Despite pressure to move ahead on the Trinity Trails project, the council committee this afternoon delayed a vote on the matter, but not for long. They plan to bring it to the full council at the first available briefing time. You can see today’s briefing here.
Back in August 2012, Mayor Mike Rawlings and councilmembers Angela Hunt and Scott Griggs unveiled a plan to accelerate the project with $6.4 million worth of 2012 bond money. They proposed building a 4.5-mile hike and bike trail on the Oak Cliff side of the Trinity basin that would share the existing, unpaved maintenance road and create important connections to Moore and Lundy parks. The 16-foot-wide trail eventually would join up with the Katy Trail and the Santa Fe Trestle Trail.
After nearly a year of no action, Griggs called this a “bait and switch,” expressing many people’s frustrations about the lack of movement on the issue even after there seemed to be plenty of support. “We want life between these levees … Let’s cut through the red tape and get it done.” he says, noting it’s the small projects that make things happen.
The Dallas Morning News wrote an editorial last week, telling the council to stop dragging its feet on this one. Jim Schutze at the Dallas Observer presented his theory that the whole Trinity River Corridor Project is about building a new highway — not a park.
The toll road partisans use private entities such as the Trinity Commons and Trinity Trust Foundations to foil and defeat any attempt to turn the riverfront into a real park. The last thing they want is a bunch of beer-drinking citizens down there along the river with their dogs and Frisbees thinking it belongs to them. Instead, the partisans intend to keep the river downtown clean of citizenry so nothing will stand in the way of that road when they finally get a chance to build it.
But, today, Assistant City Manager Jill Jordan urged the council to slow down and consider the safety issues, which, Griggs noted, haven’t really been brought before the committee. Jordan expressed concern over the idea of cyclists and pedestrians sharing a road with maintenance vehicles. “That biker is going to be injured or dead. There’s a way to make it safer.”
So, we’re back to wait-and-see.