AIA Dallas All But Abandons Support of Proposed Trinity Tollway

Trinity Tollway Rendering NTTA

Drawing: NTTA

So, who is still carrying banners for the Trinity Tollway? Looks like the numbers are getting pretty thin, and now Dallas’ most influential architecture organization, the American Institute of Architects — Dallas has pulled their support for the road planned between the levees of the Trinity River.

From the press release:

AIA Dallas is unable to endorse the Trinity Tollroad Alternative 3C Proposal without a better understanding of how the major elements of the Balanced Vision Plan will be incorporated into the design of the parkway.

“AIA Dallas is encouraged by the focus on connectivity that is emerging throughout Dallas and the on-going growth occurring in so many different communities as a direct result of thoughtful design,” stated AIA Dallas Executive Director Jan Blackmon. “We believe that infrastructure planning in Dallas should continue to focus not just on sound engineering, but also on how the overall design of each project fits into a larger plan for the city and the neighborhoods within it.”

AIA Dallas has been engaged in the Trinity River Corridor planning process since the late 1990’s. As architects and design professionals, AIA Dallas is focused on how a thoughtfully-designed infrastructure can enhance the environment within communities and help revitalize and connect parts of Dallas. The Balanced Vision Plan, developed by an eminent team of urban designers and transportation consultants with input from numerous governmental, civic, and professional organizations, was adopted by the Dallas City Council in 2003. The plan features a comprehensive and balanced approach to the five major elements of this project – Flood Protection, Recreation, Transportation, Environmental Restoration, and Economic Development.

“AIA Dallas considers a wide variety of components including the environmental impact and connectivity on the surrounding areas when evaluating a project. We believe that in order for Dallas to continue to embrace increased density and urban growth, as well as encourage the revitalization of areas like West Dallas, we must include all of these elements when planning a major project such as the Trinity Parkway,” said Blackmon. “At this time, we cannot endorse the Trinity Parkway Alternative 3C proposal until we understand how it will incorporate these essential elements.”

That’s pretty big change from their stance in 2001, where they recognized a “need for transportation improvements to allow Dallas to meet its mobility needs in the 21st Century,” according to AIA Dallas’ 2001 Trinity Policy. “However, AIA finds that the currently proposed high-speed, limited access tollway is inherently incompatible with the other goals of the Trinity River Corridor Project.”

So, do you still think this tollway will happen? What if the folks behind “A New Dallas” are successful in tearing down Interstate 345 and more people feel that another high-speed, north-south thoroughfare is necessary?

I understand that this was discussed quite a bit at CONFAB 2014 last night, where several movers and shakers presented their visions for Dallas’ open space. Did you go to CONFAB? What was your takeaway?



4 Comment

  • I went to Confab and loved the atmosphere of fun, irreverent and sometimes awkward moments (like the presentation on the bathrooms). My biggest takeaway is that Dallas leadership is starting to turn against the toll road, with a small minority still in favor of it. Speaker Gail Thomas compared the Trinity to a knitted sweater that would unravel without the toll road, which was odd. Still loved being there and showing support for our parks.

  • I didnt go to CONFAB, but wish I had.

    In short – I think Ms Thomas (whom Ive meet and think is a nice enough person) and others that support the Tollroad still are all paid off by bigger money developement.
    The questions been asked a zillion times – why a Tollroad (that will surely cost $10+ each way and probably more by the time its funded and built) going from SE Irving to SE Dallas? WHo owns land to the NW and the SE of the metroplex – cause the residents of these areas sure cant make this boondoggle viable.
    Those people dont seem to see the better that can come from not throwing freeways and giant parking lot / big box retailers ( ie Sams Club / Trammel Crow Co’s East Village((SIC)) everywhere.

    Lets look to the greatest cities on the planet (Paris, London, Vancouver) and see what they have, what they have done, and dont have or havent done – and then try to shape Dallas to become that, instead of sinking to the “Oh-its A’Merica-and-we-cant-live-without-our-cars-mentality”

  • It’s not an either/or decision but I would happily trade the Trinity Tollway for the I-345 tearout. Sadly, the Trinity is already permanently cut off from the side of the city east of it by I-35. But I-345’s removal unlocks a huge area spreading out east of downtown, giving the city a chance to restore the smartly planned street grid on which it was founded.

    Not an either/or though of course. Both the Trinity Tollroad and I-345 need to go.