University Park Looks to Improve Miracle Mile

Bianca Tuma dresses up a mannequin in some new spring fashions at Elements on Lovers Lane. (Photo: Chris McGathey)

Bianca Tuma dresses up a mannequin in some spring fashions at Elements on Lovers Lane. (Photo: Chris McGathey)

Editor’s note: This story also appears in the March edition of Park Cities People.

The Miracle Mile stretch of Lovers Lane once was among the trendiest hubs for luxury shopping in Dallas. These days, while its collection of specialty shops continues to draw customers, its look has become more eyesore than eye candy.

So count Connie Sigel among the proprietors who are happy the city of University Park is going through the preliminary steps of a renovation project for the area that could help it reclaim some of its past glory.

“The curbs are in disrepair. It’s been on the backburner for so long,” said Sigel, who owns the clothing boutique Elements. “There’s a heritage there that needs to be preserved.”

The city has the money in its budget during the next two years for a project that has been discussed several times before. Now it finally seems to be gaining traction, with an engineering firm hired to begin a conceptual design and traffic consultants also on board.

Among the points of emphasis are replacing the pavement on Lovers between Dallas North Tollway and Douglas Drive, as well as widening the medians to possibly include landscaping and decorative lighting.

One idea under consideration is to replace the current head-in parking with more traditional parking spaces that are perpendicular to the buildings. That proposal would likely reduce the total number of parking spaces by about 10 over a four-block area.

“I know there’s not enough parking out there anyway, but in order to accommodate fire lanes and such, I think this is a good thing,” said Bud Smallwood, University Park public works director. “I don’t think leaving the parking the way it is, is in the city’s best interest.”

Traffic also will be studied carefully in a stretch that not only deals with pervasive congestion, but has seen 31 accidents in the past three years.

“We’re trying to look at the most efficient way to handle traffic. There are some changes that are being suggested with these medians,” Smallwood said. “We want to make sure to do something that can improve traffic and traffic safety.”

While there is no official timetable yet for the project, he said construction could begin as soon as early 2015.

In the meantime, Smallwood said the city plans to consult with business owners to get input on the project. He said splitting construction into multiple phases could help to minimize inconvenience to merchants.

“Getting this built, as with any project next to a commercial area, it’s gonna be pretty tough on those folks to maintain their customer base. That’s my biggest concern,” Smallwood said. “But the street really does need to be replaced. When we do it, we want to do it right.”

Sigel, whose business has been at its current location since 1989, said she hopes the bulk of construction will take place during the summer months, when business in the area is generally slower.

“I think it’s long overdue,” Sigel said. “It could use an upgrade.”

By Todd Jorgenson Mar. 9, 2014 | 6:45 am | 7 Comments | Comments RSS
7 comments to "University Park Looks to Improve Miracle Mile"
  1. Nearby resident @ March 10, 2014 at 9:55 pm
    Great!! We area homeowners not only have the Douglas Ave project to deal with but now this??!!

    I guess it’s good to get this project started sooner rather than later and just live through the continuous pain instead of taking a pause between projects. Lord knows Lovers needs a makeover.

    Don’t tell me you should be aware this could happen because you bought a home in the area…because I did know and still glad to live in the area. Just wish the city would finish Douglas south of Lovers. It’s like driving on a west Texas dirt road.

  2. Douglas Ave. Project Nightmare @ March 11, 2014 at 9:40 am
    @ Nearby resident:

    So true about Douglas Ave.. UP erects signs (‘Road Closed’) at entrance to Douglas from Lovers yet cars still enter. UP Police do nothing. Also, I’m tired of the mess and trucks at that entrance created by the utility construction. Hopefully, the Miracle Mile construction will be better managed. I’m sure they will enjoy the upcoming dust clouds.

  3. parkie nick @ March 11, 2014 at 12:30 pm
    @Douglas Ave. Project Nightmare – UP Police do nothing? Really? What are they supposed to do, post an officer 24/7 just to keep someone from getting their car dirty??? Why don’t you try calling and reporting this activity when it’s happening. People always want the baby without the childbirth. News flash – to repair roads and other city infrastructure, you have to make SOME dust!

  4. HP75 @ March 12, 2014 at 10:28 am
    parkie nick- Don’t be dickish about it.

  5. Douglas Ave. Project Nightmare @ March 13, 2014 at 6:30 pm
    @ parkie nick:

    You made incorrect assumptions about my comments. Fact: I alerted the police about the problem and they have done nothing about traffic entering Douglas from Lovers. As far as the dust is concerned, not once have they used a hose to control the dust. They flood the streets with water but they can’t seem to spray the air when there is a massive dust cloud rolling down Douglas.

    I forgot to mention that I’m also looking forward to the repaving of Douglas along HPHS because right now the patch job is so bumpy that I have to wear a mouth guard to protect my chattering teeth. That temporary surface is pathetic.

    BTW, I agree with HP75′s comment about you – you must be employed by UP otherwise you could empathize with my complaints.

  6. parkie nick @ March 14, 2014 at 10:17 am
    @Douglas Ave. Project Nightmare @HP75 If I came off as “dickish” I do apologise. That was not my intention. I do not work for UP, I live here. I have gone through road construction. I have gone through utility work. I know its annoying, however you blame the city fir the rough road and complain. Then you complain while it’s being repaired. And seriously, if they are already spraying water fir the dust, what else can they do? For the enforcement of the road closed warning, again, should they really waste an officer just to sit there and try and keep people from getting their car dirty? It only hurts the ones driving through that area, it doesn’t hurt you. Im over in the north east side, and I don’t want my tax dollars spent just watching a closed road verses responding to some of the suspicious people and cars than come through my area. It just gets old reading and hearing all of these complaints where no one can win. It’s a waste of time.

  7. ME @ March 19, 2014 at 9:21 am
    The southbound lane at Douglas and Lovers was unblocked a few weeks ago. I took this to mean that it is open to neighborhood traffic. If you have kids at the high school, this was a great gift! If you are upset about cars entering and exiting there, it makes more sense to request they block it off again, not post an officer 24/7. I have lived right off Douglas for 22 years and I can’t remember any road construction being this disruptive. To me, it’s worse than when Lovers was closed for 2 years for construction!

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