What a great day for the City of Dallas!
Since 1998, when voters approved the Trinity River Corridor Project, Dallas residents have looked forward to the day that they would see the immense greenspace between our levees transformed into an incredible urban park.
We are excited to announce that that vision will finally become a reality.
Last summer, Councilmember Scott Griggs and I met up at the Trinity Overlook and walked down the length of the Trinity Floodway. We talked about how amazing it would be to create trails along the Trinity River that would draw people to this hidden gem in the heart of our city.
Hike and bike trails have proven incredibly popular in Dallas. Visit the Katy Trail on a beautiful day and you’ll find it packed with cyclists and joggers and baby strollers and skaters and walkers. There is clearly an overwhelming demand for urban trails in Dallas.
So when city staff informed us three weeks ago that the city had an additional $42m available in the upcoming 2012 bond program, and each council district and the mayor would have the opportunity to program $2.8m towards bond projects, we saw the perfect opportunity to finally move forward on the Trinity Park.
We allocated all of our combined $5.6m towards the construction of floodway maintenance roads along the Trinity River that can also serve as hike and bike trails. The mayor joined us, contributing half a million dollars, and shared our enthusiasm about moving forward on the Trinity Park.
With over six million dollars, we will be able to build a 4.5 mile, winding, 16 foot wide concrete road down in the floor of the floodway, stretching from the Sylvan Bridge to the Santa Fe Trestle in Moore Park. (To put this in perspective, the Katy Trail is 3.75 miles long.) Only occasionally will maintenance vehicles use this road, and it will be closed to public vehicles. The rest of the time, it can be used as a hike and bike trail.
One of the most important aspects of this project is the linkages it will create between north and south Dallas. This project will connect the Trinity Strand Trail, the Katy Trail, the Continental pedestrian bridge, Coombs Creek Trail, Eloise Lundy Park, and the Santa Fe Trail.
The next step is for voters to approve the 2012 Bond Program in November (this project will be part of the Streets Proposition). If that passes, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers gives us the go ahead, the project could be finished as early as mid-2014.
Today is the first step towards a dream so many of us have had, for so long, for the Trinity River: To transform this beautiful natural asset into a great urban park. Despite our different perspectives on the Trinity Toll Road, we all agree that it’s time to move forward on a Trinity Park we can enjoy today.