Nicholas McWhirter, AIA
Credit: Nicholas McWhirter, AIA
Robert Bullis
Contributed by:
Robert Bullis

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AIA Dallas Urges City Council to Walk Away From Trinity Toll Road

From my speech to the Dallas City Council at their meeting on April 16, 2015. Remarks were amended at the time of presentation for brevity.

Honorable Mayor and City Council:

Thank you for your service to our great city.

AIA Dallas represents 2,000 architects and 300 local architecture firms in Dallas. Many of members are considered experts on transportation issues at the regional and national level. We (AIA Dallas) have been stewards of the Trinity Park vision since its inception in 1999 and were stakeholders in the 2003 Balanced Vision Plan.

On March 18th, AIA Dallas issued a succinct, yet compelling, position on the Trinity Toll Road. We stated (in summary) that we are for a great Trinity Park and are against the Alternate 3C highway design. We reaffirm this position today.

Mr. Mayor, when our AIA delegation met with you on February 24th, you shared with us that this road was a legacy issue for you. You pointed to a photo of the Potomac Parkway in Washington, D.C. referenced in the Balanced Vision Plan and said - with great conviction - I am for this road; I am not for the road depicted in the 3C submittal.

We agree with you. It would seem that we are both for the road that Larry Beasley described as a “gracious and harmonious parkway”. We urge you to take the next step. Implement your Dream Team’s vision.  

Members of City Council, we clearly stated in our press release yesterday that we embrace the Dream Team’s parkway design. We ask you to make three very important decisions today:

1. First, embrace the meandering low speed non-tolled parkway. Walk away from the 3C highway.
2. Second, take this opportunity to withdraw from the NTTA contract that has placed excessive design restrictions on this Trinity Parkway; and
3. Third, appoint an oversight team comprised of Dream Team members, local design organizations and private citizens to oversee the design and planning process going forward.

Let us all coalesce around the Dream Team’s vision so that philanthropists and adjacent land owners will have a clear and compelling reason to invest in the park and in their neighborhoods. Unleash the power of their investment through clarity of vision, certainty of conviction and quality of design.

As Larry Beasley said, “we don’t need an aggressive new highway within this wonderful park. Don’t let it happen. Go for something a lot better - a gracious and harmonious parkway done in a gentle and human way - with nature as its inspiration and the park as its client."

AIA Dallas stands ready to work with City Council, the Mayor, the Dream Team and citizens of Dallas to deliver a Trinity Parkway that complements and is worthy of our great Trinity Park.