Ken Kalthoff, NBC 5 News
Hal Barker blames the city after too many cars with too few parking spaces forced some people to park in the middle of a protected area trampling the native wildflowers and grasses
Foot traffic and car parking trampled wildflowers at Dallas White Rock Lake Park over the weekend and neighbor Hal Barker has video to prove it.
Barker said he saw it happen before.
So, this time he was ready with his camera to capture evidence of the cars parked in the middle of the wildflowers, right next to signs marking the area at Winfrey Point.
"It's supposed to be a natural area. There are large areas of the park where you can park, where people can use them, and this is designated specially," Barker said.
Barker blames the City of Dallas for allowing it to happen and he's advised the city he will sue if necessary to protect wildflower areas in the park.
The nearby Dallas Arboretum has been using the Winfrey Point parking lots for employee parking during ongoing arboretum construction and improvements.
An arboretum van circulates through the lot several times an hour to ferry employees back and forth.
As those cars filled many spaces last weekend, Barker said baseball games on little league fields along with visitors for other park activities caused parking to overflow.
His pictures show cars lining the ditches of roadways and covering many grassy areas.
Barker said signs that used to warn drivers of potential parking citations have disappeared and he said Dallas police officers have told him they've been told not to write tickets at Winfrey Point.
"The police say we can not ticket these because we've been ordered by the city that this is a no enforcement zone," he said.
Dallas Parks Director Paul Dyer denied any such effort to ignore parking enforcement.
"We haven't taken any signs down so if they're down, I'm not sure why they are down," Dyer said.
"We'll be talking to the Dallas Police Department and also talking to the staff to be sure they're more clearly marking those areas next week to make sure in the future there's a clear designation," Dyer said.
A new arboretum employee parking lot is due to open next week on Garland Road so that should alleviate some of the parking problem at Winfrey Point.
But Dyer said it is still a very busy park and a consultant has been hired to help examine parking options there.
"White Rock Lake is our Central Park. Everyone wants to go there," Dyer said.
Several wildflower areas are among the options for new parking lots according to Barker.
The consultant's website says he is a member of the arboretum's board of directors.
Dyer and a spokesperson for the arboretum both said the consultant is no longer a board member but Barker worries the connection could mean more parking favors in the future at Winfrey Point for the growing arboretum.
"It's a matter of pave paradise and put in a parking lot," he said.
Dyer said that is not the city's plan.
"We're going to work diligently to make sure that doesn't happen," he said.