photo by Danny Fulgencio

photo by Danny Fulgencio

Mayor Mike Rawlings’ dream team of urban planners have familiarized themselves with the proposed Trinity River Corridor Project and created a design charrette.

Their full report will be available late this spring. But the Trinity Commons Foundation released an overview of their findings Wednesday.

Since public opinion has begun turning against the plan to build a toll road in the Trinity River corridor, much of it reads like a public relations plan. But there is some stuff in there about design too.

Here it is, in its entirety:


In early December, 2014, a group of nationally and internationally recognized experts in the fields of transportation, city design, and urban infrastructure economics were invited to Dallas to familiarize themselves with the Trinity River Corridor Project and plan a design charrette focused on the transportation aspects of the Trinity project. The planning efforts and the charrette were funded primarily with contributions from various civic organizations.

The charge to the group was to plan a charrette* that would examine the parkway plans as contained in the Environmental Impact Study (EIS) in relation to the park, downtown, and surrounding neighborhoods. The goal was to maximize connectivity, aesthetics, and economic opportunities of the parkway.

Planning Session

The participants in the planning session for the Trinity Design Charrette affirmed the values, principles, and intentions of the Balanced Vision Plan to create a grand park, parkway, and vibrant, urban development along the Trinity River. They believe the realization of this vision will provide transformative change to Dallas, uniting the city and its residents through a parkway and river park, and stimulating economic development within neighborhoods along the Trinity River corridor. They developed a list of discussion topics, goals and objectives for a charrette to examine the latitude of design options within the current constraints of the EIS.

At the completion of the planning exercise the joint statement (below) was composed to guide the charrette.

What guides us

The Trinity Design Charrette will advance three key near-term outcomes:

An actionable vision and narrative, in both words and pictures, for the park, the riverfront neighborhoods, and the road.
The design options for the road and its interface with the park and the neighborhoods.
A clear process to document deliver, and sustain over time a specific design direction to the project partners.
This is a design process guided by long-term principles for a unified road, park, and neighborhood. We will conceptualize a project that supports the future of the riverfront neighborhoods and the region by:

Designing, the road to:

Celebrate the Trinity River Park, with views of its full array of recreational and environmental assets.
Celebrate and advance the City’s Balance Vision Plan goals, including
Economic & Community Development
Flood Control
Recreation & Open Space
Environmental Management
Multi-modal transportation
Define a viable strategy for moving forward within the legal constraints of the EIS process, and the USACE floodway rules.

This will:

Celebrate the River as an iconic destination, activated by the interface of the park, the parkway and economic development. [Activation] Connect the city to the river and the river to the city. [Connectivity] Support vibrant, diverse neighborhoods with significant population and real estate value along both sides of the river, delivering the amenities and public goods necessary for a livable Dallas.

Define the identity and brand of the Trinity River to anchor the city.

Design Charrette

Following the guidelines and goals set forth in the preceding statement, the design charrette will be held in February with an expanded group of experts.

A complete report/presentation will be available for review and consideration by the Mayor, Dallas City Council, and residents of Dallas as quickly as background research and production can be completed following the charrette, probably late this spring.

As of January, 2015, this planning work is supported by the following groups:

Dallas Black Chamber of Commerce
Dallas Citizens Council
Dallas Regional Chamber
The Real Estate Council
Trinity Commons Foundation
Stemmons Corridor Business Association

* charrette | The word charrette may refer to any collaborative session in which a group of designers drafts a solution to a design problem. While the structure of a charrette varies, depending on the design problem and the individuals in the group, charrettes often take place in multiple sessions in which the group divides into sub-groups. Each sub-group then presents its work to the full group as material for further dialogue. Such charrettes serve as a way of quickly generating a design solution while integrating the aptitudes and interests of a diverse group of people.