What AIA Dallas Thought About the Trinity Project in 2001

photo by Scott Womack
photo by Scott Womack

Last Thursday, in advance of the last public hearing on the Trinity toll road, I rushed to post a document I’d been given. It was an appendix to a full policy report on the Trinity project issued in 2001 by the Dallas chapter of the American Institute of Architects. None of this stuff was online. With only the undated, unsigned appendix — which said damning things about the proposed Trinity toll road — I asked the current AIA Dallas executive director, Jan Blackmon, if she could help me figure out the context in which the thing was written. Blackmon was able to track down an old hard copy of the full Trinity Policy document, which she scanned and sent to me. I’ve been meaning since then to put it online, because, as Blackmon pointed out to me, the appendix I posted was good for discussion, but the full document presents a complete picture of what her group was thinking back then, and, in her words, “it makes timeless recommendations that need to also be part of the discussion.”

If you don’t have the time or inclination to dive into the entire thing (it’s only 17 pages), here’s the group’s official stance on the road:

AIA recognizes the need for transportation improvements to allow Dallas to meet its mobility needs in the 21st century. However, AIA finds that the currently proposed high-speed, limited access tollway is inherently incompatible with the other goals of the Trinity River Corridor Project. AIA advocates a continuation of the search for a comprehensive system-wide “transportation vision” that 1) will relieve congestion in the “Canyon” and “Mismaster” and 2) will respect and enhance the recreational and economic development potential of the corridor.

Bear in mind that AIA made this recommendation 13 years ago. Since then, as Bob Meckfessel has said, the proposed road has only grown bigger and more intrusive. Any day now, AIA Dallas will issue an updated policy statement on the currently proposed road. Should be interesting.

UPDATE (2:36) — Meckfessel sent me an email in response to this post. With his permission:

Just read and enjoyed your most recent post. It will be interesting to see where things go from here.
One nit: believe it or not, the NTTA Alternate 3C of 2014 is actually smaller than the one AIA Dallas was looking at back in 2001. At that time, the tollway was EIGHT lanes for its entire length. It was truly a monster, and why AIA Dallas became so excited. During the Balanced Vision Plan process of 2003, the road width was reduced to 4 lanes as it went past downtown. This has now grown to 6 lanes in NTTA’s Alternative 3C.
So my comments at this time are comparing the 2014 3C to the 2003 BVP Parkway, not the 2001 monster. 3C still sucks, but not as bad as it was 13 years ago.