Mayor Mike's Version of Regionalism: Selling out Dallas to the 'Burbs

Categories: Schutze

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In his speech last week endorsing a new highway in the Trinity River flood zone, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings threw down a gauntlet. It was sort of a buried line. I guess not everybody heard it. I did.

He said at one point, "I'm a regionalist," and then he said of people who oppose his view, "For those that feel that way and don't want the city to grow, I can clearly state, I am not your mayor and you may not feel comfortable in Dallas over the long haul because we are going to grow."

Check me on this. But was that not "my way or the highway?" For my two bits worth, I'm glad he said it. It was maybe the only sincere moment in an otherwise an entirely predictable exercise in fake objectivity.

But, wait. What's wrong with being regional? We live in a region, right? Isn't thinking about the whole region the rational thing to do?

Sure. It would be in heaven. But that's not how it works on this particular planet.

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Not necessarily a bad thing.
Rudy Bush has a great story in today's Dallas Morning News detailing the fakery and stage-management of the mayor's decision to strongly back building high-speed multilane toll road through a park, walling off downtown Dallas from a waterfront that is the city's only major natural feature. Bush pretty much proves that the mayor, prodded by the city manager and others, decided to end a long silence and endorse the toll road plan, then ginned up a fake outreach on Facebook and even took toll road opponent Angela Hunt to dinner so he could argue he had looked at life from all sides now.

I was struck by another buried line. Bush said the first thing City Manager Mary Suhm did, in her effort to get Rawlings to endorse the inside-the-levees route, was facilitate "meetings with Michael Morris, transportation director of the North Texas Council of Governments."

Bush reports: "Morris has made no secret of his support for the road. In 2007, he got permission from the Regional Transportation Council to step beyond his role as a staff member and advocate directly for the road."

Michael who? From the what? Ah, please allow me to introduce you to a planner -- a real one, in the real world, the way "planning" really works.

I've met Morris a few times and spoken to him on the phone. He's very bright and a pleasant enough person. But he's a hammer. He's a campaigner, an advocate, sometimes on some very iffy ground.

Morris works for the North Central Texas Council of Governments. NCTCOG is a metropolitan planning organization, created under federal law to see that transportation money gets spent in a so-called rational fashion. I say so-called, because when was money or politics ever rational?

When the rubber meets the road, Morris is often at the wheel. He was a central figure in efforts to derail Richard Allen's inland port project in southern Dallas -- a topic now at the center of a major FBI corruption probe.

In 2007, when the toll-road-inside-the-levees idea went to voters, Morris hit the hustings like he was Huey Long promising "roads and highways" to the people of Louisiana in 1928.

So if he's a planner and he's planning for the whole region, what's wrong with him getting out there and huckstering for votes with everybody else? Nothing, if we're all willing to concede that planners and advocates are different things.

Morris is sent forth into the political marketplace to sell one point of view over another. So why should anyone believe him when he takes off his huckster hat and tries to squeeze himself back onto his white lab coat as a so-called scientific planner?

Which brings us back to this whole regionalism business. In the 1970s and early '80s, the mayors of Dallas were real estate guys among the very biggest suburban raw-land housing developers. In those years the old Dallas establishment essentially disinvested from the city and reinvested in sprawl.

The worst news those folks ever got was in a speech delivered four years ago to a luncheon meeting of the Downtown Dallas Association by Brookings Institution/University of Michigan scholar and author Christopher Leinberger. He presented objective evidence that the location premium for land -- the extra amount people will pay to be in a certain place -- has inverted in Dallas and in the nation.

People will now pay more to be in the inner city and less to be in the suburbs. Oops. Looks like the old Dallas moneybags have got their eggs in the wrong basket.

If you look closely at the so-called regionalism being flogged by Michael Morris, it's really all about trying to reverse or at least stave off that back-to-the-city trend. How? By using a rich but arcane planning entity to steer coveted federal dollars into projects that are pro-sprawl and anti-urban.

If people want walkable urban venues, then the last thing they want is to bring more cars into or through their neck of the woods. In fact, as the new urbanists are fond of saying, "congestion is our friend."

Traffic jams force people out of their cars and onto the sidewalks or public transportation. Smoothly flowing multiple lanes of vehicular traffic are actually the city's enemy -- the lifeline that keeps sprawl alive.

What Rawlings said last week goes way beyond the matter of the toll road. He effectively listed himself in the army of sprawl, against the interest of the city.

Of course he masked his purposes by saying that he's in favor of growth. That's what they always say. We need more highways so the city can grow.

But more highways do not grow the city. They grow the suburbs and choke the city. They are an attempt to use government money and fake central planning to intervene in the natural market, as revealed by Leinberger, to preserve the interests of a few moneybags who have their eggs in the wrong basket. In other words, this kind of "regionalism," aided and abetted by fake planners like Morris, is an exercise in Sovietology.

The larger trend is for the city to stop serving as a doormat to the suburbs and defend its own unique interests. What we need is true competition -truly urban venues versus truly ex-urban, and then let people vote with their feet.

Rawlings has made his decision. It's the wrong one for the city, flying in the face of long-term reality. It saddens me to say this, because I know these are all good men, but I fear Rawlings and Morris and the crows on a wire who gathered to hear his speech at City Hall last week "may not feel comfortable in Dallas over the long haul."


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140 comments
Guest
Guest

(Yawn) Dallas will drown when the levee fails anyway. So what's your point? You'll just be another refugee from a failed city which couldn't rebuild after the banksters disappeared all money.

Jimmy Miller
Jimmy Miller

DISD is a disaster.  Most people aren't willing to pay a premium to live in the city and pay for private school on top of that premium.  The other elephant in the room is the climate.  Mass transit works in San Francisco because of the footprint of the city is 7 miles by 7 miles and the climate is hospitable a large portion of the year.  No sane person is going to walk 10 blocks to a bus line, stand in 100 degree weather waiting on the bus 30 - 45 minutes to walk another 10+ blocks to their employer when they can ride in a car in air conditioning.  Live in that reality, JimS.

ASU87
ASU87

Where's the map?

Show me where this tollroad is planned to exist.

Give me ALL of the data so I can make an informed decision.

What is the timeframe?

Chuck G.
Chuck G.

"walling off downtown Dallas from a waterfront that is the city's only major natural feature." MAJOR natural feature? The Trinity? They can block off that eyesore sewer all they want to.

LIBTARD
LIBTARD

Hey libtard!

http://www.suntimes*com/11719228-417/neighborhoods-of-cha-relocations-experienced-higher-crime-rates.html

Neighborhoods of CHA relocations experienced higher crime rates

BY FRANK MAIN Staff Reporter April 5, 2012 12:35AM

Crime was worse in neighborhoods where former Chicago Housing Authority residents used vouchers to move into private apartments, a new study found.

From 2000 to 2008, violent crime was 21 percent higher in neighborhoods with high concentrations of voucher-holding former CHA residents — when compared to similar neighborhoods without them, the Washington-based Urban Institute found. Property crime also would have been lower without relocated residents in those neighborhoods, the study said.

Violent crime dropped about 26 percent across the city over the same time period, according to the Chicago Police Department. The Urban Institute attributed about 1 percent of the decrease to CHA’s 1999 plan to knock down Cabrini-Green and other notorious housing complexes.

“We are estimating crime went down less in neighborhoods where the ‘relocatees’ moved,” said Susan Popkin, an author of the study released Thursday.

In the past, CHA said there was no evidence of a link between crime and the relocation of public housing residents. “Until this study, really, there hasn’t been any data that addresses this question,” CHA spokeswoman Kellie O’Connell-Miller said.

“It reiterates the importance to us to remain committed to responsible relocation strategies,” she said.

Popkin said CHA’s support for voucher holders has improved over the years and is a model for other cities planning to tear down public housing.

CHA steers them to mental-health services and provides counseling on what certain neighborhoods have to offer. The agency also provides financial incentives to landlords and voucher-holders so they can move to neighborhoods where rents are above the government’s ceiling for vouchers.

CHA has encouraged former public housing residents to move to “opportunity areas” with better schools and services. But many have chosen to stay in “vulnerable” areas on the city’s South and West sides, which are more familiar to them, the study found.

By the end of 2011, about 4,000 voucher-holding former CHA residents lived in the city and about 70 were in the suburbs, according to CHA.

Some communities are not very happy to have them. Chatham, where generations of African-American teachers, lawyers and other professionals have called home, has seen an influx of former CHA residents with vouchers — about 120 of them.

“It has been disastrous for Chatham,” said Keith Tate, president of Chatham-Avalon Park Community Association.

“Never did we see individuals sitting on their cars drinking 40-ounce bottles of beer.”

Tate said the community is experiencing a clash between longtime residents with a strong work ethic and former CHA residents on the dole.

“We have opened our arms to accept anyone into our community,” Tate said. “But it has caused a tremendous problem. We have had more burglaries than normal, more shootings. . . . We’re fighting on all fronts now to satisfy the needs of the long-term residents and the new residents who just moved here.”

Steve T
Steve T

It's all tinkering with peripherals: Infinite economic growth, with all its resource use, waste, and pollution, is not possible in a finite bioshpere.  The best we can hope for is a steady-state economy, but more likely we'll just continue to stumble down the slope of our long descent.

Joe L
Joe L

Having lived in a number of major cities on four continents as well as in this country, I can attest that every where people are able to have their own car to go where they want when they want, that is the option most prefer.  Why do you think the Chinese who a decade ago had what you would consider an idyllic lifestyle of bicycles and walking neighborhoods, have abandoned it as soon as they could, and bought cars?

Good policy is not to buy into the public transportation fantasy that people will be happier walking to a station or bus stop in whatever weather, waiting, riding, probably standing, usually crowded, and walking at the other end. There are very few places in the World with density to make public transportation practical, and they tend to have terrible quality of life except for elites, and astronomical real estate.  Astronomical real estate is what happens in reality when you have adequate density for good public transportation.

Optimal policy is trying to assess how much public transportation people really want, and not trying to artificially induce them to use public transportation.

Roads should be built and the coercion of people to use public transportation should be abandoned.  It won't work and it's not ethically right.

Time to get started on real solutions: individual transport units... don't call them cars... that pollute less, and adequate roads and parking to alleviate congestion.  It's not really that hard.

Build walking neighborhoods for people who want to live in them...personally I love them... but do not squander money on unrealistic schemes or trying to force an elitist urban lifestyle on people who don't want it.  Trying to force people to things they don't want because you think you are superior and know the superior way to live is just wrong.

I would like to take these Dallasites who rhapsodize about public transportation and walking neighborhoods on a tour of some of the places I have lived,  getting forced into crammed, hot subway cars at Shinjuku Station in Tokyo by people-pushers with white gloves, waiting for half a dozen subway cars to pass before you can get on one in Buenos Aires, the squalor of the New York subway, the regular pickpockets and strokes of the Paris metro, etc.

There is a reason ridership of DART trains is down.  Accept it. Just build enough trains for those people who really want them (a small minority) and concentrate on improving roads and alleviating congestion for the large majority.

Hopefully the mayor will not be deterred by the tantrums of elitist yuppies like Schutze and Angela Hunt, and will get cracking on the road improvements Dallas sorely needs to bring economic growth and jobs to the inner city where they are most needed.

It is high time Dallas start competing and drawing people and businesses back into Dallas with projects like the Trinity... parks and roads.

Bettyculbreath
Bettyculbreath

You think you know a little about the person you vote for until they are in office, or serve on a Board with them. You really only know the illusion they create ,and boy have I been wrong. Mike does mean My way or Highway  just as Leppert meant it. Leppert also had mean streak and very vindictive and holds  grude a forever. So far Mike has shown one Leppert trait, I hope for our sake, a change of heart.

billmarvel
billmarvel

City-suburb manichaeism doesn't begin to touch the problems faced by both. The suburbs are not going away. They're just not. They're going to get a lot more expensive, a lot less convenient. A lot of them are going to turn into the kind of slums so familiar in the city, and many already are. Some of them may have better schools now. This will not last. Inevitably, suburbs will sucomb to the same ills that afflict city schools. They just will, they already are. Why deny it?To those few of you who think the sprawl can just go on indefinitely, I have one word: WATER.  Jim's solution is to isolate the city, flip the bird at the suburbs and their problems. That's just crazy and Jim ought to know better -- and he probably does in his heart of hearts. But Jim isn't paid to know better. He's paid to write stuff that raises hackles.A city surrounded by sick suburbs is like a tree being slowly smothered by a dying vine. There comes a time when the tree can no longer bear the weight and it begins to suffocate and collapse. Where does Jim imagine all those suburban discontents are going to end up? Back in the city? And where does the city put them, and at what cost? The answer is in a reasonable middle ground, as I wrote before neither Jane Jacobs nor Robert Moses. (Each was a fanatic is his/her own way.) Cities and suburbs are going to have to solve their problem together. i.e., by a kind of -- that dirty word! -- regionalism. The middle course is always hard to steer. First, in this age of extreme opinions it's never popular. It always reads as compromise, which for some reason, has become another dirty word. It's much more fun to demonize the other side. (Think not? Read Jim's original column, which is fun if nothing else; then read the comments here. How many advocate a middle course? We're having a fun time taking up extremes. More roads!! No roads!!)One need not be a fan of the misbegotten Trinity Bottoms Toll Road to realize that, hey, cars and trucks are going to have to get through Dallas. Either through it or around it, which puts the ball in the suburbs' court. Or, probably, a combination of both.That recognition does not make one a lover of mindless sprawl. It just makes one a realist. And realism is always the least fun of positions.

trannyntraining
trannyntraining

What we call suburbs....some places refer to them as "boroughs". Maybe, a name change is due(looking at you, NYC). Will that appease the "urban wannabes" desires? Trannyntraining, out!

bob, just bob
bob, just bob

Ah the Trinity River. Remember 1984. Republican National Convention. They thought long and hard about the worst place to put all the protesters. This is in August. They decided on the Trinity River Bottoms. And this is where you want to build a park?

Richard Wharton
Richard Wharton

Why are there no sidewalks in front of the Arboretum?? The same reason that we're building a viaduct in the Trinity... Schlep more than yourself. 

WalkableDFW
WalkableDFW

According to a University of Toronto study called the First Law of Traffic Congestion, a 1:1 ratio exists between highway capacity and vehicle miles travelled. Meaning, if you add capacity, people drive more. People drive more because they're further apart AND you're effectively subsidizing auto-dependence & exurban "growth." And by growth, I mean cannibalization from the core. Intracity highway building is the opposite of economic development.

trannyntraining
trannyntraining

Maybe, folks don't move to Dallas for the city life? Heck, NYC and Chicago, both, have sprawl/lots of automobiles and the likes; yet that doesn't seem to affect them, too much. Dallas wouldn't be what it is without them 'burbs. Sorry guys. This city's main selling point is its cheapness. Once you start building up that cheapness goes away; hence Dallas don't look so attractive anymore for a lot of folks. I like to play fantasy, too, some times....but I also know where I live. Love it or hate it.....Dallas is a car city, and the metroplex even more so. I'm a daily DART rider(don't own a vehicle). How many of y'all "urbanist" are?

Daily Reader
Daily Reader

If the purpose of the projects is to unite the North and South sides, how is a toll road going to do that?   The uniting toll bridge isn't making much of an impact yet as far as I can tell.

Don Abbott
Don Abbott

Wait, wait, wait Jim.  One sentence in your excellent piece jumped out at me..."defend its own unique interest".  If you really want to talk about the history of regionalism, you cannot omit the truth of the Wright Amendment.  I know, I know, nobody wants to kick that dog anymore, but nothing damaged Dallas more than agreeing to "protect" DFW Airport.  We needed a central airport, but NOT at the forfeiture of the auxiliary airport that would be sorely necessary as the population ballooned.  Like the Trinity project which is about the Crow warehouse district, the Wright Amendment was a legislative moat built to protect American Airlines, which kicked aside the carcass of Braniff, and operated an aerial fiefdom for 40 years.  Look at the little man behind the curtain bellowing and pulling levers,  and Dallas' real self comes into view.  

PlanoDave
PlanoDave

In all of the discussions of "sprawl" being driven by the automobile, I never see mention of the fact that cars and trucks are needed as tools of business.

Life is not only what is in walking distance.  Those stores need supplies.  Do the supplies come from other businesses within walking distance?  Businesses have sales forces.  Do those sales forces only call on businesses within walking distance?  Did the fucking pullets in Jim's backyard come from a farm within walking distance of his house?

Get over it.  We are one of the 10 largest cities in the country.  That means we have vehicles and we need to be able to get around efficiently.  If you don't like it, I'm sure that Enid, OK would be more than happy to have you as a resident.

Ed D.
Ed D.

Right, because Dallas had no suburbs before the New Deal. No, wait...

Lyonheart80
Lyonheart80

Not that I like yuppies or anything, but a blind orangutang could tell you that: a) building a road inside a levee system is insanely retarded and b) 2 billion dollars could be better spent reengineering the mixmaster.

Anon
Anon

Yes, people want a personalized form of transport, but the costs of building and maintaining this infrastructure have shown to be crippling in this country and most others. This country (and this state and city) apparently has an appetite for the highway infrastructure that allows/forces us to use cars instead of public transportation, but we don't have an appetite for the taxes necessary to keep that infrastructure maintained. Giving people what they want without closely examining the cost side of the equation is not good policy.

RTGolden
RTGolden

Doesn't Mike mean "My Way IS the Highway"

Mo
Mo

Its good to see you have seen the light regarding Pizza Mike. He is just another Tom Leppert. Another boy of the Dallas Citizens Council. Another sell-out! Another Mayor that bought his Mayorship!!! 

Downtown Resident
Downtown Resident

People that live in Brooklyn are proud to say they live in New York, people that live in Frisco would be loathe to say they live in Dallas. There's a difference. 

trannyntraining
trannyntraining

Intracity highway building is what got Dallas' foot int the economic development door.  

Downtown Resident
Downtown Resident

The some of the tolls paid by drivers from the north side will end up becoming "walking around money" for some of the juiced in south Dallas politicians, hows that for unity? 

phe_75034
phe_75034

The Crow warehouse district? I'd like to know a little more about this theory. Do the Perots stand to gain from the tollroad too? Any of the other Great White Fathers?

Far too often, when you start to dig a little in this town, you find "the man behind the curtain" is exactly who you expect him to be.

Guest
Guest

Roads aren't necessary for business. That's why my fellow Republicans and I always point out how we are entirely self-made and didn't depend on the government to do anything for us, least of all build roads so we can bring our products to the people who buy them.

Did not happen.

Downtown Resident
Downtown Resident

Somebody should have told all those people in Manhattan how crucial it is for everybody to have their own vehicle to conduct business. I think they missed the memo. 

BFOC
BFOC

Not the kind you know of...they were built along streetcar lines, which were privately built. 

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

And what are the costs of not having it? Trucking relies on that system, and we rely on trucking for a very high percentage of our goods. The country is too vast for railroads to effectively serve all of it, so the highway and roads system is pretty much necessary for the US to keep commerce and the economy from grinding to a halt. You have to consider things on the macro scale as well. What good is a grocery store you can walk to if it can't get any food delivered to it quickly and cheaply?

trannyntraining
trannyntraining

Most people from Frisco probably do tell others, that they are from Dallas, when out of the area(i.e. on vacation, business, etc). Every major city in this country and the world(where do you think all the poor in Paris live?) have suburbs. Stop being a snob.

Gabe
Gabe

How so? I thought what made Dallas was the intercity connections, first by river crossing, then both by highway and rail, and finally by international airport. 

The airport, by the way, is a great analogy. If wewant a great city, weneed a big airport to connect nationally and internationally, for both cultural and economic reasons. But a giant airport has some pretty big drawbacks for the people living right next to it (and the local connections, since wedon't drive through it to get to the grocery store). The farther we get away from the airport, the more costly the connection is to it; but the closer we are, the more we suffer the negatives. So where to plop the thing? Dallas and Ft Worth balanced both sides of that equation for each party by putting it ~20 miles away. Close enough for each to enjoy the economic benefits, but far away from the denser core of their cities.

Highways are sort of like that. we want it to be able to deliver goods and people from far away, sure, but not right next my house. In some cases a 1/4 mile makes the scale doable, but in the case of downtown, that's a lot of concentrated area that has highway frontage. There are maps showing land values essentially plummet in a U-shape around downtown Dallas (city and non-profit investment kept has Woodall Rogers artificially high, but at a steep price - see the bill for the deck park). 

In short, the idea is that as the city densifies, we need to keep pushing the heavy through traffic (that which is not taking part in the economy (stopping for gas and a sandwich notwithstanding)) farther and farther away. In a well designed city, we don't go through the city core to go some place else.  

Darrd2010
Darrd2010

 Crows and everyone associated with The Dallas Citizens Council and yes that includes you know who.

Lyonheart80
Lyonheart80

Yeah, it's not like Manhattan is an island or anything.

RTGolden
RTGolden

I think you're missing the point.  All those groceries, restaurants, bodegas and liquor stores have to get their stock, merchandise and food in somehow.  In my few years of truck driving, the times I was in NYC I had to compete with lots of traffic and not very many Sherpa's or Rickshaws.  Have you ever been in Manhattan, during the work week, when buildings weren't coming down, that there wasn't sidewalk to sidewalk traffic?  didn't think so.

Lyonheart80
Lyonheart80

Actually it does or people wouldn't use the roads. It would take me 2 HOURS to get from my apartment in Lakewood to my office in Richardson by public transportation. I'm sure as heck not getting up at 4 in the morning to be in my office by 7:30. Especially when I can get up at 6:45 and get there at the same time.

Lyonheart80
Lyonheart80

It doesn't matter how many people "want" it. What matters is how many people will "use" it (thus paying for it). Unfortunately Dallas does not have the density to warrant the kind of mass transit that ostensibly people like you and Jim are asking for. It is simple math.

RTGolden
RTGolden

Not to mention Denver is embracing the region around it.  Using the attractions up and down the front range as a draw for visitors.  Denver has maintained and grown it's system of roads, highways and freeways/tollways to facilitate regional answers to local problems. Growing up on the West Slope of Colorado, I loved getting over the hump and visiting the front range.  I hated Denver.  Now, when I go back I love to stay in Denver, walking the downtown area and hopping on either the light rail or the loop or one of the two major freeways to get from downtown to the regional attractions.

If Dallas wants to attract visitors, it will do so by embracing the regional attractions and making them easier to get to.  I don't think the answer to this is the trinity tollroad, but the intracity highways will play an important part.  The Trinity River bottoms and the hardwood forest are wonderful treasures, to be sure, but nobody is going to plan a trip to Dallas to visit a mediocre waterway (which the Trinity will always be) and an urban forest.

Danny
Danny

Denver and Dallas have vastly different highway systems around their downtown areas.

Anon
Anon

my point is that there is no evidence to show that the current transportation system reflects the demands of the entire population. it was chosen by the government and subsidized. transportation systems are always changing and evolving. sometimes new highways will make sense. sometimes alternatives will make sense. the point is that if you see congestion and you always say "we need more roads" you will always be building roads. furthermore, the existing infrastructure is insufficient as is, let along to serve a growing population. saying we should just maintain it doesn't solve anyone's problems.I still don't see the problem with my Boulder example. it's not just a "college town" but an actual city, albeit a smaller one. Santa Fe comes to mind as well, although that's fairly small as well. it's developed as a city though, as opposed to being just a small town.

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

I never said anything about new highways. But the new and different systems you want sure do require land acquisition, research, planning, and finally construction. So tell me that it costs less to do ALL that than maintain and improve highways with existing right-of-ways.

By the way, playing "you cite a source" in response really does nothing other than give rather strong evidence you're talking out of your ass, but using Boulder as an example worked rather well in that regard first.

Anon
Anon

cite a source that shows people are willing to pay the full market price for highways and we can talk about the demand for alternative transit that you doubt. when I say full market price, I mean that the land to build will not be acquired using the government's eminent domain powers but will instead be accumulated in market-clearing transactions with private landholders. such a highway can never, and will never exist.

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

Do they, in fact, actually want it? Cite a source. 

And Boulder is a college town tucked up next to the mountains well off the interstate. Only state highways serve it and it isn't on the direct route between two points of major significance. As far as examples go, it's horrible. Oh, and Denver, a city that was vastly smaller in the 1940s, has light rail, a loop system, and is more compact a city with a thriving urban downtown a stone's throw from a very busy and important interstate that is rather necessary.

Anon
Anon

everywhere = outside the US (mostly) but Boulder comes to mind.can you name a single city in the US established after 1940? I can't. cities that put all their eggs in the automobile basket after 1940 for one reason or another obviously cannot quit cold turkey and turn their back on the car, but when making new spending decisions, they can try to accommodate the alternatives that people do, in fact, want.

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

Sure, you can have that, but it's no cheaper to implement than maintaining and improving the highway system. Look at DART--they're taking years and tons of money to scrape together the most skeleton of light-rail systems possible. And it's only useful to a very minor percentage of the population. How much larger does it need to be before it impacts highway usage? How many billions of dollars to make it large enough to impact it?

Implementing new ways costs money. The highways are there, like it or not. Money is best spent on improving the existing system, the problem is there's usually idiots involved in the decisions on how to do that. But new systems will feature new idiots. 

I do want to know where "everywhere" is though. Only cities established well before the 1940s have truly made highway-less cores work--I'd love to know of a younger city that's eliminated a bisecting highway. San Francisco comes to mind as an older example, and it took an earthquake to catalyze that. Plus it was a road along the coast circling their true core.

Anon
Anon

You can have a highway system that connects regional economies without the current bloat of highways that we have right now running through the middle of cities. This is really basic stuff and it happens everywhere (and works). Commerce is conducted. Stores get what they need to offer their customers. It's just the movement of people that changes.

PlanoDave
PlanoDave

Exactly.

I tell people from other cities that I am from Dallas.  When/if they ask "What part?", I say "Far North.  Up in Plano"

Paul
Paul

 Ummm, would this be why Love Field is still in operation as a commercial airport?

RTGolden
RTGolden

I had to read this comment twice to make sure there was no attempt to tie this in to gas drilling.  Well done, sir!

PlanoDave
PlanoDave

You are also talking about a land mass the size of DFW airport.

Downtown Resident
Downtown Resident

By pointing out how much of a pain it was for you to navigate your truck in Manhattan you undermine your original point, Manhattan thrives despite inconveniences to bodega and liquor store suppliers precisely because business can't help but be conducted where there is a confluence of people living and working in a concentrated area. Manhattan has hell of a lot more people than Dallas and a hell of a lot less highways.

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