Far North Dallas Suppressing People-First Developments in Oak Cliff

(An Oak Cliff open-air market which North Dallas reps seek to restrict)

As Oak Cliff slowly shakes off the decades of neglect due to car-first planning which saw the dismantling of our streetcar system, destruction of historic structures in favor of parking lots, the creation of wide one-way thoroufares through the heart of our residential neighborhoods, all of which only benefited the sprawling suburban areas of the city, it’s amazing to see efforts being put forth to stop homegrown grassroots efforts that are actually working. The latest afront is a plan put forth by city staff to regulate and limit the number of open air markets and community gardens in the area by creating a central regulatory body that would oversee the entire process. And why? To protect the Downtown Farmers Market, which has been ailing for years, and definitely deserves our support, but not at the detriment of our own community. The ripple effects here have the potential to end our amazing events like Bolsa’s monthly local farmers market, Make’s Urban Bazaar, Bishop Arts CliffFest, and the handful of new community gardens that are beginning to spring up. Point of fact, Bolsa’s market is responsible for launching new businesses in the area like Dude Sweet, Chocolate, while Make’s Urban Bazaar started off in the Downtown Farmers’ Market but left due to the heavy restrictions put in place by the city.

It’s notable that the councilmembers in favor of regulation are from far North Dallas, in areas that were built well after WWII with sprawling car-only infratructure with an emphasis on decentralization and separated zoning. These regulations do little to hurt their own communities, as they weren’t built with a townsquare/people-first form like Oak Cliff. Their districts also boast an abundance of organic grocery options like Whole Foods, SunFlowers, or are only miles from a Central Market. In the Cliff, these same stores bypass our community due to a lower percentage of college-graduates (which is the demographic most of these use when looking to develop a new store).

The groups organizing our grassroots markets are doing so because we are lacking in our area, and the service they provide is one that allows us and our families a necessary and enjoyable option where we can simply hop on a bicycle, ride a few blocks from home, and purchase fresh vegetables, honey, meats and poultry from local providers. This only hurts the close-in neighborhoods and not those living in Districts far from the city core who have a plethora of options. Can you imagine visiting a city like Florence, Paris, New York, or Austin and seeing city officials restrict open air markets? We’ve already suffered the damage of regulations that make it nearly impossible to open an outdoor cafe, a mixed-use building, or small retail establishment with limited parking…this is not how you rebuild a city.


  1. One of the main reasons that the Farmers Market is ailing (in my opinion) is that it is surrounded by unpleasant highways and parking lots. You can’t force people to love a place (Victory Park for example)…if a place feels nice, people will come…if it doesn’t it won’t. This proposal to boost the Farmers Market by putting restrictions on other markets sounds an awful lot like the strategy to boost DFW, by putting limits on Love Field. Many of these council members fought for years to lift most of the restrictions on Love Field, but now they are advocating for basiclly the same types of restrictions on community markets…bad, bad idea…

  2. There is a fundimental problem of Democracy there are more of them than there are of you.

    In the debate between safe streets Vs VC the VC have the cars on their side.

  3. Jason Stokes · ·

    I lived in the Coppell for a year for work. I went to the Dallas “farmer’s market” one time, and never went back. Palchik has it right, it’s surrounded by unpleasant highways and parking lots, and felt no more like a farmer’s market than the local Tom Thumb. It’s a shame that the powers that be would restrict new markets to save an ailing dump like that.

  4. […] from around the network: Bike Friendly Oak Cliff reports on misguided municipal efforts to stifle the Dallas neighborhood's burgeoning street […]

  5. Mr Christopher · ·

    I’ve read both this article and the Observer article it links to and I fail to see the relationship to Far North Dallas. As a long term resident of Far North Dallas I can assure you there is no community plan to supress anything in Oak Cliff. If our district 12 councilman has voted for or proposed something nutty I doubt 1% of the residents in district 12 know anything about it. I don’t see anything in either article that points to district 12 so I’m a bit stumped on the title of this article.

    True we have some quality grocery stores but they’re nestled between nothing but churches and strip malls and parking lots the size of Manhattan. I’ll gladly give up my neighborhood Central Market for some Oak Cliff charm.

    But again, there is no Far North Dallas conspiracy to supress anything in Oak Cliff. Please do a better job of framing the problem and the cause 🙂 Those of us who call Far North Dallas home are not the enemy.


  6. […] follow.  Until then, the Cox argument is smoke and mirrors. More from around the network: Bike Friendly Oak Cliff reports on misguided municipal efforts to stifle the Dallas neighborhood's burgeoning street […]

  7. I definitely see your point Chris, but the press notes that it was the representatives of North Dallas Districts 10 and 12 that promoted the idea of regulations, while District 1 and 14 were opposed. According to the DO article, those regulations only affect a 3 mile radius surrounding the Downtown Farmers Market, which is Oak Cliff, East Dallas, and Uptown (ie. the Urban Core neighborhoods). It’s alarming and I feel know different than if our Council Members began creating regulations that only affected Districts beyond Loop 12. I would hope there would be as much outcry from you and your constituents.

    Unfortunately, our area has often been over-regulated by restrictive zoning, infrastructure, and more that worked well beyond the Loop, but only damaged positive growth in our area.

  8. I do agree with you, though, that North Dallas as a whole is not the enemy, and would hope that all in those communities whose council members are attempting to create a series of regulations that affect us, write their reps and tell them that it’s bad form to heavily weigh in as an outsider. I’m not saying they don’t have a voice, but I do feel that Districts 10-13 should defer to those that are within the radius being applied.

  9. […] from around the network: Bike Friendly Oak Cliff reports on misguided municipal efforts to stifle the Dallas neighborhood's burgeoning street […]

  10. Mr Christopher · ·

    Trying to get the details on this from the Observer is a nightmare, which is not helping. Each Observer article tells you very little and then links to another equally unuseful and incomplete article, which links to yet another unhelpful and incomplete article. How many Dallas Observer articles does it take to get to the root issue?

    In this Observer article they claim “city council” is the enemy, and I’m inclined to agree with them:


    And stupid regulation is nothing new for our city. Not long ago it was proposed that giving money to a panhandler would become a crime, and who can forget the proposal to regulate how a teenager could wear his baggy jeans. I was born here and I’ve lived here a very long time. Dallas has a rich history of stupid.

    I am not advocating stupid, or excusing it, but my point is stupidity is not regional (i.e. Far North Dallas, East Dallas, Oak Cliff, et al). And stupid in this town has been around a very long time.

    So I think we should show caution and restraint when painting an entire region as a culprit of stupid. We’d be better served with articles that link to better specifics such as exactly who is proposing exactly what and how best to respond to the stupid they’re peddling. Otherwise it appears we’re simply ranting about Far North Dallas (bad)victimizing poor Oak Cliff (good) and I know that’s not the intent.

    On a side note we should vote on the dumbest ideas presented by our city council.

  11. […] follow.  Until then, the Cox argument is smoke and mirrors. More from around the network: Bike Friendly Oak Cliff reports on misguided municipal efforts to stifle the Dallas neighborhood's burgeoning street […]

  12. lee.watkins · ·

    sprawl can not exist without abundant parking spaces for motor vehicles. As parking spaces are removed everything else follows toward a bicycle and pedestrian-friendly urban model. Copenhagen removes thousands of parking spaces every year, in place of parking there is commercial, residential, and leisure economic activity – an overall gain for the local economy. Also protected bike tracks and sidewalk promenades, greenery, sidewalk cafes…

    The big ticket item is removing minimum parking requirements, all of them, this is critical. Also look at removing mimimum sizes, setbacks, etc. from the regulations, and anything that requires separation of uses (commercial, residential, etc.)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: