Published by Taly
Posted on June 4, 2013
You can access the Cedars neighborhood traveling south from downtown Dallas using five streets: Harwood, St. Paul, Akard, Griffin, and Lamar. Each street crosses Interstate-30 with a standard Texas highway overpass. The freeway, once part of the Cedars, is now a barrier clearly defining a neighborhood that until one hundred years ago served as stepping-stone from the city’s business to its bed and living rooms.
It is little different from the freeway ring’s separation of downtown from the Oak Lawn area or East Dallas neighborhoods. Except in this case cavalier zoning changes allowing indiscriminate use of the Cedars land, sending this district into a spiral of decline. The 1960s construction of the R. L. Thornton below-grade freeway, plus introduction of cumulative Heavy Commercial zoning almost ceded the area to a perpetual throwaway condition. Large Victorian homes and cottages, many built before 1900, gave way to quickly constructed apartments. Pleasing nineteenth and early twentieth century commercial buildings on main thoroughfares were either abandoned, used for industrial purposes, or became less than elegant nightclubs and bars. Heavy industrial districts to the east, south, and west encroached with industrial service firms, with related trucking and distribution facilities. The Interstate-30 freeway canyon cast a final indig-nity at the Cedars by prompting government to close the below-grade highway to all hazardous cargos and redirected those loads through the Cedars.
The Cedars has recently experienced the beginnings of an urban transformation. The Cedars went from a “so called” transitional neighborhood to “one of the new hot spots to live in Dallas”, says the Dallas Observer. It is also one of the safest areas in Dallas based on city crime statistics.
We figured once the significant neighborhood issues and concerns were addressed, The Cedars would be one of the most amazing, untapped areas in the city. The Cedars is literally downtown’s “front yard”. All we had to do was to “clean up the yard a bit”. We want The Cedars to maintain its’ charming character while becoming a phenomenal place to live, work and play. We will never stop being positive neighborhood activists, but we are now ready to present The Cedars to the rest of Dallas.