The Trinity River's 'Standing Wave' Crashes into Reality

The city spent millions on a kayaking park that almost no one can use -- and the money's still flowing.

That doesn't exactly sound like a passing grade from the canoe tester. You pass, but you're going to have to rebuild the thing.

I called Sigle and asked him my favorite question: "Would you tell the middle-aged dad with his wife and two kids to take a big canoe through that bypass?"

"It's a very tricky question, as you know," he said, "and a very tricky subject."

Charles Allen, the city's resident expert on Trinity River canoeing, says the so-called canoe bypass in the new man-made rapids south of downtown is a disaster waiting to happen.
Brandon Thibodeaux
Charles Allen, the city's resident expert on Trinity River canoeing, says the so-called canoe bypass in the new man-made rapids south of downtown is a disaster waiting to happen.

Well, I didn't think so. But OK.

He said he and a number of "local boaters" in Dallas tested the canoe bypass channels at the Standing Wave extensively. He said his company then recommended that the city go back in and rebuild the bypass.

"We have proposed some modification to the city to tone it down and to make it easier and I guess what you would say more user-friendly."

I asked what specific changes his company had recommended.

"We have proposed lessening the drop, lessening the slope and straightening out the hydraulic jet."

Hydraulic jet. Scary term! That's his technical word for the Cuisinart current that Allen pointed out to me. It's water jetting out of the bottom of the narrow bypass chute.

Most people who go canoeing on the Trinity are prepared for a nice slow float on relatively flat water. They don't want or expect to go through hydraulic jets of any kind.

I also asked Sigle why the Standing Wave is so ugly. His company's web page shows these beautiful projects they've designed, like the Reno Whitewater Park on Nevada's Truckee River, built with gorgeous boulders and rocks. So why does ours look like an illegal dumping site?

He said his company was involved only in the hydraulic engineering of the Dallas project, not the architectural design. I asked Winters who the architect was. There was a landscape architect only for the shoreline features, he said. Like, the sidewalks.

That's what I thought. No architect. This is what we get for four million bucks?

That the Wave has to be re-engineered and rebuilt has not been presented to the park board or city council. All they know is that the Trinity Commons Foundation—the private socialite club promoting the overall Trinity River Project—has been flouncing around strewing rose petals and singing the praises of the Standing Wave, which they say is the first evidence of progress on the overall 20-year-old multibillion dollar Trinity River project.

But it's not progress. It's junk. It's a mess. If I weren't so angry, I might even cry.

On our trip, Allen pointed out that there are wonderful examples nearby of the right way to treat the river—River Legacy Park in Arlington, for example, which consists of lovely riverbank trails and benches.

But Dallas had to have bling. It's like those damn fake suspension bridges. It's wrong, and it's vulgar, and it doesn't work.

As Allen and I pulled out of the Standing Wave site in his van, he waxed nostalgic about the founding days of the Trinity River Project, back in the early 1990s, when Mayor Steve Bartlett put together a true community-based committee to design it. The committee included representatives from all walks and constituencies, including Allen.

"It was for real," he said. "They came up with consensus opinions."

But when Ron Kirk took office as mayor in 1995, he gutted the committee and turned everything over to the socialites.

We have some leadership in Dallas that's not very smart. But let me remind you of something more important: We have been blessed with a beautiful river. We need to stop trying to tell the river what to do, be quiet, and listen to the river's real voice. When it speaks to us, I assure you, it will not sound like Donald Trump.

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59 comments
rockymountainbiker
rockymountainbiker

Please have someone who knows anything about hydraulics and/or whitewater rewrite this article. I've been a whitewater rafting guide on the Arkansas River in Colorado and an avid whitewater kayaker for 10 years. In the winter I major in Civil Engineering with an emphasis on open channel hydraulics and three-dimensional modeling.

 

I kayaked this wave at around 4000 cfs, and yes, it is a class II rapid *cue screaming from corny 80's horror film*. If there isn't a good chance that a canoe will flip over in a playwave, then it is a really crappy playwave. Out of the few man-made playwaves in Texas, this is definitely the best. The hydraulics caused by the confluence currents after the first wave are the most aggressive part and I assure you that they are the same hydraulic feature that appear behind any bridge column. 

 

Would I wear a pfd (life jacket) if I were canoeing this? absolutely, but I also use a pfd on lake livingston. The fact that anyone would consider this rapid is any more dangerous than is necessary to create a playwave is ridiculous. Saying this playwave "is a disaster waiting to happen" is equivalent to saying the welcome mat on your front door is a deathtrap because someone could trip. 

 

One thing that no one really brought up so far that I've seen is that the playwave is actually good for the environment. The COD levels in this section of the trinity are high because it's in the middle of the city, this playwave continuously raises the DO levels. English: the playwave provides more oxygen for the fish which is a big deal here. 

Wesley
Wesley

I have been down to the trinity wave 3 times. I am an avid white water kayaker and my opinion is to think twice before making a play hole in toilet water. The wave is just not worth getting sick over. I agree that the media has been way too skeptical, however, you have to face the facts. There are no mountains anywhere near Dallas. Any type of attempted white water will never be popular here. Most people here have never even heard of kayaking. Despite how happy I was when I first learned of its existence, I think it was a huge wast of time and money building it in a city like this.

jess
jess

What a terrible job you have done reprting this issue. You have made texas an even crappier state. This park is awesome and the kayakers in texas would love to paddle it...so what if some families have to buy pfd's for their kids....it's totally flat below the wave...the feature is class 2 at worst, and your news organization is responsible for getting it closed. Most parks use concrete to make their features in one way or another...you are totally ignorant.

cm
cm

its amazing that we can spend 4million dollars on something that doesnt work in Dallas , but we wont spend one nickel here in Dallas for a place for the homeless to stay.......

Johnholes
Johnholes

Imagine if 6 year olds performed surgeries, that is exactly the amount of intelligence behind this article. Move on, write about things you are familiar with like hop scotch and tic tac toe.

Spanke
Spanke

I agree with Matt and the majority of the posted comments. Thanks for the hissy fit

Matt Taylor
Matt Taylor

This article is a perfect example of how a completely biased personal view with publishing power can be used to demonstrably slander something very few people have had the opportunity to experience or formulate their own opinions on. Honestly this park constitutes a piece in the commitment Dallas is trying to make to recreationists and the overall quality of life of the city. It is really a unique opportunity for a subset of outdoorsmen. Why should Dallas not lead the way on something like this when places like Oklahoma City and Tulsa are all at some stage of creating a playpark? I am extremely disappointed in the “easy way or the highway” point of view taken up in this article in regard to experiencing the outdoors. The avenues are available for all skill levels to take advantage or bypass this park (whether that entails playing in the rapids, taking the bypass channel, or simply portaging the park completely). I am also outraged by the portrayal of this project (through this article) as some attack on the aesthetic quality of this section of the Trinity River when this was absolutely not some beautiful undisturbed landscape prior to the Dallas Standing Wave project. The author of this article is contradictory in calling the proprietors of this project those that want to experience the river from a comfy raft with chef in tow, but then shows distort over the completely unnatural furnishings, like boulders, that are not even consistent with the geology or stream morphology of the Trinity River (and complains about a little effort to enjoy the river). This article is rampant with an under-whelming familiarity with other playparks in which boulders and rocks serve solely aesthetic purposes (or create eddys) and are largely fixed in the river with concrete, a large majority of (rivers) which are incapable of experiencing the same flow rates at which the Trinity River is capable of reaching. It also completely ignores the largely concrete facilities around the country like Pueblo (which is one of the best parks in Colorado and is actually in a drainage ditch!), the ASCII Course, the USNWC, and the numerous other man-made features that paddlers surf. Jim, you might not have “cried”, but you did a hell of a job writing a temper tantrum of an article.

I suggest those of you that have some contention with this place reserve your judgments for a trip out to the Standing Wave when it is officially opened. If nothing else, reserve it for an article that is more thoroughly representative of all the viewpoints, and is not framed through rhetoric laden attacks.

broseph
broseph

The Whitewater park is a class III feature- something almost ANYONE could float through with a lifejacket. Most people could float through it without a lifejacket (which any person who is paddling a river should have on them). I'm a class IV-V paddler, and while you might be scared by the term "hydraulic jets," you might want to understand that they exist in almost every water environment in the world. Just because you aren't familiar with the term doesn't mean they're terrible, unnatural, or unsafe. This standing wave is a huge boost to the local economy (every paddler driving to Colorado will be stopping by). I personally will being going to Dallas SOLELY to try out this new feature.

I understand that you've got beef with the people who designed the project, but I've talked to local paddlers who enjoy the wave as is. You might want to actually talk to the people who use this feature day in and day out, because so far you've only investigated one side of this story. Irresponsible journalism.

Chaz
Chaz

I've personally never seen this and don't have any experience with whitewater kayaking, but I talked to a rep from the Trinity River project in Fort Worth and he said it looked perfectly safe to him. Is this just another article going overboard? I'm not sure, but the very mellow and non-controversial rep I spoke with said it looked perfectly fine to him.

CapGuy
CapGuy

Another typical screwed up city government project. Why don't we let the private sector do these kinds of things so they come out right? This typifies what is wrong with everything municipal from top to bottom.

XDALLAS
XDALLAS

Oh yes, the last comment, when it speaks to us and floods Dallas. Folks, these are the mayors you are voting in!! They want to leave their mark and leave you broke in taxes yet we dirve on potholes and businesses are leaving as quick as they can. Do we really need a park, a bridge, and a motel? We need industry to pay for all this crap. Vote for someone that see's the future for Dallas bringing in jobs and corporations. Grow the city with business or become Detroit.

Hollowcreek
Hollowcreek

FINALLY! People are now waking up to find that a giant fraud has been perpetrated here in the form of the multi million dollar boondoggle Standing Wave park. It should have never been built where it is due to the super high e-coli levels (and the e-coli is only the tip of the iceberg when you start looking at all the pollutants in that section of the Trinity) and now on top of that, now that its finished we find out that inexperienced paddlers who just want to get past it safely mayhave to portage it? Not Good.

The whole mess could have been avoided if the City had asked for some input before designing or building it. One of the LARGEST CANOE CLUBS IN THE STATE is based right here in Dallas and NOBODY from the City ever picked up the phone and asked for any input.

The first thing that we would have pointed out is that there may be 500 paddlers tops in the DFW area that are qualified to use a standing wave like this one and of that maybe 100 or less that would actually use it on any kind of regular basis and that's if the WATER WAS NOT DESIGNATED AS UNFIT FOR CONTACT RECREATION BY THE TCEQ DUE TO HIGE ECOLI LEVELS. If they felt pressed to still spend the 4 million, they could have just written us all checks for 40 grand and saved lot of trouble.

Albertomaha
Albertomaha

Great. . .three things:-might want to mention that kayakers can't get closer than a third of a mile to the deathwave cause the levee road gates are most often locked -plz explain the 'fake suspension' bridge notion again, missed that logic/article-they call the guy who actually designed and who's manpower----mostly Hispanic (no dig, just a note)--except one dude with a barking collie in his ever-idling truck . . .I mean, I would have loved to work and help make the fake rocks just a little less, fake, i would have loaed to work for a guy named "Beaver"- not the beave, or the bever, just Beaver. -that's what I heard, gomavs"?""¿

Ramlinman
Ramlinman

4 million dollars...elected official at all levels of government are basically idiots!

JR
JR

Was there ever any answer from the city on why the original design that simply constricted the flow to create a long section of rolling rapids using natural gradient and faux natural looking giant boulders piered into the bedrock that blended into the native surrounding was not used as opposed to pouring a dam across the river with a straight drop off on the narrow "bypass" channel with sheer walls putruding up high above water line making the channel poorly designed for rescue and excellent for trapping the multitude of logs and debris that are deposited during flood stage to tangle in it forming a log jam was used? Why was there no public notice fo the design change? Who in the corps of engineers signed off on permit for dam affecting the navigability of the river. Where is the hydrology study and EIS? Who were the "local paddlers" supossedly consulted by the city in the design changes? Why was a construction company used that was not capable of producing the original design and a "lock dam" design used to replace the proper design? When the planned rolling rapids for all recreational boaters on the river was designed, who and why is responsible for approving a different design that would only accommodate a very small number of professional whitewater kayakers versus the wider and larger number of recreational boaters who paddle the entire 10 mile stretch of the river from sylvan boat ramp to loop 12? Why was 15 or more acres of lowland hardwood timber cut down screening Moore Park from the feature to prevent kids and other park goers from wandering down to it and getting themselves into a dangerous situation especially those who do not know how to swim and are unaware of the inherent danger? Why was rip rap in chain link boxes allowed to be used on the bypass where capsized boaters can be entangled and possibly drown.

I have canoed all sections of this river for over fifteen years as well as kayaked it and there is no question based on the shoddy design of the bypass that it is much more dangerous than the standing wave. The design looks so close to the 1904 lock dam below McCommas bluff that people unfamiliar with the river may think that the lock dam is a rapid feature but is in fact one of the most deadly features on the river. Why could the lock dam have been modified and redesigned for a safe rapid without spending 4 million dollars. When does the city plan to reinstall the coffer dam across the river to redesign and rebuild the bypass and standing wave structure. I like many was exited about having a nice small section of rapids in along the route that blended in and enhanced the natural surroundings by the 1895 historic trestle. What we got is a tragedy that can hopefully be redesigned to be safe and accommodate all of the recreational boaters on the river. A hint to the city is to reach out to people who know this river, establish a consensus from all the users, maintain an open and transparent process rather than secrecy, failure and cya statements. Let's work together to turn this failure around and have a feature that is fun for all that preserves and protects the forest and the river.

engmofo
engmofo

So roughly 7.8 million kayakers (2008 figure) in the U.S.13 million skateboarders.Where the fuck is my 4million dollar skatepark you assholes

TimCov
TimCov

My experience with canoeing is decades in the past. Yet, I could tell them that the canoe bypasses needed to be wader with a shallower descent. This sounds like a very badly designed project.

Timdalbey
Timdalbey

Jim Schutze thanks for bringing attention to the ‘Standing Wave’ disaster. This joke of a concrete lined pit in the river called a ‘rapid’ needs to be scrutinized a whole lot more by the residents of Dallas that paid for the feature. In the beginning the price was quoted as $6 million, now the TRCPO is trying to play it down to $4 million. The personnel at TRCPO (Trinity River Corridor project Office) perform as though this is their river and their GTF (Great Trinity Forest) and they will do and build what ever they want and the public be damned. Let’s see the hands of how many interested residents went to the open public meetings about this current plan and were able to comment on the plan? The TRCPO seem to forget who they work for as public employees.

Oh, and the concrete pit (aka. ‘Standing Wave’) is part of the larger recreation project that is the “Moore Park Gateway” in all that costs $20 million ($4-6 for the pit and $14 for the walkway). Now lets find the bond issue where this was described? Not. John Reynolds of the Park Department is in charge of the concrete pit called the ‘Standing Wave’ and Mary Ayala of the TRCPO is in charge of the concrete trail and the overall Gateway, as well as all recreation aspects of the TRCPO. The concrete walkway is another one of Ayala’s mean spirited ADA (American Disabilities Act) compliance trails (the other is the ADA Buckeye Trail over a 26 foot high flood levee at the end of Bexar street off Hwy. 175 in Rochester Park) where 26 foot high inclines are incorporated to make the trails for the disabled just to satisfy the Federal funding. I don’t know why, or how Schutze missed the concrete trail, which is an enormous more expensive concrete feature built on concrete piers sunk to bedrock winding all the way from the Moore Park area up 26 feet to the old Sante Fe historic railroad bridge and then winding down a huge concrete wall on the other side towards the city levee and a small basin excavated for landscape aesthetics I guess. This basin will fill up with sediment in no time. The concrete wall is angled funneling debris towards the concrete pit. Why didn’t the TRCPO incorporate a renovated existing trestle into part of the trail. Part of the trestle still stands on both sides trapping debris that all along, all river controlling regulating agencies have wanted to remove what they consider an impediment. All of this and more, too long to go into here adds to congestion, build up of snags with debris, and constriction of the river at the old railroad bridge on the south side of the DART bridge. So, with the new constricted river channel, a huge 26 foot high concrete wall angling towards the concrete pit, the old trestle still in place, DART bridge piers, debris during high water flows will snag on, or fill in the concrete pit at the protruding concrete and boulder jetties. Before I forget as a side note, you know how the TRCPO always touts that these projects create local jobs? Well, this whole project (engineering, excavation, structural, concrete etc.) is being built by Massana a company out of Georgia.

Then, Schutze left out Barry Osbourne in the Regulatory Section of the CESWF (Corps of Engineers Fort Worth District) that permitted this concrete pit. This was certainly part of a Section 404 permit but carries further environmental ramifications concerning aquatic life and the river hydrology and geography. This is the Federal agency that are the stewards of the waters of the United States and regulators of navigable waters of the United States under the Rivers and Harbors Act. The concrete pit just closed the lock gate on navigability of the main stem of the Trinity river. I guess it is navigable by kayaks and perhaps a few canoeists. Oh, but portage is an option, so get out and walk if you don’t like it. Furthermore during low normal flows the flow downstream from the concrete pit is considerably slower and almost stagnant which will further impact aquatic life downstream of the feature. Even though I am on their notification list, to my knowledge the CESWF never put out any NOI (Notice Of Intent) or their normal regulatory Public Notice that describes the project plan for review. I won’t go into the danger of the ‘bypass channel Charles Allen and Schutze covered that pretty well bringing out the dangers. Except that, back in July 2010 when no one knew they were building this feature the contractor built a bypass channel with soil banks much wider than the finished concrete lined bypass channel. Five canoeists with previous experience were all caught in the bypass channel and overturned loosing all of their belongings, and one individual caught his shoulder on an impediment and was injured.

For some reason a ‘white water‘ or some type of kayak feature has been part of the Trinity River Project recreation plan since back in 1998 and has morphed many times. It is interesting or perhaps mystifying why such a small interest group such as kayakers can get the TRCPO to spend $4-6 million on the concrete lined pit and other larger groups can’t even get trail markers for a hiking trail and other amenities. The present vapid rapid backs the water up behind the first damn noticeably all the way to Sylvan slowing the flow. Many large gravel bars (ie. upstream from the Continental bridge) are now inundated. The gravel bars supported various types of freshwater mollusks and fish that prefer more oxygenated water. The first dam under the old railroad bridge constricts the width of the river to ca. 50 feet wide, then the water cascades over a concrete ‘slide of over 10 feet before the churning toe where a kayaker in the “You Tube” video in his ‘rubber duck‘ six foot long kayak does rolls in the water. Woohoo!

The feature is suppose to open Saturday but has been postponed citing the other danger of the other construction of the concrete trail This is a lie, it won’t open until August or September while the city tries to ameliorate the hazardous concrete pit and that will cost quite a bit more.

It is strange that the City Forester and the same City Park Department that errs on the side of safety where they will cut down a live healthy four foot diameter 135+ year old pecan tree that grew in a nearby park. It was cut down because it had a cavity up 25 feet high in the trunk that was perceived as a danger such that the tree may fall and hurt someone. But that same department will build and defend something as dangerous as the concrete pit is insanity, desperate, and a waste of money.

Dallas Diner
Dallas Diner

"If the kids didn't have life jackets on, they might drown." I think putting children in a canoe without life jackets and taking them on still water, much less through visible rapids, is criminal stupidity that has nothing to do with the safety or lack thereof of the bypass.

rain39
rain39

Portaging is not for little people. Canoes are heavy and awkward. The correct way to carry them is over your shoulders making your vision somewhat impaired in watching the little people who might have been in the middle of your canoe along for the ride, not paddling. They may not be able to carry all the "stuff" you carried in the canoe forcing you to leave some where you grounded yourself. Then you'll have to go back and get it.

Do you take the kids with you for the long walk back and forth so they won't be kidnapped? We portaged extensively in Northern Wisconsin and Minnesota and up in the Boundry waters in Canada/Minnesota back in the 50's when we were fit female teen Girl Scouts with no males around.

bigdaddyd
bigdaddyd

Charles Allen is hardly the "city's resident expert on Trinity River canoeing. In fact, he probably can't paddle a Class II rapid and sells himself to the public as a "professional guide". He's just complaining because he thinks it will hurt his personal business when in fact it might help it. Sounds like Charles thinks he owns the Trinity and his opinion is the only one that matters.

I've paddled the waves 8 or 10 times at levels from 3000 cfs down to 400 cfs. I know what it does and doesn't do at all these levels. I've shot pictures and footage to document it.

Fact is, it's as safe as any man-made park in the country. It's got built in take-outs for portaging as well as the by-pass channels. Sure, people can flip over in their water craft. People drown on lakes if they don't follow general water safety guidelines like wearing a PFD, etc.

Here is my blog with a report on the safety testing we conducted with swimmers, inner-tubes, canoes, boogie boards and kayaks.

http://www.dallasobserver.com/...

I've heard way more positive about this than negative and I'm sure that will bear out once it is officially open. See you on the river, Charles!

TK
TK

Shutes-

It’s disappointing to read yet another negative article about something that is so positive and exciting for the City of Dallas. The article is written with absolute bias and an agenda. What happened to the objective article? Why weren’t any paddlers quoted saying something positive? While there may be some naysayers, there are even more who are enthusiastic about The Dallas Wave.When reading your article, I came across some points that are inaccurate. While yes, The Dallas Wave does require a skilled paddler, the bypass channel isn’t as dangerous as you say. Nonetheless, there are some facts that are incorrect:

Incorrect: The Standing Wave

The current official title is The Dallas Wave.

Incorrect: The Dallas Wave was designed and created by “with no community involvement or consultation, driven entirely by people whose idea of a river experience is rafting down the Colorado with a guide, a chef and a guitarist."

The City of Dallas worked with local paddlers to create a wave for the paddling community and Dallas citizens. There were meetings with designers, architects and paddlers for more than a year - The City did a great job to include people who would use the wave in the design process.

Incorrect:“Construction is finished and a grand opening is scheduled for May 7”

The grand opening will not be till later this year. The area around The Dallas Wave, which you considered “ugly,” is not complete. By the time of the actual opening, it will be alive and ready for people to enjoy.

I wish there was something like this years ago in Dallas, and I cannot wait till it is opened.

Flipit
Flipit

Uh, if you don't like the looks of the bypass channels, bypass them. Paddling straight through the main drops is a piece of cake. (actually, so are the bypass channels, but don't take my word for it, i've only done it a few dozen times. How many have you, Jim? Charles?)

"...what used to be one of the most inviting stretches of the river..."

Wha...? Wait, every time I've ever been down there it has been a ghost town. I don't think ANYONE has EVER been down there except the guys who built the Dart Rail crossing. Ugly? Let's talk relativity here. This used to be two dirt banks under a rusted out abandoned rail trestle that hundreds of thousands of people have ignored while driving over the Corinth St Viaduct. Now at least it's getting some attention. Mission accomplished.

elbueno
elbueno

If we put in the time and effort, the community could take back this project. There is no reason why a group of people couldn't organize events along the floodplain.

In fact, there is one next weekend - The Trinity Wind Festival.

Once the city sees people investing in the space, some city leaders will take more interest in making small, community based improvements, rather than large, wasteful master plans and ego projects.

heavy metal church lady
heavy metal church lady

This is top-notch reporting. And the inclusion of Charles Allen is brilliant. He's logged more hours on the Trinity than anyone--yet, he's the last person officials ever want to hear from.

This might be a good time to put up some suicide crisis hotline numbers around the bypass channel so folks have a chance to talk it through with knowledgeable personnel before entering Whitewater Cuisinart™.

Wylie H.
Wylie H.

How did Dallas come to be cursed by such inept, mendacious leaders?

Likeicare
Likeicare

I'm pretty sure the dumbest people on the planet are in charge of Dallas.

Guest
Guest

Holy negativity!

Storm_71
Storm_71

Is there that many kayakers in Dallas to warrent this thing? I mean there may be I'm not sure. Here's an idea why not spend less than half of what they spent for this thing and install a couple of nice disc golf courses. I know there are a lot of disc golfers out there and disc golf is a great family activity. Just a thought.

cheapoldgeezer
cheapoldgeezer

The most important information in this sad, sad, story...."If the kids didn't have life jackets on, they might drown. If they did have life jackets on, they would still get pushed underwater in one of the most toxic rivers in the state."

Something for Dallas to be proud of.

Spanke
Spanke

I agree with Matt, scratch the majority of posted comments part. After loading more comments its obvious most people from Dallas are terrified of Class 2+. You guys sound like the french.

md
md

This article is about the bypass channel, which is supposed to be the "easy way."

JimS
JimS

You sure he knew what you were asking about? If he was, you should ask him why he thinks the engineers who designed the thing have told the city they need to rebuild it. The other issue is this: people who are not paddlers themselves do not understand how this stuff works.

Canoe1980
Canoe1980

You mean done right like gas wells? No thanks. You mean sell part of the river access? Toll roads? no thanks.

How about just in the light of day. Where all can plainly see where the money comes from, goes to, and who made the decision to approve, spend and complete the projects.

JimS
JimS

Hollowcreek: did somebody conceive and design this thing before measuring the gradient? The Trinity drops only one foot per mile through this stretch. Maybe they figured out late in the day that the only way to produce turbulence with that little drop is to build a dam. Of course, that would have been the point where sane people might have said this is not a whitewater river, cannot be a whitewater river and should not be a whitewater river. If they wanted an amusement park, why not divert water into a channel and build a Six Flags thing off to the side? But I wonder if that scheme might have invoked major worries from the Corps about erosion in times of heavy flooding. Nevertheless the Corps has allowed somebody to build a five-foot dam across the river backing up into the floodway. That is remarkable (bad) and proof positive that you can't count on the Corps to protect the public interest. It's also very revealing that the playboaters defend this thing, which sort of puts them in the same category as dirt-bike and ATV-riders for me, as far as understanding and valuing nature is concerned.

iamronburgundy
iamronburgundy

The Santa Fe Trestle Trail is being built by Massana. The Dallas Waves and the entirety of Moore Park are being built by ARK Contracting out of Kennedale, TX.

Get your facts straight.

JimS
JimS

Tim Dalby makes a series of very important points here. I regret not reachingn him for my story. It was my fault, not his. The "trail" he describes is being built like a freeway. Its design betrays an utter lack of experience with or sensitivity to natural places. The so-called portage route at the Wave also involves huge amounts of concrete, which the Parks department confirmed to me was an effort to be ADA compliant. The truth is that trails in natural places cannot be ADA compliant without destroying the natural value of those places. If you hike to the ranch at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, you will notice that the Grand Canyon is not ADA compliant. I suppose you could make the Grand Canyon ADA compliant, but then I would no longer be interested in hiking it because it wold have no natural value or appeal. The city will counter me by accusing me of baing an anti-disabled person bigot. At some point that's just a stupid argument. Natural places are naturally challenging. They challenge me, because I'm old and no longer have the legs or stamina I did back inthe day. So should the city provide me with city employees to carry me down difficult trails on their backs? Anyway, the way the whole Trinity project is proceeding tells us that it is being designed by bureaucrats and socialites. If we are building the largest urban park in America, why have we not brought in a respected park designer and architect? This whole thing is piecemeal and really really stupid.

Canoe1980
Canoe1980

Bigdaddyd, If you have heard more positive about this than negative it is obvious to the Observers of this debacle, that you are a part of the problem. The certified levels of e coli, the lack of planning, the comparison of the Trinity to to such rivers as the Truckee, and San Marcos, where other similar water features were built is crazy. They all point to poor planning.

$4.2 million dollars and counting so that a very few people would have a new play pen is crazy. If the Trinity River Corridor project ever gets started, there will be more heavy metals coming down stream. Since 90% of the Trinity river flow is effluent from sewage treatment plants through that area of Dallas, what makes this a good thing? The list goes on and on as to why this is a bad idea. Every time I have stopped by there it is blocked off to all traffic. So your access to a contruction site indicates priviladged access compared to most of us. What is the City of Dallas hiding from the rest of us?

Sure it is great to improve the infrastructure of the city, but to squander money this way is NOT to be looked at as a positive. How about forecasting 4.2 million dollars towards river clean up by Flood control, parks and Rec department in already functioning systems. White Rock Lake is a real issue. Paddle up White Rock creek and you see very quickly pile after pile of plastic bottles, construction debris, tires, shopping carts and NO money to remove it. The flood control depart seems either unwilling or incapible of removing downed trees that block the flow and allow nearly 2 ft high piles of plastic bottles. Where are they going to get the funds to maintain the Trinity at the wave?

All the lipstick in the world is not going to change this pig into a beautiful location.

Flipit
Flipit

Charlie looks pretty happy in that pic to me. I think he's smilin'!

JimS
JimS

Bigdaddy: Charles did nothing but whitewater until he decided he had to stay home and mind his business. So you're full of shit, and I don't trust another word you have to say.

JimS
JimS

So. TK: how come they have to rebuild it? And what do you mean the structure itself is not complete? The bad landscaping on the banks isn't complete, but the structure itself is certainly finished. That is, until they have to tear it apart to rebuild it.

iamronburgundy
iamronburgundy

The wave action created by the structures is actually good the overall water quality of the river.... genius.

Matt Taylor
Matt Taylor

This is a blatant over-exaggertion based on your own article, in which the engineers apparently said there were a few modifications that could be made to make the bypass more user friendly.

Scott in Oak Cliff
Scott in Oak Cliff

Jim, Hollowcreek barely scratched the surface of all that is wrong about the brownwater park called the Dallas Standing Wave. Some of us were screaming about what a bad idea it was nearly three years ago, but our voices were not heard by a City Council that was deaf to anything that opposed their "vision" of a revitalized downtown area. We tried to talk with the city about these concerns we had, but nobody was listening - NOBODY! They DID listen to a guy who has a commercial vested interest and who falsely claimed to be speaking for our paddling club when he is not even a member and has no affiliation with our club.

The ditch we call the Trinity River is supposed to serve as a major water channel to control floodwater runoff. It is flatter than Twiggy, and not at all suited to creation of a whitewater park. And, it is highly polluted with PCBs, E.Coli, heavy metals and all sorts of other pollutants that make its waters "unsafe for contact recreation" according to the EPA and TCEQ, the latter of which is not particularly known for protecting citizens from industrial pollution anyway.

Now that the city leadership under City Manager Mary Suhm has wasted over $4 Million building a piece of shit excuse for a whitewater park they are going to have to probably double that expense to re-make it so that it is safe for novice paddlers who need to safely traverse the wave. We will be fortunate if nobody gets killed and their surviving family members don't sue us for creating a safety hazard where it did not previously exist.

Federal law mandates that construction projects in rivers (1) not disrupt the natural character of the river so as to inhibit navigation or endanger navigators, (2) change the character of a river in such ways as to disrupt fish, wildlife, plants, habitats, spawning areas or other damages that adversely affect natural species. None of that seems to have been considered, as the Stand Wave does ALL of those things illegally, and it was done under the watchful eye of the City Council and Manager, US Army Corps of Engineers, TCEQ and others who should have foreseen the insanity of this whole project and diverted those funds to more utilitarian purposes such as repairing potholes in roads and streets, upgrading parks or numerous other more worthy purposes.

Personally, I believe that Hollowcreek is overstating the number of people who will use this monstrosity, possibly by a factor of 2. But, my real concern is not paddlers - many of us are too intelligent to immerse ourselves in the toxic wastedump call the Trinity River. I am worried about all the minority children who will flock from nearby neighborhoods to a free playground in the water without benefit of safety gear or protective clothing that would shield them from the toxins and pollutants found in the Trinity River. I am concerned that many will become seriously ill and that a few will probably die from exposure to those tainted waters.

Go to San Marcos or Fort Worth on any hot, summer day and you will see exactly what we can expect on a segment of the Trinity that is rated as "unsafe for contact recreation", and then realize that THIS is the legacy that Tom Leppert, Mary Suhm and company provided us by supporting and funding the Standing Wave Park in the filthy Trinity River.

To make matters worse, today (Tuesday, May 10) TPWD and the City of Dallas are officially opening the Trinity Canoe Paddling Trail between Sylvan Avenue and Loop 12 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and press conference at 10:30 AM - but YOU CANNOT LAUNCH AND PADDLE THE TRAIL BECAUSE THE GODDAMNED RIVER IS CLOSED BY ORDER OF THE CITY OF DALLAS!

Just when you think our elected leadership could not possibly act any more stupidly they prove you wrong!

iamronburgundy
iamronburgundy

AND all the engineering and architecture was done by local firms. Only the conceptual plan was prepared by RE&P out of Colorado. Wrong again Tim.

Joe
Joe

All I've read on this discussion is a bunch of whining and bitching about something most of you could care less to even be a part of in the first place. If it really meant that much to you people then why aren't you involved in the deciding factors about these kinds of things? It's just like bitching about the president, or congress, etc...but not wanting to run for either position to do anything about it. Why aren't any of you involved in the design of the landscape around the features? I am just as against poor building and decisions from contractors as anyone...but honestly. everyone on here has proclaimed what a "drainage ditch" and ECOLI ECOLI OH MY GOD ECOLI! Well if the river sucks that badly then what the hell are you people even doing in it in the first place? If you were truly that worried about the crud in the water, you sure as hell wouldn't be canoeing in it, etc. Besides that, it's right near a city with millions of people in it. If the litter and sewage issues are a problem, try this: Go start a stream team and pick up some of this crap yourself. It's your fellow citizens that have degraded the water quality for years. At least this might encourage tighter regulatory measures to help clean the water somewhat. Jim, you can't honestly tell me that before this project started, the Trinity was a pristine natural wilderness..located within sight of a major city. I don't buy it. The aesthetics notwithstanding, I'm sure that the wave feature itself not only didn't encompass the entire 4 million dollar budget. We have our own park here in Arkansas, and myself and countless others that frequent it clean it on a regular basis, watch out for swimmers and other boaters, and generally keep the peace. That's part of contributing to the places you live. It doesn't seem to me that anyone here wants to do that. They just want to whine about their 2 cents tax increase, like they had to foot the whole bill themselves. And as I said before, if it really means that much to any of you on here, to the extent you want seem to want others to believe at least, then get involved in the decision making aspects of your local government. Otherwise, at least vote for someone you think will speak for you.

A few million people all screaming for something different doesn't solve anything. And for those who will never even set foot on this site to see what all the fuss is about, just shut the hell up. I don't even live there, and I plan to attend it to at least try it out and gauge for myself if it merits a return trip. You should make the effort to do the same.

Joe

Joe
Joe

Oh my goodness, you might actually have to get your ass down there and *gasp* pick up some of the refuse yourself. Heavens to betsy, what atrosities will they pummel you commoners with next.

bigdaddyd
bigdaddyd

Jim: You don't have to trust a word I say, go down and paddle it yourself. Seriously, have you tried it out yet? Run the channels. Surf the wave. Find out the truth for yourself. I think you'll find it's a lot of fun. I think grandma's and 5-year-olds will have a blast, too. I don't know if Charles did nothing but whitewater before, but if he did, then I'd think he'd see some of the redeeming qualities of the wave and also recognize that it's not some big, hairy rapid. There are miles of flatwater to paddle upstream and downstream on the Trinity, and he's upset over a 200 yard section. Just seems a little selfish to me.

But it doesn't really matter. 'Cause there is a now a WW park in Dallas! Those who want to surf and paddle will have a great place to enjoy the river right here close to home. If you don't like it, you don't have to use it.

iamronburgundy
iamronburgundy

They aren't tearing it apart to re-build it. Such sensationalist "journalism". All the City of Dallas is planning to do is smooth out the bypass channel, which really won't cost all that much money.

The reason that the park is closed is because the horizontal spans of the trestle trail that cross the trinity directly over the Waves are being installed in the next couple of months and the City of Dallas doesn't want pedestrians parking down at the Wave Park to go use the structures. If you want to get in the river upstream and go through the site you absolutely can, you just can't park at the new "Dallas Waves at Moore Park" and get in the water there. The closure has NOTHING to do with the bypass channels - YOU CAN STILL USE THEM THIS MORNING IF YOU WANT TO.

You've once again proven your worth Jim. Your lack of knowledge and in-depth analysis on topics that you write such inflammatory remarks about astounds me.

 
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