Plan B Clarification: Connecting I-20 to Loop 12 Via Walton Walker

I’ve gotten quite a bit of positive feedback from my Trinity River Project Plan B editorial in today’s DMN, but a couple of people have pointed out that my editorial is a bit unclear on one point.

In the editorial, I recommend we close the I-635 loop on the west side of the city by linking the western portion of Loop 12 to I-20. A couple of folks were quick to point out the fact that Loop 12 already connects to I-20 via Spur 408.

They are correct, of course, but I was proposing a different route, one along Walton Walker Boulevard. The original editorial I sent to the Dallas Morning News was nearly a thousand words, which they kindly informed me was too long by a mere 400 words. I spent a couple of hours chopping away, trying to keep the same basic premise without losing the gist of my points, and came in right at their maximum. In the original editorial I sent them, I more thoroughly described the connection:

“Complete the 635 Loop by connecting I-20 with Walton Walker and the western portion of Loop 12. This will give inland port and NAFTA Trade Corridor traffic a simpler, faster route around Downtown instead of through it.”

I decided to remove the Walton Walker reference for brevity’s sake, assuming it was clear that the missing link I was proposing was an eastern route connecting Loop 12 to I-20, not a western route that already existed. Now I realize I should have kept in those three words for clarity.

Another edit from the original editorial had to do with the nature of our proposed Trinity Park:

“Making the Trinity an amazing place for people to gather isn’t about building a white water rafting course or constructing iconic bridges. It’s about creating great access to an already remarkable swath of greenspace. If we focus on creating entry points to the park, people – and adjacent development – will come.”

Today, the only way I know of to get to the park from the Downtown side is from Sylvan Ave. We could build all the lakes in the world down there, but without access, the park will remain as vacant as it is today (save for Crow Park at Sylvan Avenue). The park is already amazing as it is. The lakes will add to that. But in the meantime, all we need to do is add the planned trails, put in vehicular ramps and parking areas, and create pedestrian and bicycle linkages. That will go a long way towards opening up the park.