Dallas Architects' Study Is Possible Explanation of What the Mayor Fears in Toll Road Debates

As we told you here already this morning, Mayor Mike Rawlings has declared that he will not debate the Trinity toll road issue -- six- to 10-lane $1 to $2 billion expressway along the river through downtown -- because ... just won't. Take a look at the document below, produced by a committee of ten former presidents of the Dallas chapter of the American Institute of Architects, and you'll get a good picture of why.

See also: "Mayor Mike Rawlings Is Refusing to Debate the Trinity Toll Road, and That's Weird"

The so-called "Ten Presidents" committee -- 10 past and present presidents of the association -- commissioned this architectural study of the road that the mayor is pushing, comparing it with the road described by the city to Dallas voters in 2007 during the citywide referendum on the project. AIA-Dallas itself has no official connection with the study, as I wrongly reported in an earlier version of this story. What the study shows irrefutably is that the road the mayor is going for now, compared with what voters were promised eight years ago, is an enormous fraud.

It's not at all what the city promised to seek permission for from federal agencies whose approval is needed. This study is wonky, I know, but take a look at it. This isn't even a gray area.

The other thing the study shows is that all the mayor's talk of trimming the thing down and building a more modest thoroughfare now is yet another scam. It doesn't matter what they start with or when they build it out: the damage is done by the alignment itself.

The alignment they want would eliminate an entire lake. It pushes the footprint of the road way out into the floodplain and creates a mountain range of structure, overwhelming and even obliterating the promised riverfront park. The trick here isn't the pavement, at least not at first. It's the land-grab.

The study is brilliant. It shows exactly why Rawlings can't afford to get himself get nailed on specifics. It also demonstrates how farcical it is for the mayor to contend his plan is anything but a great big honking freeway.

Trinity Toll Road_The Ten Presidents_17Feb15 (1).pdf by Schutze

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Jim Schutze has been the city columnist for the Dallas Observer since 1998. He has been a recipient of the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies’ national award for best commentary and Lincoln University’s national Unity Award for writing on civil rights and racial issues. In 2011 he was admitted to the Texas Institute of Letters.
Contact: Jim Schutze