Klyde Warren Park
Dallas, Texas
Project Owner: Woodall Rodgers Park Foundation
Designers: The Office of James Burnett; Thomas Phifer and Partners

Klyde Warren Park is a 5.2-acre (2 ha) deck park that caps the recessed Woodall Rodgers Freeway between Pearl and St. Paul streets in downtown Dallas. Serving as Dallas’s new town square, it has literally and figuratively bridged the gap dividing the city’s downtown Arts District from the burgeoning mixed-use neighborhoods to the north, reshaping the city and catalyzing economic development.

Built with a combination of public and private funds, the park features a flexible, pedestrian-oriented design that includes a 40,000-square-foot (3,700 sq m) great lawn, 15,000-square-foot (1,400 sq m) children’s park, 6,000-square foot (557 sq m) restaurant, 4,000-square-foot (370 sq m) reading room, 3,000-square-foot (280 sq m) dog park, 2,400-square-foot (223 sq m) performance pavilion, and a half-mile (0.8 km) of pedestrian streetscape improvements.

After ten years of planning, design, fundraising, and construction, Klyde Warren Park opened in fall 2012, attracting 40,000 people on its opening weekend; an estimated 1 million people visited during the park’s first year. Food trucks—originally planned as temporary food options while the restaurant was being built—are so popular that they have become a permanent feature, resulting in a slight redesign of perimeter paving to accommodate the crowds they draw. The pavilion at Klyde Warren Park has become the destination for outdoor concerts and other events. The children’s park, which is regularly full, is now being studied for expansion.

The project contributes to the sense of place that was lacking in the city’s core. The park incorporates most of the Dallas–Fort Worth Metroplex’s most recognizable museums and universities in its programming and places them in an environment featuring a palette of regionally appropriate trees, shrubs, and ornamental plantings, of which more than half are native to north Texas. In its first 15 months, the park was the site of about 1,055 programs and 46 large-scale special events. Attendance at adjacent cultural institutions in the Arts District has increased dramatically, and ridership on the trolley line that stops at the park has increased by 61 percent.

Construction of the park over an existing freeway has numerous environmental benefits, including the sequestration of an estimated 18,500 pounds (8,400 kg) of carbon annually, interception of 64,000 gallons (242,000 liters) of stormwater runoff, and a marked reduction in temperature, air pollution, and noise.