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A deadline is fast approaching for public comments on the proposed Trinity Parkway in Dallas.

This "parkway" that Dallas city government leaders and regional transportation entities want to build would be a $1.8 billion, six-lane, limited-access toll road in between the levees of the Trinity River floodway. Yes, that's right, they want to build a road down the length of a space that is designed to fill with water so other areas won't flood.

Flooded Trinity
They want to put a $1.8 billion road in the middle of this.
Background and an action item underneath the orange ornament....

There's a long, depressing trail of information about this ill-conceived idea, far too much for me to go into great detail here. The Dallas Observer, a Village Voice Media weekly, has covered it extensively: Trinity Parkway articles. I'll attempt a brief overview below.

A 1998 bond election set the stage for it all, when voters approved Proposition 11. Brochures promoting this bond proposal showed watercolor renderings of an idyllic park with sailboats and perhaps even solar-powered water taxis.

Pretty picture to sucker voters.
Once the bond passed, what the plan metastasized into was basically another Dallas North Tollway crammed next to the river along with a few park amenities beside it, all euphemistically referred to as the "Balanced Vision Plan." And any sort of park Dallasites thought they were voting for was now being held hostage to completion of a toll road that would never pay for itself because it didn't go where traffic wanted to go.

A 2007 referendum to remove the road from between the levees was scuttled by Orwellian ballot language and the resulting confusion it caused. A decent explanation of that mess can be found here.

In the intervening years, the levees were decertified, the road project that the "parkway" was claimed to provide relief for has been set aside and a scaled back project has taken its place, most of the 1998 bond money has been spent, and the cost of the "parkway" has increased to somewhere between $1.4 and $1.8 billion.

Fast forward to today and this zombie toll road still lives. In fact, the preferred alignment of the powers-that-be has been shifted away from the levee wall and further into the floodway (Alternative 3C, further modified). Meanwhile, other cities around the world scramble to remove roads that slice them in two and cut them off from their waterfronts.

ACTION ITEM:
Comments may be submitted by May 18 to the North Texas Tollway Authority and Texas Department of Transportation via email to trinityparkway@ntta.org to be included in the public record that they will forward to the Federal Highway Administration. FHWA will then make its determination on whether and where the road may be built. Please join me in taking a moment to send an email in opposition to this road and in support of Alternative 1: the No-Build Alternative.

Postscript: This is my first diary after a long time lurking and occasionally commenting. Please be kind with any suggestions for improvement. I am at work as I write this, so I may not be able to hang around and respond quickly to comments, but I will check back when I can.

Originally posted to OrangeMike on Wed May 16, 2012 at 09:30 AM PDT.

Also republished by Southern Action and TexKos-Messing with Texas with Nothing but Love for Texans.

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