City Hall

Riverfront Blvd. Is Dallas's Park Avenue and Champs-Élysées. No? Well, It Says Right Here ...

Waaaaay back in April 2010 we got our first loving look at the city's plans to widen Riverfront Boulevard, which, like I need to tell you, is now considered the "Gateway to the Trinity River" intended to connect downtown, the Trinity, the Design District and the Cedars. But there was much resistance to the plan, which was initially just a series of expensive options -- more concrete, a little space for hikers and bikers -- that co-opted the phrase "complete streets." Scoffed not-yet-council member Scott Griggs: "Where is the justification for all of this road?"

But the city never relented: In May and again in June, Public Works Department came back to the council's Trinity River Corridor Project Committee, with more and more and even more options to doll up The Boulevard Formerly Known as Industrial between Cadiz and Continental -- six in all, eventually, among them a do-nothing option, but Dallas is not a Do-Nothing Town. Council members were told: You gotta spend money to make money -- $42 million to $54 million, depending on whether they went with six or eight lanes. Or $29 million, said yet another, newer option should this reconstituted Riverfront use "existing concrete."

This afternoon, the committee will be shown this PowerPoint -- which talks of the Trinity Parkway like it's a done deal and actually has the balls to show a photo of The Avenue des Champs-Élysées beneath a header "Similar Roadways Outside of Dallas" -- and once again be asked: Decide already. They will be told the road needs to be widened for myriad reasons: to alleviate congestion, to make way for economic development, to fix storm drainage issues, to make it easier to walk without threat of being mowed down. They will be reminded: There's $44.5 million there for the redo, including $29,127,713 in North Central Texas Council of Governments Regional Toll Revenue that'll go elsewhere if not used for this.

They will be given a time line: Construction to begin in December 2012 and wrap in November 2015 -- which should put it smack in the middle of TxDOT's redo of the IH-30 and IH-35 "horseshoe," due to start in January 2013, fun. And they will be told: Decide already.

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky