The Morning News printed several guest columns in Sunday’s Points section related to the Trinity River toll road referendum. Writing in favor of the road were Mayor Tom Leppert, Metro columnist Steve Blow, and Wick Allison (publisher of D Magazine). Writing against the road on the Vote Yes side were city councilwoman Angela Hunt, dallasblog reporter Sam Merton, and Dallas Observer columnist (and polemicist extraordinaire) Jim Schutze.
This is a very balanced section from the DMN, as has generally been the case on the opinion page. It’s the slanted news stories that have aggravated me. But I’m pleased to see the balance of this section.
Schutze addresses a concern I’ve wondered about a little – namely is it advisable to put a park in this floodway? (Wick Allison writes about this too but somehow comes out in favor of both a road and a park in the floodway – I don’t get his logic but it’s the same old saw about everything in this project is connected and if you remove a piece the whole thing unravels.) Here is a snippet from Schutze’s column:
I hear people ask: If putting the highway in the floodway is a dumb idea, why is it smart to build a big, expensive park there with all sorts of high-maintenance features like kayak courses? Who will pay to clean up this new park when it floods with effluent from the upstream sewage treatment plants?
Common sense says that's a good question, too, but one to which we can find answers. Very little of the park has been designed yet to the level of actual engineering. The best park may not be what's on the drawing boards today. It may need to be gentler, more modest, better married to the land and less costly to maintain.
But once we put a highway in it, we will have to build more and more infrastructure – more "work-arounds" – to accommodate the road. The chance to create that better park will be gone for at least a century, maybe forever.
But that is really a question for another day. Today's common sense question is do we want a highway in between our flood control levees.
I don’t hear a lot of predictions of the outcome. I’m not going to venture there either. But I do hope that common sense prevails. Happy rainy Monday. Welcome fall weather! Exercise your right to make your voice heard.