Best Urban Escape - 2005
As first steps go, the Trinity Levee Trail opened earlier this year is pretty modest. Even now it's still mostly an idea, a few signs with arrows added to pre-existing access roads. Yet a walk, jog or ride on the 6.2-mile gravel loop is a testament to the area's enormous potential. On the stretches of the trail at the foot of the levees, the slopes cut off both the view and the noise of the city, leaving only the crunch of your footsteps and the wind through the trees. Then a quick climb up the hill reveals downtown Dallas spread out before you. It's easy to be cynical about Dallas' grandiose plans for turning the Trinity River into a manicured green space to dwarf New York's Central Park when the beautiful but unnecessary designer bridges are the only aspect of the plan that city leaders seem to care about. But if the thing somehow comes together, the Levee Trail shows that the result could be grand indeed.