I spoke with Darren Boruff, a Park Board member and liaison to the White Rock Lake Task Force last Friday and he gave me a brief update about the lighting project at White Rock Lake.
The project, as it was laid out at a meeting last month, has been put on hold while Dallas Parks representatives— with the input of task force members — prioritize the park’s lighting needs, Boruff says. Rather than putting lights along the entire trail, they will try to decide instead what portions of the trail will most benefit by some light — parking lots and places where roads merge, for example.
Planners will consider ways to improve visibility and safety at the lake —‘safety’ doesn’t necessarily refer to crime, but rather the avoidance of collisions, trips, falls accidents and the like that can occur during darkness.
They will look at the wants and needs of lakeside property owners as well as lake users who share varying opinions about where and how much light should be present at the park.
They will look to experts to insure that wherever lights are present, they comply with Project Dark Sky standards — even when it means replacing “offensive” lights that are already in place. (Dark Sky lights are similar to the ones on the Mockingbird bridge.)
They will also need to consider budget restraints — certain areas of the lighting project are funded already, and the Parks Board is counting on future bond elections as well as financing already in place to complete the park infrastructure and trails.
Boruff and other city staffers are getting a lot of e-mails and input from people who feel strongly about lights at the lake. He says there are thousands of runners and cyclists who use the lake early and after dark and many of them are asking for more consistent lighting along the trail. But there are also the residents and stakeholders who want to preserve a very specific environment out there. “It is a unique environment and I am sensitive to that,” Boruff adds.
Within the next few months, Boruff will make a recommendation to the Dallas Parks Board based on task force findings, public input, feedback, engineering reports and the like. The plan will need approval by the Parks Board before it can move forward.
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