West Dallas Progress & Disappointment 4 Years After Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge

Four years after the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge was dedicated as a new path from downtown to West Dallas, there were clear signs of progress Friday, but also disappointment.

The first of what was to be a series of Dallas signature bridges, designed by famous architect Santiago Calatrava, continues to be a landmark that attracts curious visitors.

Scott Whisman from Columbus, Ohio said he took his second trip across the bridge Friday.

“And both times across that bridge I took pictures and posted it on Facebook,” he said. “I just think architecturally, it’s fantastic.”

Just a plan four years ago, the Trinity Groves development at the West Dallas base of the bridge on Singleton Boulevard is now a thriving restaurant attraction with new apartments and ground level shops under construction across the street.

“This bridge has brought me over to this part of town and it’s great,” said Carrollton resident Dave Katz. “There’s a lot of options to eat, very cool area.”

Fort Worth resident Shannon Kimberling said she made her first trip across the bridge to Trinity Groves Friday.

“I’ve been walking around. It’s nice,” she said. “Nice road, too. It’s not all rough.”

Wine sales representative Chelsey Rothe said she visits Trinity Groves regularly for business, but also on her time off.

“All the restaurants are great. All the owners are great. I love that it’s local. You’re supporting local people in the community, versus big corporations,” Rothe said.

Some people who lived in the La Bajada neighborhood adjacent to Trinity Groves before the bridge opened are not as happy with the changes.

La Bajada homeowner Eve Elvove said neighborhood service businesses like banks or grocery stores have not come to the area with the added traffic on Singleton Boulevard, but property values have been rising.

“They’re causing havoc with the real estate and the taxes,” she said.

Elvove led a successful campaign for city approval of a Neighborhood Stabilization Order in La Bajada.

It keeps high rise development away from the existing single family homes and restricts the sort of development that can built in the future on those lots to keep denser development south of Singleton Boulevard.

“We’re still not wanted here, even more so,” Elvove said. “We are sitting on goldmines.”

She said buyers keep circling but most offers remain too low.

“They’re kicking tires and they’re feeling us out and they know eventually we’re going to break,” Elvove said.

Several other big developments in West Dallas are underway that will also add new residents and demand for new service businesses in the future.

Longtime LaBajada resident Frank DeLeon said he knows newcomers will find the area appealing. It’s in the center of Dallas. It now has even better access to the rest of the city. The new Continental Viaduct pedestrian and bike path is another attraction right beside the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge. And developers hope West Dallas becomes a new Dallas Uptown.

“I don’t want it to become at the expense of the people that live here,” DeLeon said. “They’ve got to get something out of it.”

A second Calatrava designed signature highway bridge for Interstate 30 turned out to be too expensive. So Calatrava designed less expensive arched pedestrian and cyclist bridges that are now under construction beside the I-30 highway bridge replacement project.

A third concept for a Calatrava designed Interstate 35E bridge was never completed. Instead, the State of Texas will include a decorative arch feature on the side of the I-35E bridge which is also being replaced now.

Still delayed are a Trinity River park and a Trinity Parkway road, planned by the city of Dallas beneath the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge between the levees.

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