Thursday, April 8, 2010

Barbarians at the Flood Gate

I just received a newsletter from Dallas Councilman Dave Neumann. I have no idea why, considering I am in District 14, but something caught my eye that I had never heard before:
Dallas levees are built to an 800-year flood standard, well above the 100-year standard levees being built in New Orleans.
I may be reading too much intent into this statement but it seems almost boastful. 800 years?! Seriously? I understand the desire to prevent catastrophe, but 800 years seems rather extreme.

Not to defend the efforts to put a highway on one of them, but are we really allowing something like this affect all planning and design decisions in the vicinity? For one, they are anti-urban and locationally inappropriate. I know this is tilting at windmills, but flood control can happen in other locations in other formats more appropriately designed based locationally along the rural to urban transect.

Furthermore, they are apparently so fragile that we can't even build a promenade along the Oak Cliff side to create a legitimate waterfront nor address with buildings, but they can withstand Moses and Neptune's combined powers of liquid manipulation themselves.

If we wanted to really dream big, we might think about handling the flood waters in other locations further upstream or downstream (as well as micromanage stormwater on sites throughout the city to prevent massive runoff due to the preponderance of pavement and turf which has a similar runoff coefficient), shrink the size and scale of Trinity River Park, and create real waterfront and new neighborhood opportunities within the swath between the existing levees, thus bridging the chasm between Dallas and Oak Cliff.

Or we could just wall the City to keep the Visigoths at bay? Barbarians rampage about every 800 years or so, right? Oops, I might be giving Highland Park an idea.