Theme of Today's Trinity Corridor Project Meeting: "Where's the Money Coming From?"

BelleviewConnector2.JPG
The Belleview Connector, which has no funding. Which doesn't stop Dallas.
Yesterday, we sneak-peeked a couple of the big-ticket items on the Trinity River Corridor Project Committee's agenda. Question is: How'd they sit with council members? First up, let's visit that Belleview Connector, the estimated $9.5- to $11-million hike-n-bike bridge described by HALFF Associates designer Francois de Kock this morning as a "dramatic icon" and a "destination."

If and when it's ever built, the bridge should provide sweeping views of downtown, the Cedars and West Dallas. But de Kock told the council the bridge will be a destination in its own right just due to the "sheer quality of its design." 

At which point, Ann Margolin asked the same question posted by the Friends of Unfair Park: "So, where's the money coming from?" (It was her refrain for the day, as you'll soon find out.)

"I question the need for another iconic bridge," she said, conceding that while the design may be beautiful, she's troubled by the idea that a cash-strapped city would be footing even part of the bill (which Dallas already has for the design). Margolin was told by Trinity Project officials that they're looking at future bond projects for funding. And, fingers crossed, adjacent property owners may also contribute.

The council also talked about that Riverfront Boulevard redo.

Alan Hendrix, assistant director of Public Works, presented five options (see slide 23) for Riverfront Boulevard, covering that stretch from Cadiz Street to Continental Avenue. They range from practical and affordable (keep and fix what's already there) to the more extravagant and pricey (six to eight lanes for vehicular traffic, plus one to two bike lanes).

(Incidentally, far as Patrick "Car-Free" Kennedy's concerned, none of them are worth much of a damn: "Where is a pedestrian to go? Spin around in circles? Do laps around the jail? Where are they to come from? Helicopter in? A new stealth blackhawk in every garage perhaps?")

Margolin wondered "whether eight lanes would be needed for added development ... when we really don't see any development on the horizon." She requested a project configuration "that stays within budget."

The eight-lane option currently has a $13.9 million shortfall; the six-lane option is around $1.4 million short.

Linda Koop asked for an explanation of traffic projections in the area in order to gauge which option would be most practical. Vonciel Jones Hill added that she was concerned about funding for the project, whose costs are shared by the city and county.

riverfront.jpg
One slide in the presentation (at left), an orange area adjacent to the Dallas County Jail represents potential new development. Hill said she "can't fathom" what developers could do with that land. Steve Salazar, the outgoing council member currently serving as the committee's vice-chair, insisted that the parks and amenities planned around the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge would "dwarf what the jail is."

In other words, "If you build it, they will come," though the if, it, who and when will only become clear in the next several years. Much of the orange land was recently purchased by local developers. 

The Riverfront Boulevard item was tabled until next month's meeting, when more specific contextual information about funding and traffic will be presented.

Also on the agenda: the Coombs Creek Trail extension. Again, Margolin asked, "What is the source of funding for this?" She added, "And the reason this is coming to our attention now is what?" 

To which Hendrix responded that the purpose was simply to "begin the education process". The thing isn't funded. Which never stopped the city of Dallas.

My Voice Nation Help
40 comments
Sort: Newest | Oldest
Car 54
Car 54

usually, when I'm getting screwed, I'm screaming "oh, baby, yes, yes, yes!"  and then roll over and grab a cigarette.

Somehow this one wasn't any fun, and I don't even have any smokes. 

Billy MacLeod
Billy MacLeod

By even talking about these plans we are adding value to this orange property's value. Who bought the land in Orange and are they currently seeking financing for the projects?? I believe that the answer to these questions will be the most interesting part of this debate. Is it just me or does it seem like the City of Dallas is working on their behalf?

Hollahtrava
Hollahtrava

Is it my eyes playing tricks, or does that pictorial of the pedestrian bridge show the end of it just dumping people into a 2 story abyss in the center of a circular walkway? Or do they intend for people to slide down the pole?

Jane Smith
Jane Smith

SHOW ME THE MONEY!!!!>>>>>>Oh, no problem we'll just sell some of them there bonds. 

Stacy
Stacy

 6 to 8 lanes for River Front Blvd??? Are they insane??? Preston, McKinney, Ross, Oak Lawn, Lovers, Mockingbird, NW Highway, Harry Hines and Greenville Ave are the major arteries in Dallas and none of them are 8 lanes..4 to 6 yes...but all of them are just fine and none of them need to be 4 lanes each w/ 2 seperate bicycle lanes...if anything needs 2 separate bike lanes it's McKinney Ave....Also correct me if I'm wrong but isn't the Trinity River Corridor suppose to increase a more urban environment for Dallas.....Last I checked 8 lane roads w/ 2 bike lanes are not a walkable urban environment....

Brenda Marks
Brenda Marks

Stacy, you're right.  But as the pretty little powerpoint says, the city staff's purpose for this 8-lane freeway is to be a connector route for the Trinity Floodway highspeed tollroad (which is really funny seeing as how the speed limit they have set for their brand-spanking-new 8-lane connector route with trucks is 35 miles per hour).  If you look at this in totality, it's even more insane than is apparent on its face.

Juan Valdez
Juan Valdez

Walkable in Dallas from your car to whatever building.Remember 8 lanes is better than 4, when you bought property in an area that can be zoned as commercial. They dont care about the park, its all about the properties they bought.

elbueno
elbueno

...which aren't worth crap without the park. 

scottindallas
scottindallas

 Stacy, one major difference is that it wouldn't cost a ton of money to expand that to six lanes with proper turn cuts here as it would on those other streets.  The difference is land value.  That area is about to totally blight out with the change in the wet/dry laws.  The cost of buying a bit of extra land in the inevitable eminent domain case would be nominal, and arguably the city can argue they are enhancing the value of those lots, and the neighborhood with these improvements.  On those other streets, the land value is much higher.  As evidence of that, every inch has been accounted for.  Widening the roads just a bit, might cut parking, or even cut into buildings.  Considering we are seeking to widen sidewalks, the scarcity of the land here is even more paramount. 

Stacy
Stacy

 u totally missed the point of my comment....of all of those streets I listed NONE are 8 lanes and they are all Major thoroughfares through our city......River Front Blvd...is not a major thoroughfare from Cadiz to Continental which is what is being widen...so what is the reasoning of turning Riverfront Blvd to 9 lanes...counting the 2 bicycle lanes... Basically we are building a street the width of a FREEWAY for a residential/ commercial area that dosn't exist at the moment...This road will be  drastically underutilized ...also look at the bigger picture...we have a 12 lane freeway "35" located 50 ft from a a 9 lane road "river front" which is another 50 ft from a 8 lane freeway " trinity expressway".....all blocking the park whose main purpose is to create " a continuation of downtown Dallas to the river" as stated by the trinity river foundation....This makes no sense........Downtown Dallas Inc has stated several times that the freeway ring around downtown Dallas was a mistake.....looks like we haven't learned our leasson cause were doing it again.....

Jane Smith
Jane Smith

It makes ya' wonder who owns all of the land they will buy for this "supersize" right-of-way???? 

Montemalone
Montemalone

 All that land done already been bought long time ago by the boys and girls what wanted that Trinity Floodway Parkway. That's the whole point.

cynical old bastard
cynical old bastard

 " Margolin was told by Trinity Project officials that they're looking at future bond projects for funding."

Why do so many people think the "bond money" is not real money?  The fastest growing segment of the City budget is debt service.  From paying interest on bonds!!!  Issuing bonds is deficit spending.  Haven't we all figured out that now is not the time for running up the credit cards?

Jane Smith
Jane Smith

Do you mean to tell me that the bond money isn't free? 

Montemalone
Montemalone

 The rich folks LOOOOOOOVE bond money. Munis provide tax-free interest income, so they buy the bonds, then get paid back with ever higher property taxes from the idiots that keep voting for these stupid projects.

Sam_Merten
Sam_Merten

Patrick Kennedy's spot-on here. Why is the city trying to make that area pedestrian-friendly when there's nothing around it that's pedestrian-friendly? A total waste of dough.

Montemalone
Montemalone

 Just out of view is a multi-story parking garage so people can drive to the bridge and then pedestrianize it.

Brenda Marks
Brenda Marks

Eight lanes is just flat stupid.  And as it says on page 5 of the pretty little powerpoint linked to and a "trade off" to serve as the "collector/distributor for Parkway trips destined to or from downtown and the lower Stemmons."  In other words, that beautiful highspeed tollway in a floodway.  Really?

My favorite is the pretty little picture at page 20 of the "Trinity Gateway Development" that shows deep water boat slips with yachts parked in them.  Like we are Tampa Bay something.  Who in the world comes up with this stuff?

Jane Smith
Jane Smith

.....highly paid (by the City) consultants that can make anything look pretty in an artisitic rendering.......that's who comes up with ths stuff.........and the taxpayers just keep on paying........... 

scottindallas
scottindallas

 Yeah, I'm all for 6 lanes, put in nicer curbs, sidewalks.  Take a bit of land for pull-offs for turning traffic, correct any intersections that are problematic, plant a few trees.  Why does this have to be so fancy.  That area really does have some promise.  The change in the liquor laws will cause many of those liquor/beer stores will vanish.  The development in West Dallas, across the bridge should improve traffic there too.  Law offices, restaurants, couriers, perhaps a kinkos, even potentially a grocery store--if West Dallas grows.  I'm sure there are other businesses might like to office there. 

Montemalone
Montemalone

 I wish they'd share what they're smokin' with the rest of us.I wanna see a big, blue, boat filled lake:)

MattL1
MattL1

Wow, there's a lot to wrap my head around here.  First, there's that bridge at the top, which judging from the rendering takes you from Bill's Records and dumps you over the train tracks.  Are there trails there now?  Will there be?  What I am sure of is that the land referenced definitely doesn't look anything like how it's depicted, and getting it even close to that will take more than this city can muster. 

Second, are there still parks and "amenities" planned around the MHH bridge?  I thought that was a pipedream at this point.  I also don't see how it's possible to turn Industrial Blvd. into a Texan Champs-Elysees without getting rid of everything on it, but I'm not an urban planner.

Finally, does Patrick Kennedy's drivers license state his middle name as "Car-Free"?

Justin C
Justin C

yes, it does, he showed it to me 

Juan Valdez
Juan Valdez

"Francois de Kock"....you must be joking. lol 

Pete
Pete

and why is that so funny - according to my sources it's true. Personally a trained architect myself, I think it's an excellent design.

Engmofo
Engmofo

He was lucky his parents didn't call him Louvin

Bill Holston
Bill Holston

stop stop stop. Enough with the bridges! Here's a news flash, we are not built on a body of water. Water does not define Dallas. Prairie does.Yes we have the great trinity forest, which is still an underutilized resource. Please do not spend one more dollar on non UTILITARIAN bridges. If you need money for roads or functional bridges great. Spend money on that.

I love the Brooklyn Bridge, but it's design was utilitarian. It was built to cross a real body of water.

Randell Weatherall Jr
Randell Weatherall Jr

Even though the bridges will cross water, a little research shows that there are nice bridges over all kinds of things.  Over buildings, over other bridges and roadways, and yes, Calatrava has done them over prairies.  We live in a less waterfilled area so everything should be plain?

Bill Holston
Bill Holston

 good point Randell. I just don't get our preoccupation with bridges in a landlocked city. Seems like better uses of limited resources. Ben's project mentioned below seems like a reasonable use of those resources

Jane Smith
Jane Smith

........but it is so much fun to build these useless bridges with all of this "FREE" money......... 

Ben
Ben

The city is actually building a nice bridge that will be very useful in the future:

http://img220.imageshack.us/im...

It will connect the TRAC property across to the south bank of the Trinity. $2.6 million pricetag. No idea what the finished bridge is supposed to look like. I imagine it will look like River Legacy's bridge in Arlington. On foot it takes about an hour to get to this spot from the nearest piece of pavement. Remote.

From the city pdf: "Trinity Trails Phase 2 constructs over two miles of trails that tie to Phase 1 along the Simpson Stuart Road right of way and heads north easterly along the Trinity River where it crosses the river ontoMcCommas Preserve and heads towards the Trinity River Audubon Center. The trail ends at a new trallhead parking lot just north of the Trinity River Audubon Center. This project includes trailhead amenities such as an information kiosk, drinking fountain,trash receptacle and landscaping."

yeahIsaidthat
yeahIsaidthat

Looking at this rendering....my opinion is that A. the city should have NOT given Calatrava another $10 million.B. allow the state to build a plain vanilla I35 bridge, no bling.C. apply any left over money to this bridge on the south side as it does what it needs to do in     a much more cohesive design and helps to boost that side of town.

correction
correction

This is not the Calatrava bridge.  It extends a bike/pedestrian trail over the rail tracks, not the Trinity.

Montemalone
Montemalone

"Much of the orange land was recently purchased by local developers."

Therein lies the solution to the problem of where to obtain funding for the improvements to Industrial Blvd. (I refuse to call it the other name). Assess the property owners.

Thelisma Partridge
Thelisma Partridge

"Much of the orange land was recently purchased by local developers."I think much could be explained by telling us from whom those developers purchased said orange land.

Insider trading, anyone? 

G_David
G_David

 Is that perhaps because you can't actually see the "river" from anywhere on that road?

Jane Smith
Jane Smith

Most of the time the river is merely a trickle anyway.......... 

Now Trending

Dallas Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

General

Loading...