Downtown Arlington has got the goods. Downtown businesses are second-to-none, UT Arlington is flourishing with record-breaking enrollment, and the Cultural District partners are creatively prolific. Today’s success was years in the making, just as the groundwork for tomorrow’s success is being laid today. In particular, one shining example runs right through the literal heart of Downtown: the reimagining of Abram Street.
A dream for Downtown
For decades, city and community champions such as Gene Patrick, Jerry Jordan, Tom Cravens, Lana Wolff, and many others had a vision for the American Dream City. They envisioned a vibrant historic core within the City of Arlington, full of entrepreneurial spirit and creative, intellectual and cultural activity. Through an inclusive process that yielded thorough planning documents to guide the way, new ways of thinking and partnerships were developed, including the Downtown Arlington Management Corporation (DAMC) and its Strategic Action Plan.
All roads lead to Abram
The Downtown partners understood that a more business, destination and pedestrian friendly environment would leverage connections between the University of Texas at Arlington -- located in the heart of the Downtown District -- and the Entertainment District just to the north. Abram Street became the backbone of the revitalization, necessitating its transformation from Downtown pass-through to pipeline.
Today, we can see powerful examples of how the vision and the plan for Downtown have been working in consort: the relocation of FM 157 from Abram to Division Street; the creation of powerful north-south connections from the Entertainment District as a result of the Three Bridges Project; the strategic location of the Levitt Pavilion on Abram; and the reimagining of the new Central Library – including a public plaza – and its adjacency to the Levitt and the new 101 Center mixed use development.
“Downtown Arlington has all the pieces of the puzzle,” said Aldo Fritz, President and CEO of DAMC. “A major focus of our work now is to connect those pieces together.”
Now it’s time to focus on Abram Street itself. Thanks to the citizens of Arlington, a redesign and rebuild of Abram St. from Cooper to Collins Streets was approved as a part of the 2008 bond election. The details of the redesign were informed by a series of public meetings held in 2014. Construction will begin in 2018 and be completed in 2020.
Driven by the benefits of a more pedestrian-oriented downtown -- such as improving health and safety, developing a sense of place and boosting the downtown economy -- the project includes franchised utility relocation, drainage correction, LED street lighting, safer on-street parking, and many streetscape and pedestrian friendly amenities such as shade trees and benches.
“The Abram Street reconstruction from Cooper to Collins will improve mobility throughout the rapidly redeveloping district, including new developments in the area,” said Arlington City Council member Lana Wolff. “These infrastructure improvements can last into the future for decades to come.”
“Re-envisioning Abram Street will serve as a catalyst for continuous development in Downtown Arlington,” said Fritz. “It shows vision, effort and commitment by our City leaders and will help bring everyone together by creating cohesion between our commercial, educational, residential and cultural entities.”
Tune in to #myAbram
From the first day of construction on Abram Street, the City of Arlington and DAMC will coordinate efforts to accommodate and communicate with those who visit, live, work and study in Downtown Arlington. The City will provide and maintain all temporary signage for businesses and downtown streets and provide regular updates through its Newsroom, while DAMC is repurposing its 2014 myAbram campaign to serve as a one-stop shop for information throughout the duration of the project.
“During this era of transformation, Downtown businesses, municipal and county government offices, UTA, Cultural District partners, and neighborhoods will be accessible during the reconstruction,” said Council member Wolff. “I really encourage folks to continue to support our Downtown community and be patient during this time.”
News and construction updates
Use myAbram.com and #myAbram on social media for the latest information about Abram St. traffic routing, temporary parking, construction milestones, partner news and events. Throughout the Abram St. Redevelopment Project, contact the City of Arlington Public Works and Transportation department or DAMC with questions, concerns and feedback.
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About Downtown Arlington
An official State of Texas Cultural District, Downtown Arlington, Texas blends a unique mix of activities, sights, tastes and sounds that attract visitors and locals alike. Within its less than a two-mile radius, Downtown is home to a top tier public research university, prolific fine and performing artists and arts institutions, live entertainment, exciting NCAA and professional athletics, one-of-a-kind dining and retail, and a supportive business climate. Downtown Arlington brings together a plethora of cultures and inspirations with a character all its own.