After Years of Letting Central Expressway's Green Go Brown, Council's About to Vote on Fix

From the in-box, this from one good Friend of Unfair Park: "What the h is going on with the landscaping on Central? Is TxDOT letting everything die? It looks like crap."

Good question(s). And I have the answer.

First, let's flashback to a meeting of the city council's Transportation and Environment Committee on April 12 -- some two years after Texas Department of Transportation first told the city that, sorry, it just couldn't afford to upkeep the green going brown in the medians and window boxes along Central Expressway between Woodall Rodgers and LBJ Freeway. When presented with four options last spring, the committee went with the one involving partnering with TxDOT on the the planting of native grasses in the medians -- at the cost of around $300,000 to the city, once you factor in maintenance.

But the full council never OK'd the committee's recommendation, presumably because it didn't know where the money would come from. I've left messages all over Dallas City Hall, including ones for assistant public works director Alan Hendrix and T&C chair Linda Koop. But very helpful TxDOT spokesperson Cynthia Northrop White does provide us with a rather timely update:

"The council has on their agenda for Wednesday an addendum that contains a new landscape maintenance agreement, since the old one expired," she tells Unfair Park this afternoon.

Alas, the updated council agenda won't be posted till tomorrow night. But, she adds further details: "Assuming the council approves it, we would have to send it to the Texas Transportation Commission in Austin to execute it. Once it starts in September, then the contractor will remove the existing plants from the median and planter boxes along the sides, add a polymer-amended soil and then replant with suitable plants, which are primarily native grasses."

Northrop White doesn't have all the details -- such as, who's handling the plant-pulling and replanting, and how's the cost being divvied up and how much down to the penny will it cost the city. But she does offer this: The contract "does not include bridges and terraces" overlooking Central.

More to come.

Any other questions? Bring it.

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