By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
I love it. You hit 'em where it hurts, and based on George Rodrigue's column, they are screaming bloody murder. A few more columns like this ("Gunfight at the Trinity," by Jim Schutze, October 18) and we should be able to stop this bloody wound being slashed through the heart of our city. We want our park, not a highway. In spite of what The Dallas Morning News and its vested interests say, we voted for a park, and dammit, a park we are going to get. Hooray—I never felt Belo would ever take the Dallas Observer seriously. Mark this day down on your calendar as the day a line was crossed, and the newspaper war began in earnest.
Brian King, via dallasobserver.com
I think what Ms. Hunt (she's my council rep) has achieved is a lesson in political organization and fortitude. I truly commend her for that. What she doesn't talk about and what Schutze doesn't discuss is exactly what is going to go on in the park. What are the amenities? I mean in addition to a 60- and 80-acre lake (compare Bachman at 205 and White Rock at 1,015) and a water course. Since it is a floodway, other than walking and jogging trails and meadowland (the 22-field soccer complex will be built upstream), not too much else can happen. In the Vote Yes mailing piece I just received, there is a photo of the river up from levee to levee. That's what the park will look like at such a time—totally under water. The statistics I have read estimate the downtown park area at 2,000 acres and the toll road using 76 of these. It's hard for me to understand what we're giving up.
Tucker Willis, via dallasobserver.com
This is quite possibly the most interesting and transparent article written about the Trinity River project. I'm voting "Yes," of course, and I'll be sure to tell my friends and family in Dallas to go and vote "Yes" as well. I had NO IDEA about any toll road idea until today. I always thought it was going to be turned into a park. How naive of me. Now I have the power to fight back. Thank you for the integrity of this article.
Sue, via dallasobserver.com
Thank you for standing up, along with others, in speaking out against the bait-and-switch tactics that have gone from promising a world-class park to a huge, loud high-speed toll road. I know it takes great conviction to stand up and NOT follow the money trail of people with deep pockets and influence that supports this toll road. The public is watching this "David vs. Goliath" issue to see if regular citizens can truly win.
All of these "signature" projects in North Texas are following the same playbook—from capitalizing on fear of crime and frustration with traffic problems to using the same glitzy brochures that mislead and downright lie to the voting public. The regional backlash against the Trinity toll road project stems from citizens watching millions being spent and wasted on the Fort Worth Trinity Vision, the Arlington Cowboys stadium, the private toll roads, etc.
I am a citizen of Arlington who fought against using eminent domain powers and against subsidizing a stadium for a private corporation, the Dallas Cowboys. I had never participated in politics, had never attended a city meeting, had never peacefully assembled, nor had I ever even had a yard sign. All of that changed for me with this issue mainly because of three things: Using eminent domain to take homes/businesses/land under the guise of "public use"; using public money to fund a private stadium; and watching the Rob Allyn firm make promises that this stadium would "lower crime," "help schoolchildren" and "save Arlington."
I've heard the same arguments for the Trinity toll road and the same desperation from supporters who say, "If we don't build it this way, it will not be built at all." If people were promised sailboats and lakes, then that is what they should be getting...not concrete, high-speed traffic and limited access.
I have one question: Are the supporters of the Trinity toll road the same people who have lobbied to get Governor Perry's giant Trans-Texas Corridor toll road brought INTO Dallas instead of being routed east of Dallas? Instead of steering truck/car traffic away from Dallas, if the TTC is built, it will bring MORE traffic through the metroplex. You can't have it both ways and argue for traffic to come into Dallas and then for traffic relief inside Dallas. Jim Schutze is correct when he says that traffic that is not doing business in Dallas should be diverted around Dallas.
Again, I would like to thank you for taking a public stand to rein in this runaway project. If people don't vote "Yes," they should not gripe when this project balloons into billions of dollars.
L. Lancaster, Arlington
I've tried my hardest to keep up to date on all of the pieces y'all have run on the Trinity River project, but I think there's one missing element. You focus so much energy on debunking the toll road project that I think you've left out any description on the current plans for the park area. Is it just going to be trails through a flood plain? Or big parks? Or an open-air theater with concessions? Will there be coordinated activities to supplement the Sunday-afternoon lying around with your eyes closed imagining the flood plain was a beach in California? I think this gives a necessary perspective to the toll road referendum, because I won't care as much about the road if what it's "replacing" isn't going to be very attractive anyway.
Nick Orenstein, Dallas