Geez. Took Long Enough- NOW the Trinity Toll Road Viewed as a MISTAKESomervell County Salon-Glen Rose, Rainbow, Nemo, Glass....Texas


Geez. Took Long Enough- NOW the Trinity Toll Road Viewed as a MISTAKE

18 September 2014 at 2:43:22 PM

I have to admit, when I first read about Dallas going to build a toll road BY THE TRINITY RIVER through a park, I wondered who the fool was profiting from that one? I mean, the Trinity FLOODS!  When I first wrote about it in 2007, there already was opposition but presumably the fat cats rode right through that. 

Unfair Park wrote about one of the guys touting the Trinity Toll Road before and how all of a sudden now, he's mea culpa.


Architect Bob Meckfessell, who was a prominent spear-carrier for the pro toll road camp during the 2007 referendum, has changed his mind. He told Rogers before the meeting that he's now against the road. The minute Rogers heard that, it was time for him to leave and file his story, which he did partially. He left and went to a bar. In my book that's an honest 50 percent.

In the piece he filed eventually, Rogers did go into florid detail about the kind of spiritual and physical abuse to which publications subject journalists by forcing them cover events like last Thursday night's Trinity toll road forum. You have no idea, do you? These events are cleverly engineered by fiendish brain scientists to cause violent boredom, aneurysm and death in people who attend one too many of them. I thought Rogers did a brilliant job capturing the agony of it, the way they have dozens of people from Cup-Halff-Full Engineering standing at a microphone in a dank cavern humming incomprehensible engineering gibberish until everyone in the audience starts drooling and then falls over dead.

And Dallas fantastically bad behavior

I'm not offering this as a conspiracy so much as a culture. The Trinity River project, which is really the toll road project, is a cancer that drains off resources from every other area of municipal responsibility, almost always without any acknowledgment or transparent accounting by city staff.

It's how they roll. Eight years ago former city council member Mitchell Rasansky told his constituents he had caught the staff handing off $160 million to the Trinity without admitting that's where the money was going. I wound up having a big interview about it with Suhm, Jordan, Rebecca Dugger who was Jordan's right hand on the Trinity, and former Mayor Laura Miller. Dugger came up with the city's defense. She said it wasn't $160 million. It was only $73 million.

Oh, well damn, only $73 million? That's all you took the voters for? You only pumped $73 million more in unacknowledged funding into the damned stupid bottom-of-the-bathtub truck route without telling voters? That time? That was eight years ago, and God only knows how much more money has been siphoned from bond programs that nobody caught, in a city with a staggering burden of capital needs and deferred maintenance.

And it's not just the cash. The egregious treatment of the community around the horse park and ritzy golf course being developed on city land in Southern Dallas flows from a kind of attitude: it's an attitude that says what we do is so important, so over the heads and comprehension of the common voter that it makes us that important, too -- too important to tell anybody what we're up to, too important to worry.

And here's from today

The TxPIRG report nods to these but zooms out to put the project in a broader context, arguing that the toll road is one of many examples of U.S. transportation planners failing to come to grips with a fundamental shift in American driving habits and the inadequacy of building new roads to address transportation needs.

The number of miles driven by the average American plateaued in the mid-2000s and has since declined slightly. This isn't just a blip, TxPIRG argues. Baby boomers are aging out of the workforce and thus are driving less. More people are riding bikes and walking and taking public transit (although not necessarily in Dallas). Millennials are more likely to shun driving as a lifestyle choice.

And yet projects like the Trinity Toll Road show that transportation planners remain locked in the paradigm of the past half-century's driving boom, in which Americans were driving more and more every year and the solution was to build more and more roads. The new roads have encouraged even more driving and promoted development on the city's increasingly distant fringe.

What's interesting here is the comment about how Americans are driving less. 


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