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Lowest Greenville Avenue Renovation
Jolynn Bennett, Pavestone LLC

The ADA-compliant pedestrian crosswalks combine standard and Arctex(TM) finished pavers in charcoal, terra cotta and three tones of green to duplicate the historical facades of nearby buildings (photo & inset).

After the Matilda Bridge curves off to the east, southbound drivers on Greenville Avenue in Dallas cross Mockingbird Lane, the separator between neighborhoods known as Upper and Lower Greenville. Further south is a two-block section past Belmont Avenue called ''Lowest'' Greenville. For locals, the distinction makes the difference in finding action on a weekend evening.

Greenville Avenue was an important road in Texas for the first half of the 20th century, serving the residential areas of East Dallas before the Central Expressway was built in the 1950s. Lower Greenville evolved into an entertainment district, with many bars, restaurants, unique stores and live music spots. However, with that popularity came parking and traffic issues, congestion, and escalating crime rates.

Paveston''s Classic Split concrete and Arctex(TM) finished pavers combine for visual interest in the Lowest Greenville Avenue streetscape.

In late 2010, the Dallas City Council announced a $1.3 million streetscaping project to cultivate a more pedestrian-friendly atmosphere and change the mix of restaurants and businesses. The two-block makeover called for wider sidewalks with more room for restaurant outdoor service, updated streetlamps, new trees, and bike racks to encourage auto-free travel. Widening the sidewalks also narrowed the street from four lanes to two and slowed vehicle traffic. The three-phase project also included the transition of the old Arcadia Theater site, destroyed by fire in 2006, into a chef-driven urban food trailer park.

''It was interesting to see the impact that the renovations of Lowest Greenville Avenue had on the neighborhood,'' said Michael Black, ASLA. Black is the project's landscape architect and designer, and a founder of Dallas-based firm la terra studio. ''Prior to the renovations, the area was experiencing a high crime rate, and unfortunately people had been killed during altercations in the street. Dallas officials made a decision to concentrate on a few blocks and make those blocks an example of what the whole district could be, if designed and constructed in a more pedestrian-friendly fashion.''

New design elements included adding ''rumble strips'' to the road to make drivers slow down in pedestrian areas. Pavestone's Classic Split 80mm 4x8 pavers, a split-face concrete paver for non-pedestrian applications, were installed, as the textural difference provids a warning for drivers. Laid in the preferred traffic lane herringbone pattern, the pavers give the look of a 1/4 to 1/2 inch mortar joint. Standard finish pavers completed the four-foot wide pedestrian portion of the crosswalks.

Dallas officials and the landscape architect had a vision of a pedestrian-friendly environment, with wider sidewalks and greater separation from vehicular traffic, and incorporated new site amenities including streetlamps, trees, and bike racks.

Split-face pavers are ''perfect to alert inattentive drivers, by causing vibration and audible rumbling,'' said Hector Garcia, contractor with Arlington's A&A Construction Company. Along with the Classic Split, Arctex(TM) Series pavers established tonal variety with a natural mineral aggregate finish.

''The paving creates a flow for pedestrians with two 'T-intersections' of split-face pavers in a pattern that resembles a mosaic facade of one of the adjacent historic buildings,'' said Black. ''We wanted to make a statement by using natural tone greens in varying saturations and textures that acknowledges the 'green' in Lowest Greenville.''

City leaders and neighborhood residents set out to revitalize a popular but troubled late night destination, culminating in a four-month, $1.3 million renovation of the two-block area..

Three tones of green pavers created a permanent delineation within the crosswalks, mixed with terracotta and charcoal colors to reflect the flavor of the district's architecture. ''The use of green with different shapes and finishes made this a unique project, because you don't have to be a designer, manufacturer or installer to appreciate it,'' Garcia said.

Construction lasted from August to December 2011, and Dallas officials are planning to extend renovations to the rest of Lower Greenville. Lowest Greenville remains a popular destination, and the refreshed neighborhood will provide entertainment for many weekends to come.

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August 17, 2019, 10:47 am PDT

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