The area between the City of Dallas and the Trinity River Corridor is currently dominated by highways and underdeveloped land. This zone forms a moat around Dallas, truncating downtown at Dealey Plaza and severing the city from the waterfront. This planning vision seeks to connect downtown Dallas and the Trinity River Corridor and to re-envision the zone between them as a vibrant new linear city.
The area between Dallas and the Trinity River Corridor is currently dominated by highways and underdeveloped land. This zone forms a moat around Dallas, truncating Downtown at Dealey Plaza and severing the city from the waterfront.
The primary obstacle to Downtown’s extension into the site and potential connection to the Trinity is infrastructure. The two highways that currently cut through the site form the southern portion of the city’s three-quarter-mile inner ring road. Currently planned expansions to this infrastructure—the “Horseshoe” project and the new Trinity River Parkway—will further clog an already saturated area with more primary roadways that act as pass-throughs rather than serving either downtown Dallas or the site itself.
The goal of this master planning effort is to connect downtown Dallas and the Trinity River Corridor, and re-envision the zone between them as a vibrant new linear city. Rather than pursuing a path of infrastructural escalation directly adjacent to Downtown, this master plan enhances the existing Highway 12 to create a new ring-road and provide a more appropriate downtown by-pass, alleviating the traffic demand along I-35 and I-30 and eliminating the need for new infrastructure. This approach also allows for the strategic removal of access ramps within the site, freeing land for development and opening the possibility for new connections.
The Connected Cities Master Plan was based on extensive analysis of existing conditions and the weighing out of various potential planning interventions. Hydrologic data and information on existing water conditions was collected, analyzed, and incorporated into the plan. Extensive analysis was also conducted on existing and potential transportation infrastructure, including streets, sidewalks, and public transportation networks. Various site visits to Dallas provided the planning team with an on-the-ground perspective of existing city conditions, as did collaborative meetings with City affiliates and other experienced practitioners.
The strategy for reconnecting Dallas to its river, and ultimately achieving resiliency from both flood and drought events, proposes a diverse and distributed range of water projects throughout the Trinity River Watershed. The system within the project area is designed to relieve pressure on the Trinity Floodway and reduce risk of flood by daylighting the Trinity River sub-basin to create a re-imagined river’s edge that captures, treats and redirects stormwater through the site.
Daylighting and filtering existing watersheds and culverts reconstitutes the Old Trinity River to create a new ecological spine along Riverfront Boulevard. This new ecology provides a foundation for development by increasing property values and establishing a new, legible amenity zone adjacent to Downtown.
To connect across I-35 and the railway, four strategic interventions stretch over and under them. At the North and South, new pedestrian bridges provide access to key DART stations. Closer to Downtown, Dealey Plaza and the viaducts at Houston and Jefferson are transformed to provide new gateways into the site.
Within the site, two arc-shaped loops define development, creating new connections between downtown Dallas and the Trinity and framing the new river. Where the two arcs intersect the rejuvenated waterway and Riverfront Boulevard, a chain of cultural venues and outdoor amenity areas establishes a central spine from north to south.
Along the spine, an archipelago of urban islands stretches from Rock Island at the south to the Design District at the north. Each island is a unique programmatic mix linked strategically to the areas that surround it.
If implemented, this master plan will drastically change the city of Dallas’ connection to the Trinity River Corridor, and help to establish a more vibrant and usable urban area between them.
OMA / Mia Lehrer + Associates (MLA)
Local/Consulting Landscape Architect: Kevin Sloan Studios
Traffic Engineer: Mobility in Chain
Sustainability Consultant: RWDI
Hydrology Consutlant: Royal Haskoning DHV
Renderings: Tegmark / Mia Lehrer + Associates (MLA)