Arboretum to operate parking at Winfrey Point

The Dallas Arboretum has agreed to direct traffic and orchestrate parking at Winfrey Point, even when arboretum patrons are not parking there, to alleviate parking woes.

Parking at Winfrey Point often becomes choked and chaotic on weekends during little league games and other events, which can be a danger to pedestrians, says Dallas Little League president Lance Spellman.

Lawther is one way to the Winfrey Point building, and if the lot is full, the only way out is via Emerald Isle. If there is nowhere to park along Emerald Isle, it causes a traffic pile-up near Barbec’s at Garland Road. Neighbors who live in Emerald Isle know to avoid that intersection at all costs on weekends, which is a huge inconvenience for them.

“It becomes pretty disastrous because you’ve got kids, angry motorists, and just chaos,” Spellman says.

The Park Department and the arboretum are working on a longer-range plan to direct traffic and parking through the area, which includes allowing two-way traffic on East Lawther.

Anyone who has visited the arboretum on a busy spring day probably has seen the arboretum’s parking operation at work. Attendants communicate with each other and with drivers to park cars on lots throughout the property and into shuttle bus lots. It is quite a production.

“The Park Department asked us to manage parking over there so it’s not haphazard,” says arboretum president Mary Brinegar.

Spellman says a plan for the arboretum to use Winfrey Point grasslands for temporary overflow parking will alleviate traffic and parking woes for little league members. But he says the Dallas Little League’s contract with the city is up in two years, and he fears the arboretum eventually will want to take over Winfrey Point for parking permanently.

The arboretum currently has permission form the Park Department to park 400 cars in the grass at Winfrey Point, mostly along Emerald Isle, when all other parking lots are full. But there is another grassy area, between the Emerald Isle neighborhood and the ball fields that could hold another 1,000 or more cars. The Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden opens in about one year, and it is expected to be a big draw. Of the $56 million budget for that garden, $13 million is being budgeted for parking.

“Once the ball starts rolling on this with the destruction of praire land this week, I think it will be harder to stop future actions that we may find directly detrimental to Dallas Little League,” Spellman wrote in an email to little league families. “Personally, I would like to have a much more detailed understanding and discussion of future plans for Winfrey before any significant changes are made in the short run.”

Click to sign up for the Advocate's weekly news digest and be the first to know what’s happening in Lakewood/East Dallas.
Written By
More from Rachel Stone

East Dallas author’s book tells World War II secret

I met author Mike Looney at the Exchange Club of East Dallas...
Read More
  • Blb_sa

    The fight over Winfrey Point is far from over. The latest
    documents discovered by Hal Barker leave a bad taste in our mouths, and reminds us of Mao
    Zedong’s slogan: “Man must conquer Nature.” Read the latest here, and
    browse the new documentation just released:

  • Tedbarker

    One my favorite blogs, wow factor.

  • Anne

    THANK YOU.  My thoughts precisely!


    PLEASE LEAVE Winfrey Point alone! Build a huge parking garage at Gaston & Garland Road with a trolley system. Add a bike path with bike racks.  No more concrete around White Rock Lake!

  • Blb_sa

    The notion of turning Winfrey  Point into a parking lot is absurd. Please take a look at these images, all of which were taken at Winfrey Point, and then loudly express your opinion:

  • Lpb1103

    Why in the WORLD doesn’t the Arboretum set up SHUTTLES TO PARKING LOTS?!?
    Prairie grass is infinitely more important than somebody’s Mercedes convertible sprawled in the middle of protected land. Dallas could not be more pretentious or provincial than it is now (unless somebody offered us a million dollars, in which case we would get even moreso.)   

  • Anne Shuttee

    Isn’t remote parking and use of a shuttle service the obvious solution?  Has it been considered?

  • Tedbarker

    This one is simple. An Arboretum memo and meeting report from 2011 for the Childrens Garden: paraphrase: a high rise lot would cost 25k per space, or 5 millions. No money for that.  

    Why not get free space at the park?

  • Wilson!

    I’d love to see where the Dallas Arboretum and it’s higher-ups fall on Dwayne Caraway’s donor list.  I’d guess pretty near the top…

  • TheJAT

    The Arboretum just built a new parking lot on Garland Road that holds over 200 cars. If there is money and a plan to add parking structure(s) in WRL Park (at whose expense, City Taxpayer’s or Arboretum’s?), why couldn’t these funds have been applied to the Garland Road Parking Lot and develop a grander structure? Extra property could have been acquired, and retail could have been accommodated on the street level of the garage. If the garage could be built 3-4 stories, depending on how much land is acquired, they could easily accommodate 1,000+ cars, plus the retail. Traffic impact to White Rock Lake Park would be negligible. Traffic impact to Emerald Isle would be negligible as the majority of the traffic would remain on Garland Road. A controlled intersection could be added for use during peak events and to aid shuttles/walkers crossing the street. A secondary Arboretum entrance could be right next to the new Children’s Gardens. I love the Arboretum, but it is NOT Disney World. Save our natural prairies, ball fields, and parks. Winfrey Point is NOT your parking lot.

  • Tedbarker

    Anne,  actually planning has always been to take Winfrey Point.  The City just confers managment to a third party who has no direct relation to the Park Dpt or the park other than being next to it. The Arboretum is just an entity renting land from the City with its boundaries clearly defined.

    Reading the 2008 documents from Arboretum briefings, reasonable people can conclude the opinion I have developed.  What we need is transparency and participation in the process.

  • The camel has his nose in the tent and will soon have paved over and uber-landscaped the entire eastern side of the lake. The Arboretum is now an over-groomed floral theme park that swaggers where it wants. I think most neighbors are tolerant of weekend and special event traffic. After all, they moved to or stayed in the neighborhood because they love the lake too. 

    This dispute highlights lack of planning on the part of the board. Did they just look at their calendar to discover that Chihuly is here for six months starting this weekend?

  • Tedbarker

    The plans that were obtained from Open Records and the very loud support by Dwayne Caraway show that citizens will have to dig in and give voice to alternatives that do not change the character of the lake parklands.  I do not believe ceding control to Arboretum and the Disney feel is the right direction. 

    There has to be a plan which alleviates the crunch of parking for surge events. Part of the problem has been total lack of scheduling and planning by DPARD Reservations and smart thinking by event organizers. 

    Day to day no parking problem exists, only during scheduled events is there an issue. I know as I am in the park three times a day every day of the week.

    The comments in various blogs and petitions clearly show the desire to preserve natural assets.

  • Anne

    One thing that’s become exponentially clear over the last year is that the Arboretum’s board and administration seem to have only really started the parking planning for both the Chihuly exhibit and the Kiddo Garden That Doesn’t Start With ‘Clyde I Mean Klyde Warren’ in EARNEST in the last twelve months, and with no understanding of contingencies.

    I’m glad to have the Arboretum as a neighbor; however, I’m concerned about their leadership if these parking issues are a symptom of a dysfunctional organization. Dallas deserves better from a community jewel.

  • I miss the old Arboretum

    The Arboretum has become a huge disappointment with their expansion and destruction of natural areas on their property and surrounding neighborhood.  The whole vibe is too structured.

  • White Biker

    This is Crap!!!!!!!


  • Anne

     That lot (YMCA/Far West/El Pollo Regio) will be going away permanently as soon as Lincoln Properties, the new owner, can make it happen.

  • Lee Gibson

    No more Arboretum support from me.

  • NetContributor

    DMN just updated its article to reflect the filing of an application by Christopher Bryan Fears for a temporary injunction.  They’ve linked to a copy of the application.

  •  Little leaguers will not have to pay. According to an email Lance Spellman sent out, they will get a sticker to indicate they are with DLL.

  • NetContributor

    DMN just posted an article about the parking controversy on their website.  I gather that the Arboretum’s position is that people used to park on the prairie, and they didn’t entirely destroy it, so it’s fine to do it again.  It’s all for the greater good, according to the Arboretum.  We should be thankful that they’re stepping forward to (profitably) manage the growing demand for parking (largely driven by the Arboretum) at Winfrey Point.

  • Litlebee18

    I don’t understand why on game days we have to pay them to park when we aren’t going to the arboretum. We are going to see our kids play baseball.

  • Anonymous

    ‘They paved paradise and put up a parking lot’ – it is a cliche but it is true. The first step will be 400 pay-to-park spots and as soon as the DLL agreement is up, the ball fields will be bulldozed to make way for 1000 more.
    The Arboretum has become very big business.
    There is no way they will let a bunch of little league kids stand in the way of their progress.
    This is a sad development not only for the Lake and East Dallas, but for the state of our city and our dwindling public use spaces.

  • mdb

    The City of Dallas has had some really bad ideas.  This one takes the cake.  White Rock Lake is an oasis in the city.  Let’s keep it that way.

  • ParkingWars

    From Spellman: “Spellman says a plan for the arboretum to use Winfrey Point grasslands
    for temporary overflow parking will alleviate traffic and parking woes
    for little league members.”

    Can you explain how adding 400 plus cars at a given time (maybe 2000 for the day) will alleviate traffic and parking woes for Little League? It already backs up with just the traffic that is there from Little League. This is insane logic. You know traffic has been bundled up as is, just from Little League. Adding 2K cars per day additional on the weekend in a confined space will not alleviate anything, even if I have nice pass to allow me to park at the Little League fields. It will take 30 min to leave the park now with all the extra traffic flow.

    The pass is worthless if I cant get down to the fields due to all the cars trying to park for the arboretum.

  • Eastdalgal

    Several years ago a master traffic plan was made for Garland Rd. With so much happening in the area, perhaps it needs to be reviewed and prioritized.

  • Eastdalgal

    A new development is in the works for that property.

  • Milly

    If that’s true, then they have really overcommitted.  They just can’t absorb a show this big, bottom line.  There has to be a limit, this is not Jerryworld.

  • Lance Spellman

    The Arboretum has been using that lot for overflow parking for years, but Lincoln Properties just bought it for retail development.  See

    Arboretum may have been caught off guard by potential loss of this parking area.

  •  They do use that parking lot.

  • Milly

    Worst. Idea. Ever.  Why can’t they arrange to use the lot for the Y?  That thing is huge.

  • Lance Spellman

    This last Sunday there was a bad accident at Emerald Isle and Garland Road.  How will adding 400 parking spots down Emerald Isle impact an already dangerous traffic intersection?