I take pleasure in answering thus prominently the communication below, sent to me via [email protected], expressing at the same time my great gratification that its author is numbered among the friends of FrontBurner:
Question: I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no way an eight-lane toll road can be built inside a levee flood zone. But the bullies say “sure it will fit, now shut up and don’t ask so many questions.” Papa says, “If you see it in D Magazine, and it is written by the ghost of the long-dead city founder, it’s so.” Please tell me the truth, is there going to be an eight-lane toll road inside the majestic Trinity? —Virginia
Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the optimism of an overly optimistic age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can come about which is contrary to the desires of their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s are little — especially those of bureaucratic traffic engineers. In this grand city of ours, the desires of an overwhelming majority of the public are but a mere insect, an ant, in their ability to enact change, as compared with the power of the seemingly unstoppable train that are quasi-governmental pronouncements treated as scriptural truth through the invocation of the word “regionalism.”
Yes, Virginia, there is some way a massive toll road could bespoil our beloved river. It exists as certainly as Michael Morris and Mary Suhm and Mike Rawlings exist, and you know that they have been working to deprive Dallas citizens of parkland of the highest beauty and joy. Alas! How dreary would the Trinity corridor be if they get their way! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no faith in local officials to enact the will of the people then, no green space, no idyllic community gatherings along the water’s edge. We should have no enjoyment, gazing upon our disgraced waterway. The eternal can-do spirit which has so long embodied our burg would be extinguished.
Not believe in the threat of the Trinity toll road! You might as well not believe in me! You might get your papa to hire men to sit outside all the exits of the North Central Texas Council of Governments headquarters to offer Mr. Morris a “protective” escort to and from his office each day until he gives up the cause, but what would that accomplish? It doesn’t look like there’s likely to be enough money to build this stretch of highway, but that’s no assurance that the powers behind it won’t find a way. The scariest things in the world are those agreed upon in backroom dealings one way and sold to the public another. Have you ever seen the ghostly Lady of White Rock Lake? Of course not, but that’s no proof that she isn’t there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the horrors concocted behind closed doors by one-dimensional minds with the imprimatur of officialdom.
You tear apart the reams of documents pertaining to the whole sordid saga of the Trinity project and see what keeps the zombie road going, but there is a veil covering the unseen motivations of the road’s strongest proponents, which we can only hope and pray the united strength of the people of Dallas can resist. Only faith, poetry, clear eyes, full hearts, and a well-funded counterinsurgency campaign can push aside that curtain of obstinate ignorance to ensure the supernal beauty and glory of a world without that damn highway. Is that realistic? Ah, Virginia, in this world it’s far from a certainty, but I like our chances.
No Trinity Toll Road! Thank God it hasn’t been built and hopefully will not be built ever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay 10 times 10 thousand years from now, the specter of that cursed road will continue to haunt the nightmares of our children’s children’s children’s children’s children’s children’s children’s… you get the idea.
Raring for a fight,
John Neely Bryan is the founder of the city of Dallas and an expert on all matters. Email him for advice, to have a dispute adjudicated, or to seek his wisdom on any of a myriad of topics, at [email protected].