Dallas city news this week was loaded with entertaining thrills, all of it surrounding the Trinity toll road. The back-and-forth was like a tennis match, if the anti-toll-road crowd were tennis ace Billie Jean King and the pro-toll-road crowd were the buffoonish Bobby Riggs. On to the volleys and lobs.
Guy from Arkansas likes toll road
The Dallas Morning News set the week off by publishing an opinion piece applauding the toll road written by Al Petrasek, retiree, resident of Hot Springs and former president of the Trinity Commons Foundation, the organization pushing the toll road.
Petrasek's column was silly, but the real action lay in the the comments, which eviscerated the column and the newspaper's failure to note that, as a former executive at HDR Engineering (which has a vested interest in the tollroad), Petrasek stands to benefit via his former employer's profit sharing program.
Reinforcing the theory of "induced demand" often stated by urban designer Patrick Kennedy — that building more freeways ultimately increases traffic — the DMN determined that the toll road will increase congestion on roadways currently used by commuters in South Dallas.
Although the toll road is anticipated to reduce the number of drivers using the Canyon and Mixmaster, it will increase congestion on portions of I-45 and US 175.
"When analyzed, the data in the federal documents makes clear what for years has hardly been talked about: Trinity Parkway isn't just a traffic reducer, it's a traffic creator," says DMN writer Brandon Formby.
Dream Team time!
Mayor Mike Rawlings announced that the Dream Team hired to study the toll road will finally deliver its report, not at a public forum, but instead at a $125-a-head Trinity Commons Foundation luncheon on April 14, with an address by Dream Team foreman Larry Beasley. The Dallas City Council will then have a special meeting on April 16 to debate the toll road. Set your Twitter to Philip Kingston.
Rawlings also identified the folks who funded the Dream Team: Dallas Citizens Council chairman Clint McDonnough; Richard Knight, a contractor and former city manager; Ambit Energy founder Jere Thompson Jr.; Peter Beck, of Beck Group design and construction firm; arts board members Deedie Rose and Mary McDermott Cook; and organizations such as the Dallas Citizens Council, Trinity Commons Foundation, Real Estate Council and Dallas Regional Chamber of Commerce. There are also two entities who wish to remain anonymous; oh to know who they might be.
Larry Beasley Day
April 14 will continue to be Larry Beasley Day in Dallas, as the Dream Team foreman will participate in an intimate conversation at the Trinity Center at 5:30 pm, which the unwashed public can attend. RSVPs are encouraged: Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 214-740-1616.
Toll road thumbs down
Another group came out against the toll road, this time the Greater Dallas Planning Council, whose stated mission is to advocate for a creative sustainable future for Dallas. A 10-member committee concluded that "Toll Road Alternative 3C does not contain elements that will contribute to enabling a livable urban core. ... Alternative 3C is likely to create physical and social barriers between and among communities. Therefore, the GDPC does not support construction of the proposed Trinity Toll Road Alternative 3C."