A Turnpike for Pedestrians

Posted · 2 Comments
Woman walking through turnstile

There has been a long history of turnpikes and toll roads in the DFW Metroplex; road construction costs assure us that there will be more to come (even¬†controversially). Normally constructed for auto traffic, downtown Dallas once contained the nation’s shortest turnpike… for pedestrians.

Woman walking through turnstile

"Norton's Turnpike" took advantage of pedestrian walkways in downtown Dallas

Located between busy Elm and Pacific Streets, a small parking lot became a popular shortcut for pedestrians walking to downtown destinations. Despite 12 years of “no pedestrian passage” and “customers only” signs, the route was so heavily trafficked that it prevented cars from being parked in the lot. In 1956 owner Elbert Norton had an idea: open a pedestrian-only parkway and charge customers a nickel for each use. Almost 100 people an hour used the walkway on the first day; the short-lived “Norton’s Turnpike” became a unique feature of downtown Dallas on the move.

2 Responses to "A Turnpike for Pedestrians"
  1. Jorge Esteban says:

    This is why it made perfect sense to plan for a future of pedestrian tunnels and skywalks.

    • Noah Jeppson says:

      You raise a good point; downtown congestion was a serious issue during this time period, and planners only envisioned it getting worse. This resulted in a plan that called for the creation of separate levels for transportation modes: pedestrian, vehicle, transit and freight.

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