Inter-organizational digital divide: Civic groups' media strategies in the Trinity River Corridor Project Page: 6
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connecting the northern and southern sectors of the city remained, the Balanced vision plan
included more landscaping and public art along the river.
Nine years later, on 6 November 2007, Dallas residents were asked to vote on a revision to the
proposed 10-mile-long Trinity Parkway toll road. In 2006 newly elected city council member
Angela Hunt, a former trial attorney and then-member of the City Council's Trinity River
Corridor Project Committee, had argued that Laura Miller's vision of the Project, focused as it
was on recreational areas and nature conservation, had been lost. Hunt brought to the public's
attention the rising estimated cost of the Project and a revision of the original road design by the
U.S. Army Corp of Engineers that sharply reduced proposed downtown park space. In spring
2007 Hunt proposed a referendum, Proposition One, that would have eliminated the proposed
high-speed toll road and replaced it with a four-lane 35-MPH parkway. Proposition One's
advocates argued that a high-speed toll road should not share space with recreational and
protected nature areas within the boundaries of the Trinity River's earthen levee walls.
Opponents of Proposition One contended that creating a new plan and rerouting the toll road
would create unnecessary delays and costs. In the end, by a 47 to 53 percent vote, Proposition
One failed, and construction of the toll road within the levees was allowed to proceed. After the
referendum, newly elected Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert removed Angela Hunt from the City
Council's TRCP Committee.
According to the Trinity Trust Web site, as of 2010 the TRCP has a budget of US$2.2 billion.
The Project is a vast undertaking for the city of Dallas: the City Council convenes every other
week to discuss the Project, it is closely followed by local media, and numerous fundraisers have
been held over the course of its development. But without question the most controversial aspect
of the TRCP was the toll road (see Levinthal, 2007b). Consequently, in the run-up to the vote on
Proposition One, many civic organizations engaged in public outreach to build support for their
vision of the Project.
To analyze tactical decisions made within civic organizations that were involved in the TRCP,
we make use of qualitative methods borrowed from social movements research and organization
studies (e.g., Curtis and Zurcher 1973; Evans, 1997; Zhao, 1998; Bartley, 2007). These include
several methods of comparative organizational analysis (analysis of fields or networks of
organizations), including: 1) in-depth structured interviews with organizational leaders; 2)
interviews with local newspaper reporters; 3) link tracking (Adar and Adamic, 2005) of
hyperlinks from the blogosphere to civic groups' Web sites, and from each group's Web site to
each other group's site; and, 4) analysis of financial information on the groups from publicly
available tax returns. After identifying all of the major civic groups involved in the toll road
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Ignatow, Gabriel & Schuett, Jessica Lynn. Inter-organizational digital divide: Civic groups' media strategies in the Trinity River Corridor Project, article, November 7, 2011; [Chicago, Illinois]. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc78305/m1/6/: accessed March 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT College of Public Affairs and Community Service.