All the Effort That Went Into Fighting a Dallas Highway Is About to Pay Off

The $1.5 billion Trinity Parkway, given the gauzy watercolor treatment. Image: Army Corps of Engineers via Dallas Morning News
The $1.5 billion Trinity Parkway, given the gauzy watercolor treatment. Image: Army Corps of Engineers via Dallas Morning News

For years, Dallas residents have waged a campaign against a plan to construct a nine-mile, six-lane toll road next to the downtown-adjacent Trinity River.

The Trinity Parkway, as it’s known, would cost $1.5 billion, further entrench car dependence, and ruin riverfront parkland and natural habitat. Regional transportation planners and Mayor Mike Rawlings have pushed for it, but local advocates pushed back. Now, after a sustained campaign that turned highways and transportation into a central issue in local elections, the political winds have shifted.

Robert Wilonsky at the Dallas Morning News reports that a majority on the City Council intends to kill the project once and for all:

But — and I can’t believe I’m typing this — the giant Trinity River toll road may be days away from its final demise. This is not another tease. This is real. Almost surreal. For years I’ve taken people down to the floodway and pointed to the earthen levees and said can you freaking believe how foolish this city is for wanting to build a massive highway next to a forever-promised park and a river that’s supposed to flood.

Yet some time next month, perhaps as early as Aug. 9, the Dallas City Council will finally vote on lopping off the noggin of the Trinity River toll road or the Trinity Parkway or the Underwater Zombie Tollroad or whatever you want to call that four-but-probably-six-lane, 9-mile slab of cement some folks have been wanting to plant along the river’s East Levee since forever. Looks like the new City Council, a majority of whom oppose a high-speed road in the Trinity, is prepared to do what its predecessors refused to do as recently as two years ago.

On Friday, five council members — Sandy Greyson, Scott Griggs, Philip Kingston, Adam Medrano and newcomer Kevin Felder — sent Mayor Mike Rawlings and City Manager T.C. Broadnax a memo demanding they put on the next available council agenda a resolution that would once and forever reject the only version of the toll road, the so-called Alternative 3C, to receive the feds’ blessings.

The next voting agenda is Aug. 9, but Rawlings — who said he “thought this would be coming, after the election and stuff” — told me Monday it may take a little longer. The city attorney’s office is drafting the resolution, which, he said, the five would then have to approve before it goes to a vote.

Kudos to the volunteers and advocates, including Patrick Kennedy, who annihilated the region’s case for the highway and built a political coalition around smarter ways to plan for growth. If Dallas can recognize the futility of adding highway lanes, other cities have no excuse for letting these boondoggles move forward.

More recommended reading today: Darin Givens at ThreadATL reports that almost none of the new housing being built in walkable, transit-accessible areas of Atlanta are affordable to low- and middle-income residents. And Alex Block says that in light of the D.C. Metro’s financial crunch, WMATA should consider selling off some of its money-losing parking lots.

  • The Milk Glut

    DFW is a giant cement octopus. The heat generated from the spaghetti mess of circular confusion creates giant heat domes which prevent large storms from providing needed rain to the areas. It does however often rain on weekends which makes the living even more unpleasant for the human population which is practically the only species still living in the area. New oil and gas wells in the area have created new noxious and poisonous gas emissions which match the existing pollution produced by vehicle travels. People are literally choking to death to get to work to put food on their families. Id rather die than live in DFW.

  • BlueFairlane

    Urban heat islands tend to increase precipitation, not decrease it. And it’s a long-term effect, with no difference between week days and week ends.

  • OxbowIncedent

    Maybe. But we have had a rainy summer in North Texas. I have personally watched hi-def radar bring raging storms from the north an west out of Ok &NM. There is a good 30-40% of them that break up as they approach DFW only to reform east and south. My unscientific belief is that you are correct, however, the areas just a few miles south and east of DFW reap the increased precip.

  • Eric5465456

    So, it’s bad when it doesn’t rain, and also bad when it rains? I love your attitude

  • Danodemo

    Alex Krieger of Cambridge, Mass, ie Harvard, is to blame for this fiasco. Dallas is his “secondary Big Dig” disaster. Mr. “I was for it before I was against it” costs Dallas billions. But don’t fret dear Dallas, Prof Krieger has cost Boston over 12 billion, Dallas is mere peanuts. Professor Tone-Deaf will never stop. He recently was commissioned to help Boston’s black community; and as a means to spotlight the area’s troubles, called it Boston’s “Black Hole” I kid you not.

  • bbetzen

    We must attend community meetings with Dallas City Council members not yet firmly and publicly against the Trinity Toll Road. We must ask those present who support the Trinity Toll Road Project to raise their hands. (Is there anywhere in Dallas where a majority of the room would raise their hands in support of the Trinity Toll Road? Video what happens and post it here.)

    Demand that the council person represent their constituents. The Dallas City Council vote needs to be unanimous against the Trinity Toll Road!

    Should a second question be asked as to how many only support developing the Trinity River Park?

  • Vooch

    Instead of a beautiful modern superhighway, the people of Munich have a wasteland along their riverfront. Its tragic that this city never had Robert Moses to improve this wasteland.

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