in Texas,” according to the city’s Development Services.
To achieve this vision, the Richardson is focusing on creating a district that can attract new businesses and support existing ones in a space that is aesthetically unique, walkable/bikeable, and full of greenery as summarized in the Collins/Arapaho TOD & Innovation District Study. To kick off the rezoning of the Collins/Arapaho Transit-Oriented Development and Innovation District, Richardson brought in the Better Block in a Box to revitalize a warehouse district.
We wanted to focus on creating a space of leisure that took full advantage of the site’s natural assets, starting with the creek that runs between the back of the buildings. We placed café seating under umbrellas along the creek, adorned by potted plants and small red oaks for shade, and further energized the area with fun elements such as colorful murals around the building and bright yellow hammocks to lounge in near the creek.
To connect the neighboring offices, we took an afternoon and built bridges across the stream. Then we watched people trickle across them during their lunch break into the newly activated space. They carried lunches from the food trucks parked along the building to lounge in café seats along the creek or sat near the live band on the Wikiblock tables from our new Better Block in a Box. During the event, many of these local stakeholders participated in demonstrations and gave feedback to the city planners on their thoughts about what the Innovation District can become.
Our second phase began August 24th, our team set out with our shiny new paint striper, fourteen five-gallon buckets of paint, and the ambition to create a total of four miles of semi-temporary bike lanes. We marked lane lengths and laid stripes with Bike Friendly Richardson volunteers and city planners who were able to watch their designs come to life through their own hands. Together, we painted two miles of bike lanes on either side of Greenville Avenue between Jackson Street and Campbell Road, complete with green shared lane blocks, bike stencils, and a colorful crosswalk connecting the train to the Arapaho Center Station.
Per the request of the City of Richardson, feedback has already been rushing in on what works and what doesn’t with the new bike lanes. Opinions and experiences are invaluable and will guide the city in what needs to be done for its permanent bike lanes. We’re thrilled that our project has helped pave the way for longterm, well-functioning bike lanes that make sense for Richardson’s cyclists and drivers alike.