Four things to know about the Trinity toll road plan

01 OC Trinity overlook_opt

Mayor Mike Rawlings presented a plan for realistically designing the Trinity Parkway in a meeting in West Dallas Wednesday morning.

Rawlings calls the plan “the most transformative capital project for Dallas in the 21st century.” And he says too may people are bashing the project unduly because no one knows what it actually will look like.

Here are four things everyone should know about the mayor’s comments and the plan going forward:

1. A “record of decision” from the Federal Highway Administration is expected in the first three months of 2015. The decision could say “no,” or it could give the toll road a green light.

2. If the project is green-lighted, the North Texas Tollway Authority will then decide whether the project is financially viable for them.

3. The mayor and toll road supporters have compiled a “dream team” of six urban planners. They are:

Larry Beasley, who was a director of planning for the city of Vancouver, B.C., Canada and is a professor at the University of British Columbia;

John Alschuler, a New York City-based expert in urban finance, the revitalization of urban areas and waterfront redevelopment;

Allan Jacobs, a professor emeritus of  city and regional planning at the University of California at Berkeley;

Alex Krieger, a Harvard University professor of urban design;

Elizabeth Macdonald, an associate professor of urban design at UC Berkeley; and

Jeff Tumlin, a San Francisco-based urban planner who “is renowned for helping people define what they value and building consensus on complex and controversial projects.”

4. The six are working on a design for the toll road and will present it in a series of charrettes in December and January. After that, they will rework the designs based on feedback gained from the charrettes.

By |2014-11-19T23:53:22-05:00November 20th, 2014|City Hall, Development, News|9 Comments

About the Author:

Rachel Stone is the Oak Cliff editor. Email or follow                                     


  1. […] with the charrettes that inevitably will come with presentations for the Trinity toll road from Mayor Mike Rawlings’ “dream team” of urban planners. Hunt says the toll road plan cannot in reality be reworked without restarting the lengthy process […]

  2. Lolotehe November 20, 2014 at 3:01 PM

    This is a great opportunity for Dallas! Just think of all the hotel, rental car, restaurant business will come pouring in when all the engineers and civil planners from around the world come to see the direct results of building a road in a flood-plain. We might even get an effect named after us!

  3. dallasmay November 20, 2014 at 2:51 PM

    5) The design team is a sham. The project is in permitting now and major changes would cause the process to start all over – potentially adding up to a decade for the project.

  4. Raymond M. Crawford November 20, 2014 at 2:12 PM

    Don’t take your eyes off of The Southern Gateway project. This privately funded project will begin at Colorado Blvd go South down RL Thornton and then split down BOTH Highway 67 to Pleasant Run and 35 to Danieldale….WITH TOLL LANES, or did Dallas City Hall forget to tell Oak Cliff residents that a project like LBJ was coming to Oak Cliff?

    Scott Griggs is hosting a meeting about it in January at Hitt Auditorium.

  5. […] mayor is pushing the plan forward with a “dream team” of six out-of-state urban planners, hired with private donations, to design the road and Trinity […]

  6. Lucas Cepak November 20, 2014 at 10:54 AM

    5. The actual layout of the Toll Road (8-10 lanes of high-speed highway) can NOT change without starting the Federal Review process over again.

  7. downtownworker November 20, 2014 at 10:20 AM

    Don’t let the mayor fool you into thinking this road can be redesigned. Can the “dream team” make it prettier? Sure… I guess Central Expressway looks better with its grassy median than without it, but the concept of a high-speed, 8-10 lane road with elevated ramps will not change.

    If this design were not finalized, then how could the feds give a record of decision 3 months from now? They will not sign off on something that is still in the early design phase.

  8. Rick Wamre November 20, 2014 at 10:09 AM

    I had to look up the meaning of “charrettes” to understand what it means: “A meeting in which all stakeholders in a project attempt to resolve conflicts and map solutions.” Think that’s going to result in a unanimous decision?

  9. dallaschas November 20, 2014 at 10:03 AM

    As Councilman Griggs states, we need more clarity behind the tollway redesign. Frankly, this road has morphed terribly far from what voters that we approved many years ago. If it remains a high speed, limited access toll road, then it can never be the parkway that was pitched to voters to provide local access to the myriad of park improvements planned in the Trinity floodway. We will only get to build this road once in our lifetimes. We either need to build it right or not build it…ever. A regional high speed tollway is inappropriate in the floodway as it cannot be used during flood periods and it will prevent Dallas citizens from realizing the full recreational potential of the Trinity River park.

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