Dallas Streets Keep Getting Worse and Worse

Categories: City Hall

PotholeAlanStantonFlickr.jpg
Alan Stanton
The main danger posed by Dallas' tepid growth is, as Councilman Scott Griggs pointed out this week, that the city will find itself without enough tax revenue to maintain its sprawling infrastructure. Raise taxes and make repairs or let things decay, either response will drive people away, crunching the budget tighter. Initiate downward spiral.

Already, Dallas isn't exactly doing a fantastic job of taking care of the nuts and bolts.

The city's network of traffic signals is badly outdated. Arts facilities need almost $200 million of work. And what of Dallas' 11,700 miles of streets?

See also: Why Dallas' Traffic Lights Are So Terrible

StreetScannerDallas.JPG
Right now, according to data that will be presented to the City Council's transportation committee on Monday, 81.8 percent of Dallas streets rated "satisfactory," according to the city's special street-scanner vehicle (see picture).

Seems like a decent enough score until you consider 1) that it falls well shy of the city's 87-percent target; 2) is worse than it was three years ago; and 3) that the term "satisfactory" is used loosely (a score of at least 45 on a 100-point scale).

Here's a council district-by-council district breakdown comparing 2011 with 2014:

StreetRepair4.jpg

StreetRepair5.jpg

And here is what will happen if the road budget stays the same over the next three years:

StreetRepair2.JPG

During its briefing Monday, city staff will present council members with several approaches to the problem, all of which are really expensive. The city can either: resurface bad streets at the same rate that satisfactory streets become unsatisfactory ($728 million over four years); repair all the barely satisfactory streets so they don't become unsatisfactory ($245 million); or just focus on repairing the main thoroughfares and collectors ($187 million).

In other words: new bond package.

Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.


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51 comments
Subnx
Subnx

So divert all funding of the arts to street repair.

markzero
markzero

I think we also need to see a chart showing what percentage of bond projects in the last 30 years have actually been completed (or are in progress) as promised to the voters. Don't we have some projects that were funded but never started, as well as some where the goals magically changed after the taxpayers approved? Not to mention, probably some where money got diverted.


rusknative
rusknative

with the County Govt so bad, taxes so high on property, school systems in disarray, and racial tensions out of sight.....the MONEY is moving OUT of the CITY....and urban dwellers will not TAKE UP THE SLACK in tax collection nor service purchasing.   DOOM.  not quite Detroit, nor Houston, nor Cleveland....but too black for reforming and fixing now.

gordonhilgers
gordonhilgers

Honestly.  I feel sorry for both Dallas County and The City of Dallas.  Why?  Money is short. 

At least federal income taxes are lower than since, like, around 1950.  Pothole-riddled roads, Dallas young urban professionals driving like King Lears and Catherine the Greats in your brand-spanky-spank new Beemers and Mercedes (German made, but with a Spanish name for "The Virgin Mary"), are "the other half of luxury" 

While you, young money equals freedom jokers and clowns, are wrapped in about a ton-and-a-half of steel to protect you, those potholes are big killjoys, aren't they?  Yeah, sure.  Let's drive the Mercedes convertable 80 mph in a school zone because we can.  Oops! 

POTHOLE!

Down at Pep Boys, you haul-in the Mercedes to get the suspension fixed, and while 2/3 of the eight billion people in the world are living on two dollars or less a day ("Beans and Rice and Jesus Christ!") the wrecked suspension or cracked bendix or scraped ball bearings--no problem, goblin!  Only $750 so young urban professional can push the pedal to the metal to get to the speed-dating bar. 

Gets drunk at speed-dating bar and ends up going home with some Middle Eastern dude. Kismet! 

I ride the bus.  The bus saves energy and helps keep those potholes from taking over the freaking government.  Texas used to have the most effective (did I say efficient?  What is the difference between efficiency and effectiveness anyway?) interstate highway system in America: Now it is a concrete basketball game with large SUVs. 

No one can tell me the United States is not being fattened up for the kill. 

When are you going to wake up and get off the luxury channel? 

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

"The Public Works Department is responsible for Capital Improvement Projects funded through voter approved Bond Programs. From building and replacing sidewalks, street resurfacing and reconstruction, building and remodeling libraries and fire stations, to large scale projects such as the American Airlines Center, the City Performance Hall, the Winspear Opera House and the Latino Cultural Center, the Public Works Department leads the way!"  from your public servants at Dallas City Hall.

Streets went downhill the day they stopped wasting taxpayer revenues directly on the streets.  We switched to bonds to fund maintenance.

I think if we switched the funding of maintenance back to collected revenues, a basic function of city government, a more responsive government would emerge.

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

Do you really have to go to Europe to get a picture of a pothole?

Is it too much effort to send somebody down to Oak Lawn or Maple and snap a picture of the pavement?

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

Well the city may have created it's first visual aid with some sort of practical use.  By looking at the projected road degradation, taking the inverse percentage, multiply by 1274.52 and adding a 5.7% annual increase, I can almost estimate how much I'm going to have to spend on chassis, suspension and body repairs on my truck for the next several years.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

Ross sucks balls, manholes protruding 6" above the road and then there are the mogul like bumps heading west on ross at field.  good lord, hit those going faster than 10 mph while trying to brake and your ABS kicks in

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

Hey, but we've got a HOTEL.


curmudgeon
curmudgeon

The management by crisis is getting really old followed by the "we need hundreds of millions for this!" mantra from every damn council briefing. 

ruddski
ruddski

But soon, we'll be able to eat the KIAs found on Stemmons service roads.

Jim253
Jim253

yes but keep being snarky about the horrible suburbs.  My roads are just fine

Greg820
Greg820

But we really NEED another Calatrava bridge and toll road before such minor issues as actually getting to them safely.


G_David
G_David

It's fashionable to bitch about the streets, but good lord, they have gotten just ridiculous lately. Recently, streets that have been dug up and then "repaved" are just pathetic. Gaston, east of Abrams is one that comes to mind.

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

Eric, please learn the difference between "want" and "need".


The arts facilities managers want $200 million of repairs and renovations.  The question is, how much do they need?


To further illustrate, I need to replace my car; I want a brand new Mercedes SLK500.


Is this situation with roads another part of Ms. Suhm's legacy?  I thought that she took care of the arts.

observist
observist topcommenter

Yes, but thank goodness we have that convention center hotel!  Just think how bad the streets would be if we didn't have the hotel!

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

@gordonhilgers The bus is a helluva lot heavier than the Benz, and does exponentially more damage to the pavement.

ruddski
ruddski

Mercedes at Pep Boys? My God, poverty really IS the default condition of mankind!

And it's Mexico, not America, with the world-class weight gain problem, even though were stealing all their corn to fuel our Mercedes and Bimmers.

Which, regardless of the ability, rarely if ever hit 80 in a school zone. Kids with overloaded backpacks can be a lot harder on finely-tuned suspensions than a simple pothole, even the medicinal ones - according to the luxury channel.

BTW, those overloaded buses are what cause the potholes.

roo_ster
roo_ster

@holmantx  

This 

Use revenues to pay for repairs.  An idea so crazy, it just might work!

ruddski
ruddski

It's just an example of a World-Class pothole, the ones you cite would likely humor the Euros as much as your primitive voting ID procedures and silly poseur bridge.

ruddski
ruddski

Now you know why d'bags lease those bimmers.

WylieH
WylieH

@curmudgeon  Over a year ago, I predicted a torrent of bad news about the true state of the City shortly after Suhm stepped down.  I have a feeling it is going to get much worse.

ruddski
ruddski

True.

KIA is such a a properly-named vehicle.

WheelTax
WheelTax

@Jim253  That's because the only people who drive there are the sad sacks who actually live there and pay taxes, so the amount of funding for maintenance is well-matched to the need. The city of Dallas, OTOH, has tons of freeloaders coming in every day from Plano in their Tahoes and F-150s and causing wear and tear on the roads but not paying a dime in taxes toward maintenance.

bushwood.smithie
bushwood.smithie

@G_David  Drive Haskell south of Gaston, then try to convince yourself that it was totally re-paved just a few months ago. Somebody's brother-in-law made a killing on that contract

whocareswhatithink
whocareswhatithink

@G_David Mockingbird. Just plain old mockingbird, and HP is not even immune to the crap that Mockingbird is, although West of Toll and East of 75 is worse.

WylieH
WylieH

@observist  And the renovated convention center.... we really needed that, as well.  It makes me feel a lot better every time I have to get my front end aligned to know that, at the very least, our convention center got a makeover--- because we needed to be world class.

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

@observist Oh man, here I went and said the same thing without reading first.

Great minds...

gordonhilgers
gordonhilgers

@Montemalone @gordonhilgers--That's true, man, but really: I was talking about the shocking decline in road and highway quality since 1980, the year King Ronald Wilson Reagan ascended to the throne.  While conservatives, especially the Great Speckled Know-Nothing, indigenous to the uber-ignorant and uber-contemptous South, whine like dogs about taxation (federal income taxes are now at the lowest level since the 1950s), they tend to ignore the pressure less tax revenue going to the federal government tends to create a "kick the can down the road" in which states are left holding the responsibility.  Then, when we have Scary Rick Perry wanting to brag he balanced the budget by practically wrecking the social safety net (while rewarding his paying campaign constituency: crony capitalism at its most blatant) the roads get placed on "the back burner".  Then, when counties and cities, the last houses on the block in terms of funding absolutely necessary governmental services such as road repair, the money is so low that many possibilities that indeed would make life happier for all of us that cities and counties have two options: raise property taxes through the roof, chase the poor people out of the inner city, and then the other option of just ignore the potholes and hope they go away. 

YOUR tax cuts at work.  An automobile has a "relationship" with its road.  When the rubber meets the road, the undercarriage suffers and wifey-wife feels as if her eggs are being shaken-up to the point she wants to just get out of the car altogether.  


In terms of public services, you get what you pay for.  Welcome to McDonald's. 

ruddski
ruddski

@Montemalone

Especially when loaded with fatties, maybe they should be made to walk.

gordonhilgers
gordonhilgers

@ruddski If you knew one damned thing about why Native Americans, particularly those in the Southwestern United States, are "fatties", you would know that, for indigenous peoples, many of whom had retained status as wandering hunter-gatherers quite successfully for 40,000 years, the grease-laden Mexican food, the pointed lack of fruits, berries and seeds and nuts in their diets--all of that adds up to serious weight problems that do cause so-called "Mexicans" towards seriously overweight problems that indeed lead to heart disease, high blood pressure, osteoarthritis and numerous illnesses.  Like alcohol.  Alcohol has devastated Native America all over the Western Hemisphere. 

My ancestors, on my dad's side, probably lived on potatoes for thousands of years. 

I love fake meat and tater tots. 

ruddski
ruddski

When I left Arlington, it had several miles of moon-quality roads.

G_David
G_David

@bushwood.smithie @G_David  I actually just drove from N.W. Highway on Lemmon/Haskell all the way to Main Street, which is my daily commute home. Believe it or not, it's actually worse between 75 and Gaston. The short stretch of Beacon between Live Oak and Gaston was torn up for utility work several months ago. When they were done, it was instantly the worst stretch of road in the city. It's like they're not even trying.

ruddski
ruddski

McDonalds keeps a close eye on theft, graft and other necessities that are part and parcel of government. But, they can't force fatties to eat more salads. Government can, and will, since fatties of all stripes cost the collective, just like smoking and insurance policies deemed substandard.

ruddski
ruddski

I bet he can live on less than two bucks a day.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@ruddski  @Montemalone that gordon dude is exactly why people are afraid to ride DART, they end sitting next to a wacko like gordon who makes them feel like they are about to be murdered

ruddski
ruddski

@gordon

Just relaying info from the UN, amigo. Since I'm not Mexican, only 1/64 Cherokee, in perfect health, and have absolutely no control over the diets of others (that's the governments job),I really don't care *why* bus-riding Mexicans or Native Americans are destroying Dallas roadways, and I don't care since I avoid Texas, but I sure as hell ain't blaming Mecedes.

Especially not those sweet AMG's.

ruddski
ruddski

Lamar between Collins and 360 is like spring skiing on upper hades.

Gangy
Gangy

@WylieH @G_David@bushwood.smithieThere might even be rewards for failure - privatize street maintenance and make some money off of it or at least make a political donor very happy.


WylieH
WylieH

@G_David @bushwood.smithie  That's because they're not trying... City staff could care less.  There are zero consequences for failure to perform.

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