Construction on Trinity River lakes next year, drawings unrealistic

trinity parkway as if
Look at that innocent little Trinity River tollway. Problem is, it’s a totally unrealistic representation.

The Trinity Trust shared its “dreams” for a future lake park between the Trinity River levees with City Council members Monday.

Those aspirations include pavilions, playgrounds, a kayak launch point, a spray park and a pop-up park inspired by the Oval in Philadelphia. The trust showed council members a slideshow proposing an estimated $76 million in amenities.

None of that is funded yet, but the Trinity Trust expects to ramp up fundraising very soon and briefed the city’s Transportation and Trinity River Project committee in advance. Construction is set to begin on the lakes this coming spring. As the major fundraiser for Trinity River parks, the trust would pay for all amenities in these lake parks between the levees.

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Problem is, their dreams don’t line up with reality.

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Council members criticized artist renderings that the trust’s president and CEO Gail Thomas presented with Assistant City Manager Jill Jordan.

The “scale and magnitude” of the Trinity Tollway is misrepresented, councilman Scott Griggs said.

Artistic drawings of the trust’s “dreams” show the toll road as four lanes, while official plans call for six-lanes. Also, barrier walls and obtrusive on-ramps aren’t shown.

The tollway shouldn’t be sold on “a lot of watercolors” that aren’t realistic, says Griggs, who helped push the Trinity Skyline Trail project forward.

“We need to be brutally honest with the citizens about what this is going to look like,” Griggs said.

There are so many jails that side of the Trinity that you can haze over them even in your dreams. This drawing shows the now-closed state jail facility, but drawings avoid any angle of the massive county jail.
There are so many jails on the Trinity that we can’t haze over them even in our dreams. This drawing shows the now-closed state jail facility, but drawings avoid any angle of the massive county jail.

The artist renderings also show groves of trees surrounding the lakes even though the Army Corps of Engineers prohibits trees from being planted in the flood way. However Jordan said some trees would be required to sustain water levels in the lakes and that the corps likely would allow trees near the lakes as long as their positioning is engineered properly.

Please excuse these pictures, taken on an iPhone from TV
A view of Interstate 30’s future Margaret McDermott bridge, from the dreamed western shore of an imagined Trinity River lake. (Please excuse these pics, taken on an iPhone from TV; use your imagination.)

The city already has funding to excavate and lay clay caps on two small lakes, about 8.5 acres and 14.5 acres respectively. By comparison, White Rock Lake is about 1,000 acres.

The larger lake would flow under the Commerce Bridge, its eastern edge nearing Interstate 30. The smaller lake would connect to that by a channel to the west, toward the Continental Bridge

A third lake also is conceptualized and would connect on the west side of the Continental Bridge lake.

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Councilwoman Sandy Greyson questioned whether the third lake would be funded anytime soon, and Thomas admitted it was “really dreaming.”

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  • Bryan Rutherford

    “However Jordan said some trees would be required
    to sustain water levels in the lakes and that the corps likely would allow
    trees near the lakes as long as their positioning is engineered properly.”

    “I am very comfortable with their [the Corps’] position.” – former Mayor Tom Leppert, commenting in 2007 that the Army Corps of Engineers would allow a major toll road to be placed within the levees.

    But the Corps said: “We haven’t signed off on anything.”

  • Juliette

    Rachel~You ought to attend the “What Makes a City” conference tomorrow, 10/23 at the Latino Center, co-presented by the Dallas Institute, The Trinity Trust and Dallas CityDesign Studio. There will be more discussion of this plan by the designer/speaker Ignacio Bunster-Ossa. Let me know if you want to go.