Dallas finally gets a serious plan for a park between Trinity River levees

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Dallas finally gets a serious plan for a park between Trinity River levees
Brent Brown (right), architect and founding director of BC Workshop and Dallas CityDesign Studio, and John Alschuler, chairman of HR&A, discussed the vision for the Trinity River park plan at the City Club in Dallas

After more than two decades of infighting, foot-dragging, false starts, and recrimination, Dallas finally has a serious plan for a park between the Trinity levees.

The fantasies of the past, hot-air dreams of lime green lawns and placid decorative lakes, have been set aside. There are no ill-conceived white-water rapids, no hokey renderings of jugglers trotted out to sell a half-baked plan.

What is promised instead is a two-part scheme that brings a stepped riverine ecology to the Trinity flood plain, and places a series of overlook parks on the tops and sides of the levee walls.

The design is the work of the New York-based landscape architecture firm Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, which has extensive experience in the design of major urban parks, including Hudson River Park and Brooklyn Bridge Park, in New York. In Dallas, the firm’s work includes the native Texas landscape at the George W. Bush Presidential Center.

“One of the things that we realized was that Dallas is rather isolated from the Trinity,” says Van Valkenburgh. “There are neighborhoods all around it, but there’s not that sense of connection.”

To foster those links, the overlook parks step down from the levees and arrow into adjacent communities. As presented, there are four on the downtown side and three on the western side. […]

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