The Trinity River Corridor Project Paves The Way For New Development

June 2, 2014 by Will Schnier P.E.

The Trinity River Corridor Project Paves The Way For New Development

The Trinity River Corridor Project is a massive City of Dallas public works and economic development project. With public and private partners and an investment of more than $2 billion from those partners, it’s one of the largest flood protection projects in the nation. Work on the project began in 1998 with passage of the first bond package, and it covers about 10,000 acres along the Trinity River. While its foremost purpose is as a flood protection solution, the Trinity River Corridor Project also includes other major components: transportation, recreation, environmental restoration, and economic development. Once complete, the project will bring wildlife habitats, trails, parks, lakes, bridges, and new development.

This is the first of a five-part series about the Trinity River Corridor Project. We’ll be featuring a new post on the BIG RED Blog about the Trinity River Corridor Project each week during June.

Click here to read all of our posts about the Trinity River Corridor Project.

Oak Cliff Rendering (1)
Rendering of the Oak Cliff side of floodway from

Work on a Dallas Floodway Extension (DFE), a joint project between the City of Dallas and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, is a major component of the Trinity River Corridor Project. Along with a Floodway project that addresses the current levees, the Floodway Extension will reduce flood risks for Dallas residents. Currently in construction, the DFE begins where the Dallas Floodway ends at Eight Street and extends the levees downstream to the south of downtown Dallas, just past IH-20.

The DFE will reduce the flooding risk for thousands of structures in downtown Dallas, and include a new chain of wetlands, 30 miles of new recreational trails, and environmental mitigation for 1,179 acres of land along the Trinity River.

Map courtesy of


With the new recreational opportunities and land removed from harm’s way, Dallas envisions dense new development, as well. According to a report prepared for Dallas’ Trinity River Corridor Project Office, “nearly a square mile of land ripe for redevelopment encircles the core area of Trinity River Corridor project, much of it on the downtown side.” That could yield nearly 40 million square feet of new development within blocks of new park, and could help transform scraggly grassland into dense, vibrant development.

In 2005, Dallas adopted a Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP) for the Trinity River Corridor. Although it does not prescribe specific zoning or development regulations, the plan lays out a preferred pattern of future development in the corridor. Those patterns encourage transit and pedestrian-oriented activities throughout the corridor, as well as a trail system that could spur development while also acting as a connector between neighborhoods.

The corridor land use plan envisions high density and mixed-use development within a three- to four-mile radius of downtown. Further from the central business district, the plan calls for dispersed centers of density or activity at locations like DART stations, the area’s rapid transit system.

While the 2008 recession slowed things down – at least one developer had purchased land in the corridor with plans for apartments lost that to the bank – activity has picked up again.

If a new wave of infill development starts to take shape around a revitalized Trinity riverfront, the area would be linked with other booming parts of Dallas, including Uptown, the Design District, and West Dallas.

We want to know what you think about the Trinity River Corridor Project! What is your favorite part of the project? What are you most looking forward to? What would you like to see done differently?

Leave your comments below.

Written by Will Schnier P.E.

Will Schnier P.E.

Will Schnier is the Chief Executive Officer of BIG RED DOG Engineering | Consulting. Will received his BSCE from Purdue University and co-founded BIG RED DOG Engineering and Consulting in 2009. Since starting the firm in 2009, BIG RED DOG has grown to over 100 team members with offices in Austin, Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio. BIG RED DOG has garnered awards for being one of the 50 fastest growing companies in Texas (Business Journal’s Fast 50 in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015) and an ENR top 100 Design Firm in Texas and Louisiana (2012, 2103, 2014, 2015). Mr. Schnier is very well versed in the project review and development permitting process having worked closely and very successfully with City and County review staff, neighborhood associations, environmental groups, and public boards and councils. He has been responsible for the project management, engineering design, and regulatory permitting of hundreds of single family subdivision projects, mixed use and multifamily residential developments, industrial facilities and oil and gas development projects throughout Texas. He is the author of two publications: “Land Subdivision – A Practical Guide for Central Texas” and “The Book on License Agreements in the City of Austin”. Will was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Real Estate Council of Austin (RECA) in 2014 and served as Mayor Lee Leffingwell’s appointment to the City of Austin Zoning Board of Adjustment from 2011 to 2015.