The city is set to unveil a model of the Trinity project Sept. 10, but Jim Schutze points out in this week’s Dallas Observer that the model is about the only visible progress on the project so far. We already knew that bridge construction has been delayed 10 months due to what was reported as steel fabrication problems; Schutze says the real reason for the delay is that it took the architect 10 extra months to "value engineer" the project — and I imagine there’s still some question about how that will all work out.
And Schutze says the tollway — the big centerpiece for the project and, as I recall the pre-election argument, the precursor to any meaningful construction of downtown lakes and parks — is still on the drawing board and moving glacially, owing to continued environmental and government studies about the intelligence of building the roadway into the earthen levees protecting downtown from the Trinity.
Schutze reminds us he thought the whole Trinity tollroad project was idiotic to begin with, so you can take his comments with a grain of salt, just as I imagine the entire downtown power structure does. Personally, I always believed in the concept of the park and what it would do to revitalize neighborhoods near downtown, but I figured that whatever plans we were being shown during the most recent election would probably go the way of the plans we saw in the first election — just so many nice-looking brochures that we’d never see again. In other words, I was pessimistic but hopeful.
But you have to admit that the way things have played out, Schutze looks to be correct: This whole thing is going nowhere fast, and the parks and lakes are the most likely casualties in the near-term.
Mayor Tom Leppert bragged after the election that the whole Trinity timetable was too slow and, gosh darn it, he was going to do something to speed it up. Well, he’s not saying that anymore. I haven’t heard him talk lately about how the Trinity park is going to be second only to New York’s Central Park as a municipal green space, either; in fact, there doesn’t seem to even be any funding on the horizon for that portion of the project. He bounced all over the city prior to the election promising us this stuff, and promising it quickly, but I’m betting he won’t be around to deliver, having moved on to some bigger political prize — Kay Bailey Hutchinson’s Senate seat, perhaps?
And here’s the real head-scratcher: As has been the case for the current council ever since Leppert’s election, there are only one or two voices who can be expected to raise any questions — much less vote against — anything Leppert supports.
C’mon, guys — aren’t the rest of you even a little curious about what’s going on down in the levee?