As we settle into fall, we think more about our community. Maybe its because we start spending more time outside, maybe it's because we get more Facebook invites that we aren't able to delete quickly enough. Whatever the reason, the fall makes us all the more likely to take a walk, ride a bike, or pack a picnic lunch during these times that the weather is cool enough to enjoy the outdoors without sweating through our picnic blanket. In doing so, we have the chance to notice the abundance of historic landmarks, small hidden businesses we never see from the main roads, spots where the sidewalks need repair and even small side streets that have become ideal places for photo ops. When we get away from the car we finally have a chance to really get to know Denton for who it (she?) really is, even in spite of her flaws - sometimes actually because of them.
If you were under the impression that the forthcoming Hickory St. improvements were a big deal - guess what! The floodplains are an even bigger deal. We know what you're thinking, "What?! Floodplains? What are these people talking about now? Who cares about something like a floodplain? Certainly not I, Johnny B. Dentonite. I only care about beard growth and quality tacquerias." Trust us though, its a big deal. Our city is reviewing the problem of the floodplains - areas adjacent to bodies of water that are subject to flash flooding during storms - and they're making sure that they are FEMA compliant, not only to ensure the safety of its citizens, but to protect the property of the city. The reason we are currently concerned is because there are areas that studies show will be in big trouble when flooding occurs. Not only do we care that Pecan Creek will be under completely submerged under water, but we also care that the way the floodplains in the downtown areas are currently functioning is preventing new development around the square and the A-Train. Yeah, you read that correctly, until these problems are addressed (and we're talking big expensive problems here), we'll have a lack of new businesses and stunted growth in one of the city's most thriving areas.
The downtown traffic safety report has been presented at the request of district 1 councilman Kevin Roden and the Denton Downtowners association. The biggest concerns that were asked to be addressed were pedestrian safety, red light violations, unsafe lane changes, and backing out without safety. The residents of downtown felt like more and more accidents were happening, and there were more near misses than they would have liked to see. The report started to address some of those concerns. Apparently 62% of the red light-related crashes involved the flashing red lights that come on at night. Therefore, there is a possibility that the city will be changing the times in which the flashing red lights turn on. They will also be cracking down on bicycle violations around the square. So if you're cycling on the square, make sure to use those hand signals, stop at the red lights, and walk your bike around the square sidewalks. The report is also causing concerns about the intersections where pedestrians are walking. Hopefully, this will result in making the crosswalks safer and more visible by painted stop blocks and maybe in the future outlawing cars turning left on red.
There is also a group of citizens who are trying to imagine the possibility of Walnut St becoming a pedestrian plaza. The street as it stands right now is a sort of service alley. It houses the dumpsters, services the grease traps, service entrances for wait staff/deliveries, and is lined with utility boxes. It's also a little bit of an eyesore. As for parking, there is parking allowed, but the lines aren't clear and neither are the signs that show where parking is and isn't allowed. So, it's become kind of the wild west for people who park back there. There is always trash on the ground from people littering, there is an untamed forest of grass and weeds growing through the cracks of the side walk and there are numerous potholes in the road. Apparently a few people think this alley way would be better used as a pedestrian plaza - with tables and umbrellas. They want to turn those aforementioned service entrances into a back entrance to serve patrons from or through. While this is a noble vision, there are several obstacles to overcome if there is any future permanent closing of the street to cars. In addition, there are several areas in other parts of town (away from the square) that could definitely benefit from a little TLC, too. Where would you guys like to see something like this go down? In the meantime, we would love to see that little street have a general make over, maybe some murals on the backs of buildings, taming of the weeds and a little more landscaping, and repainting the lines for parking in the back would improve the look of the side street exponentially.
Hypnotic Donuts and Cultivar Coffee are teaming up to bring us hand-crafted coffee, tasty donuts, and chicken biscuits. Even better, they're rumored to have hours that keep them open until 2am. Since we love the DFW native roast, we are pretty pumped that they are making a little home in downtown Denton. They'll be setting up shop on Hickory Street, right across from Gerhard's and next to Natalie's. A few citizens have commented that it seems woefully far from their favorite bar, and almost on the wrong side of the square, but we're pretty pumped that someone great will be re-energizing an oft-forgot block. Plus, we'll have one more place to grab caffeine and a tasty treat on our way to all of those meetings.
Canned Fest announced that its going to be 100% wind energy thanks to the help of Denton Municipal Electric being way awesome and donating the wind energy. Alongside DME coming in and helping out, the Keep Denton Beautiful team will be there making sure that your recyclables get to where they need to be. We're excited about Canned being Denton's first super green music and beer fest. Oh yeah! We're pretty excited about the beer selection too. Make sure to grab your tickets now. You won't want to miss a moment of one of our new favorite festivals.
That's it for us this month, y'all. We'll keep hitting up those meetings for ya, though. Let us know your thoughts in the comments.