City News Roundup

Trinity toll road puffery paves the way for this week's Dallas city news roundup

Trinity toll road puffery paves way for this week's city news recap

Everyone was talking about the Trinity toll road this week; the topic was on everyone's lips. There was also some PAC action on the I-345. We channel Gilda Radner for our city-of-Dallas news weekend update:

Dream team preview
The dream team, now a dozen strong, assembled by Mayor Mike Rawlings to advise us local yokels as to whether or not the Trinity toll road is a good idea, shared a preview of its forthcoming analysis, and the news is great: Larry Beasley, the dream team's jury foreman, says that our traffic doesn't warrant a big six-lane road, and the panel will recommend "a meandering, four-lane road" instead.

Rawlings' response was that 1) he was glad they came up with the idea of a narrower, meandering road, and yet 2) he also fully supports the eventual construction of a six-lane toll road. It's all good!

What would Gilda say
Just two days before the dream team came out with their preview, the Dallas Business Journal provided an unfettered forum for the pro-toll road forces to promote the cause. Alice Murray, president of the Dallas Citizens Council, wrote an impatiently titled essay called, "Let's get on with the Trinity Parkway toll road," and to get the full effect, it really needs to be read aloud in a Roseanne Roseannadanna voice.

"No matter how strong and well-conceived a plan to move Dallas forward is, there always seem to be a few naysayers who just don't want to see change happen," Roseannadanna Murray says.

The essay has a number of features: a bulleted list of benefits, because bullets convey authority; a pro-toll road website called; and an "indeed," because every pompous treatise must have an "indeed."

I-345 PAC
A new political action committee was formed to advocate the tear-down of I-345, with some serious money raised and an all-star crew that includes D Magazine co-founder Wick Allison and former State Sen. John Carona. According to a release, the PAC launches with contributions of more than $255,000 and supports proposals made by urban designer Patrick Kennedy and entrepreneur Brandon Hancock, who co-founded the nonprofit A New Dallas, to recommend removing the freeway as it approaches the end of its lifespan.

The PAC hasn't begun endorsing candidates, because the deadline to file for the May 9 election is not until February 27.

Big wheels
Following a pattern of oblivious disregard for local flora and fauna, the City of Dallas claims it is not responsible for decimating a plot of land in the McCommas Bluff Nature Preserve. The decimation was first noted on the Dallas Trinity Trails blog, who had before-and-after photos taken on April 19, 2014, and February 8, 2015. "The devastation is wholesale to a wet meadow area known for spectacular wildflowers," said author Ben Sandifer.

But a city spokesperson said that the damages were due to "stolen contractor equipment which was taken to the site to be vandalized and abandoned." A John Deere tractor belonging to a company named Cowboy Sewer was reported missing over Thanksgiving weekend. But by February 11, when the Dallas Water Utilities department went to investigate, the tractor was no longer there.

Is it really that easy to move a tractor around undetected? So confusing.

Trinity toll road
Ta-da: The latest rendering of the Trinity toll road, this one without wind turbines. Courtesy photo
Gilda Radner as Roseanne Rosannadanna
Imagine this person's voice as you read the pro-toll road column written by Dallas Citizens Council.  Courtesy photo
Ben Sandifer
Decimated plot in McCommas Bluff Nature Preserve. Photo courtesy of Ben Sandifer