Council's on the TxDOT Money Trail to Fund "Non-Traditional" Transportation Projects

The city of Dallas has till December 11 to submit to the Texas Department of Transportation a list of projects it thinks worthy of the Transportation Enhancement Program, through which TxDOT doles out federal funds for so-called "non-traditional transportation related activities." Which would be what, exactly? Well, bicycle and pedestrian trails, for starters; or, the restoration of old trolley-car lines, always a trendy move; or, landscape beautification. According to the state's guidelines, "Projects should go above and beyond standard transportation activities and be integrated into the surrounding environment in a sensitive and creative manner that contributes to the livelihood of the communities, promotes the quality of our environment, and enhances the aesthetics of our roadways."

With less than a month till the due date, the city council's Transportation and Environment Committee will discuss and debate a wish list of projects this morning in the hopes of snagging a small piece (around $5.5 million) of the relatively modest pie ($67.5 million available statewide). Among the projects being considered: construction of Five Mile Creek Trail (which would be a 1.75-mile long trail from Glendale Park to College Park, with a connection to the DART Ledbetter light-rail station); Northaven Trail (almost three miles' worth of trail from from the White Rock Greenbelt Trail to Preston Road, "including a new bicycle/pedestrian bridge across White Rock Creek south of Forest Lane") and the Santa Fe Trestle Trail over the Trinity River, best known for its inclusion in Standing Wave conceptual renderings. And, for those wanting to link downtown with Oak Cliff, there's always the Houston Street Viaduct Bicycle/Pedestrian Link.

Speaking of Five Mile Creek Trail ... I see that at its Thursday meeting, the Park and Recreation Board will actually accept a $1 million grant from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to go toward the trail's construction, as well as other updates in College Park. The city, though, only gets the grant if it matches the funds, which it intends to do using $200,000 in 2003 bond money and $800,000 in '06 bond dough.

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky