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The Real Reason Mary Suhm and Jill Jordan are Killing the Trinity Trails

I know what you’re thinking. You think that the city staff pulled a bait-and-switch yesterday.

Some background: Last year, city manager Mary Suhm went to the City Council and told members that she had some surplus bond monies they could spend. Each person got an equal share. Angela Hunt wrote at the time about what she and Scott Griggs decided to do with their money:

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 $6 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.

Everyone signed off, including other council members, the DMN, assistant city manager Jill Jordan, and Suhm. Note that Hunt mentioned there would be maintenance vehicles there occasionally. No one thought this was a problem. Hunt told me just last week that this was one of the proudest accomplishments of her 8-year tenure.

What happened next caught everyone off guard.

Yesterday, city staff essentially told the Council that the proposal was too dangerous. They painted a picture of a volatile situation, wherein hikers and bikers would be swerving in and out from between maintenance trucks, blinded by dust devils whipped up by the trucks themselves.

The response from Hunt, Griggs, and even the DMN was one of outrage. Hunt called it “theater of the absurd.” Griggs put forth the bait-and-switch scenario. And even Sharon Grigsby at the DMN, an acknowledged moderate prone to seeing the glass half full, suggests this was political payback, pure and simple:

So was the trail proposal a bone thrown to Hunt so she would “shut up and go away” on the Pegasus-Horseshoe-Trinity fight? No doubt (although no one would really expect Hunt to “go away.”) But was it a bone that City Hall agreed to, knowing that it would be yanked back out of reach? That’s what yesterday’s hearing looked like to me.

I was inclined to agree. But then, just moments ago, I received a shocking revelation.

Suhm and Jordan should not be criticized for this. They should be praised.

I learned that highly paid consultants in the hike/bike/disaster industry staged a top-secret role-playing exercise to find out what would happen if we actually constructed the Trinity Trails connector and let innocent people into that pit of sorrow. This video shows how that exercise spun violently out of control, and how these people should be regarded as heroes for the horrors they’ve averted. Adios, motherf***er, indeed.