The newly formed Greenbelt Alliance pulled together some impressive muscle and turned out en masse at the county hearing to fight Oncor’s route across the Greenbelt. It worked, and Oncor now has to consider other routes instead.
I’m admittedly a little confused how much of this is nearby landowner NIMBY and how much is actual fight to preserve the Greenbelt. Just saying…these are murky waters. I am also a bit amazed that a group is successfully fighting to keep a wind farm transmission line out of the entire county and not just the Greenbelt. I can understand fighting to preserve the Greenbelt, but it seems a stretch to ban the power line from the whole county when at a time when gas wells are easily allowed.
To add some more context to Oncor’s activity in DFW, keep in mind that they’ve donated many easements to build the Preston Ridge, Northhaven, and Katy trails in North Dallas, and Oncor just pledged $1+ million to the Mayor’s Youth Fitness Initiative (read, keeping parks and rec centers open).
The part of this story that interests me most is this passage from the Oncor press release for Dallas:
Oncor is also developing a program that will create hike-and-bike trails along parts of the transmission right-of-way. This will be integral to helping improve the communities that Oncor serves. These trails can be a valuable contribution to the communities and the Mayor’s Youth Fitness Initiative and its programs.
This brings me to the one conclusion I have from this debacle: let’s hope that the Greenbelt Alliance keeps open communication with Oncor, because some future trails along easements would be a great asset to the extremely few trails we have here in Denton. At a time when far more urban and suburban cities in DFW are literally kicking our butts at trail building, we can use all the help we can get. Ever seen a map of bikable trails in DFW? Ouch, Denton, ouch.