We Now Officially Have Those Trinity River Blues

Sorry, Jim, but Aaron "T-Bone" Walker got there first.
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I know, I know -- you just can't get enough of this Trinity River talk. It's like porn for politicos, which was also my favorite post-Jane's Addiction band. So, yeah, here's some more -- a press release from the Sam Coats campaign (I know, you can't friggin' believe it, right?) in which he too apparently misinterprets Alex Krieger's e-mails to Mayor Laura Miller. "This was a bait-and-switch," says Coats, who should expect his own finger-wagging missive from the mayor any minute.

Coats' release is after the jump. But before then, do yourself a favor and listen to the track we're posting below. It's an old fave of Unfair Park's: "Trinity River Blues" by the late, great Dallasite Aaron "T-Bone" Walker, back when he was known as Oak Cliff T-Bone. The song is 78 years old, but I swear Walker's ghost wrote it tomorrow. --Robert Wilonsky


Coats questions why anyone would rubber-stamp a flawed plan

Speaking at a mayoral candidates’ forum yesterday evening sponsored by the Jewish Community Relations Council, former Democratic state representative and airline executive Sam Coats said that emails from Balanced Vision Plan architects Alex Krieger and Bill Eager published yesterday on the TrinityVote website are a perfect example of why Coats supports a public referendum on the proposed Trinity Toll Road. Coats also stated that the planners’ emails undermined the frequent claims of City Council Member and fellow mayoral hopeful Ed Oakley that the current road alignment represents the consensus of the best urban planners in the country.

“For months now, we’ve been told that the best urban planners in the country signed off on this plan,” said Coats. “Now it turns out that is simply not true. The Balanced Vision Plan architects have said the same thing I’ve been saying: This was a bait-and-switch.”

Two emails, obtained through an open records request and published yesterday on the TrinityVote.org website, discuss the concerns of the planners hired by Laura Miller to design the “Balanced Vision Plan” for the Trinity Corridor. In an email to Miller written in March, urban planner Alex Kreiger wrote that “the road was proceeding as if it were a great big interstate highway instead of a parkway and that there was absolutely no evidence of concern for the ‘context sensitive design’ that was promised as part of the balanced vision plan.” Transportation expert Bill Eager followed up with an email that stated, “We had a deal to make this Parkway of a design appropriate to a park setting.” Eager cites a ban on trucks, low vehicle speeds, and a curvilinear design as characteristics of such a Parkway, none of which are included in the current toll road plan.

Coats also questioned his opponents who have called for rubber-stamping the current plan, singling out Trinity River Committee Chairman Ed Oakley.

“We’ve been to dozens of these forums over the past few months, and Mr. Oakley has talked over and over again about the great urban planners that worked on this plan,” said Coats. “He apparently forgot to mention that these planners oppose his vision for the toll road, just like he apparently forgot to mention his own conflicts of interest.”

“This project is too important to our city’s future not to get right,” said Coats. “But instead it is mutating into Dallas’s version of the Big Dig. The urban planners are being ignored, the elected officials in charge have conflicts of interest, and the voters are being kept in the dark. As mayor, I’ll bring fresh eyes to this project and make sure that we get it right."

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