Could the Trinity River be the Site of a Sea Change in Dallas Public Opinion?

Let's just say that this rendering of the Trinity Tollway is never, ever going to happen. It's going to be bigger, uglier, and it's going to need more elevated feeders. One of those, the Jefferson Memorial , might completely cut off West Dallas from North Oak Cliff.

“This thing has been nothing but a sales job based on some watercolors. Fancy watercolors. It’s time now to just kill this road and get on with business.” — District 1 Dallas City Council Member Scott Griggs

The Dallas Chapter of the American Institute of Architects has formally come out against the Trinity Toll Roadas it is now designed. The organization issued this statement earlier this week, just a few months after screening the 1967 documentary The Walls Are Rising, which was a critique on the hodge-podge planning and zoning the city sowed during it’s building boom at the mid-century mark. We are certainly reaping that lack of planning now, especially as the Trinity Tollway has become the yardstick against which politicians are being measured.

So it was heartening to read this from AIA Dallas:

AIA Dallas supports a great Trinity Park as essential to the future health and prosperity of Dallas. Any highway similar to the Trinity Toll Road will divide our city and destroy the park’s unique potential and its recreational, economic, and environmental benefits. We oppose the Trinity Toll Road; it is an outdated approach from the past and will not solve the current or future mobility needs of our region.

It turns out that, many of the Millennial residents of Dallas agree with this statement. They also want to tear down I 345 and other elevated interstate highways that have become a costly burden to maintain and an eyesore to our urban areas.

And while I’m sure that this statement, as well as the extended list of policy remarks from AIA Dallas, got a long, loud applause from the Dallas Green Alliance and the Coalition for A New Dallas, the tirade from District 1 Dallas City Council member Scott Griggs in response to a pro-Trinity Toll Road comment from Rick Callahan’s park board appointee surely got a rowdy standing ovation.

“This is the worst boondoggle imaginable, and it’s time to get serious about developing southern Dallas, think of what we can do with this money and the opportunity cost,” he said. “This thing has been nothing but a sales job based on some watercolors. Fancy watercolors. It’s time now to just kill this road and get on with business.”

Could this be the momentum that finally kills the Trinity Toll Road?

It will be fascinating to watch this all play out in this year’s city council elections, as the Dallas Green Alliance has put the question to every candidate in every district: “Do you support the construction of the Trinity Toll Road in any way, shape or form?” You can see their responses on the alliance’s website.

What do you think? Is this a boondoggle that could hurt real estate values in areas surrounding the Trinity River? And will we ever get that park we were promised?

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