Beyond Planning: Ongoing Efforts to Unite Midland and Odessa
Dunaway’s Regional Executive and Principal, Tim Hair, RLA, ASLA spoke recently at the TRAPS conference – where he gave a presentation alongside Cameron Walker of the Permian Basin MPO, entitled “Friday Night Lights – Planning a Regional Trail to Unite Midland and Odessa.” The presentation highlighted Dunaway’s work which started in the summer of 2020, when Dunaway was selected to identify the preferred route for the Permian Basin Regional Multi-Use Trail that would unify the communities of Midland and Odessa, Texas.
In the presentation, Tim and Cameron discussed how the Permian Basin has traditionally been less than friendly to drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians alike and outlined the planning process for the Wildcatter Trail, including public engagement and building diverse local support for a significant project to link two cities in the nations busiest oil field. At the TRAPS Institute, the project received the prestigious Planning Excellence Award, which recognizes one project displaying a high degree of professional analysis, quality planning principles, and state-wide value.
The 19+ mile trail location and design have become a source of community pride and togetherness in both cities. The MPO was very rewarded for utilizing Dunaway.”
While the initial planning helped make this project come to fruition – we believe it is what we continue to do long after the initial planning phase that sets us apart. We continue to strengthen our partnership with the Permian Basin MPO through our continued effort to advocate the vision with all the agencies and key players. “The Permian Basin Metropolitan Planning Organization has benefited greatly from the expertise and leadership undertaken by Dunaway regarding this important bicycle and pedestrian corridor connecting Midland and Odessa,” explains Walker. “The 19+ mile trail location and design were clearly described with multiple location factors considered. The work has become a source of community pride and togetherness in both cities. The MPO was very rewarded by utilizing Dunaway.”
Dunaway’s ongoing support will include assessing land acquisition costs, further route refinement based on a detailed study of the proposed corridor and land ownership research, along with recommendations for implementation and potential funding opportunities.
We knew that the first segments of the trail would be the hardest to implement, but that once people could use any length of the trail and experience it, more funding and momentum would follow.”
Dunaway’s ongoing initiatives include:
Dunaway’s planning professionals continue to attend meetings with stakeholders and city leaders. Traditionally, the client’s project manager would conduct these meetings – but due to the complexity of this project and multiple stakeholders, Dunaway is able to be a “go-between” to facilitate discussions that would often not be possible between staff at various entities and private industries.
Dunaway serves as a central point-of-contact for terminology and data – ensuring that the project is represented uniformly for funding requests. “We knew that the first segments of the trail would be the hardest to implement, but that once people could use any length of the trail and experience it, more funding and momentum would follow,” Tim Hair, RLA, ASLA explains. “Coinciding with a major election season for both communities, TxDOT released the Transportation Alternatives funding applications, and the trail now has three preliminary applications in process. UT Permian Basin, the City of Midland, and the City of Odessa all stepped up to support initial phases of the trail, which would be paid for by each entity with 80% reimbursement from TxDOT.”
Stakeholder Engagement and Collaboration
The connectivity of the trail plan to other City planning documents and ongoing projects goes beyond officially adopted planning documents. Thanks in part to our Midland office and localized knowledge of upcoming projects (both public and private) – we can adapt the plan as needed. Additionally, extensive coordination continues between the leadership at the different entities involved in the Trail, including UTPB, City of Midland, TxDOT, MPO, Oncor, and the City of Odessa – creating a “Big Tent” mentality where these entities feel comfortable calling on Dunaway as a straightforward and reliable liaison for the project.
We are honored to be recognized by TRAPS for our involvement in this exciting project and we look forward to continuing to bring our collaborative spirit, technical excellence, and forward-thinking to other municipalities in the future. Let us know how we can make a difference with you.