D Magazine: “Let’s Ditch the Trinity River Toll Road”

Wow.

If you haven’t read D Magazine‘s most recent article on the Trinity Toll Road, go out and buy the August issue — the one with Dirk on the cover — right now.  I’ll wait.

Ok, you’re too lazy (or cheap) for that, I get it.  Go the freebie route instead:  Head on over to D’s website and check out this bit of amazement:  “Let’s Ditch the Trinity River Toll Road:  It’s time to get on with a new plan for the park project we were promised.”

You read that right.  You were expecting maybe “Let’s Keep Hoping and Wishing for the Trinity Toll Road:  It Just Might Happen,” but no, D Magazine threw us all a curve ball.  Instead we got four solid reasons to abandon the road and get moving on the park:

1.  The Trinity Project’s funding does not depend on the toll road.

2. There’s no money to build it.

3.  The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is never going to approve it.

4.  Highways are bad for cities.

The piece is very well written by new D scribe Michael Mooney.  (And no, I don’t just say that because he wrote “Hunt has been right all along when it comes to the toll road.”  But that particular line was particularly well written.  Kudos, Mike.)  The only thing missing was an acknowledgment that The Dallas Observer‘s Jim Schutze has been right about the road since it was first proposed, but that may have been too much to ask for.

I know Jim and Buzz at The Observer are not as enthusiastic about this article as I am — noting that it didn’t come from publisher Wick Allison hisownself and there was no mea maxima culpa — but that didn’t bother me and here’s why:  This position represents a profound sea change for D Magazine.  D has long been one of the primary cheerleaders for this road and a good barometer for the powers-that-be.  If D is confident enough to take this unequivocal stand, that means the support for this road has all but evaporated.

Now, according to D, we should look at modern transportation alternatives and get moving on the park:

Scrapping the road won’t speed up the parks and the lakes. Nor will it delay them. And there’s good news: because the original bond involved so many aspects of development, the money that remains can be redirected to other parts of the project. It can be used to get a fresh, 21st-century take on better transportation options.

History will show that the vote to build this toll road was a mistake. An expensive error, sure, but hardly the city’s worst. Now it’s time to move on.

I couldn’t agree more.