TxDOT Won't Tear Out Deep Ellum's Freeway, But Dallas' Highway-Removal Push Has Just Begun

Categories: Transportation

ANewDallas.jpg
anewdallas.com
In news that should surprise no one, the Texas Department of Transportation will not tear down Interstate 345, the 1.7-mile stretch of highway separating Deep Ellum from downtown.

The Dallas Morning News reported over the weekend that the agency will instead repair the aging span, citing the same concern voiced by Assistant City Manager Jill Jordan: "Where do those 170,000 to 200,000 cars per day go?"

The answer, floated last year by urban planner Patrick Kennedy and real estate developer Brandon Hancock in their vision for "A New Dallas," is that they'd simply go elsewhere, along different highways for those passing through, and along under-used existing streets for those headed to local destinations. Meanwhile, the 245 acres of prime downtown real estate on which the highway squatted would be developed and generate something like $100 million in additional annual property tax revenue.

See also: TxDOT Wondering What to Do With Bridge Between I-30 and Woodall Rodgers. (Hint: They're Not Going to Tear It Down)

Kennedy isn't surprised that TxDOT wouldn't take his advice, nor does he consider his efforts a failure.

"One of our main goals was to show what the public process really is, that it in all likelihood wasn't going to be a real, legitimate, open dialogue," he says.

On that front, A New Dallas was a smashing success. It also succeeded in convincing various players -- leaders of the Deep Ellum Foundation, Downtown Dallas Inc., the Dallas Arts District, among others -- that a tear-down at least merited serious consideration.

What the movement failed to do was convince policymakers (not to mention the general driving public) that less highway doesn't necessarily equal more congestion, or, conversely, that more congestion can be a positive if it spurs economic development, opens up the ring of concrete that is strangling downtown, and improves quality of life.

Such considerations don't jibe with the paradigm currently in favor at TxDOT and the city of Dallas, in which the efficient movement of vehicles is paramount.

See also: The Push to Tear Down I-345 Gains Steam

Still, the conversation has begun, and Kennedy says "A New Dallas" will continue to push it forward, now more than ever. Among the items on the agenda is to hire a transportation consulting firm like Nelson/Nygaard to conduct a more rigorous study of the effects of tearing out I-345. Eventually, maybe other highways too.

At some point, the thinking goes, the evidence will be impossible to ignore. TxDOT will have to pay attention.

Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.

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87 comments
manpanties
manpanties

would be nice to bury part of the road and have another deck park.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

What's the biggest knock on Austin?

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

Limited access expressways carry 5 times as many vehicles as a 6-lane principal directional thoroughfare at maximum traffic capacity (say, 40 to 50k per day).  Even then, the snarl downtown would defeat the reason you proffer up to tear down the freeway..  

Where do you intend to run the traffic if you tear down the freeway?  Certainly not on the grade-level road system.  This metro is not Austin for a reason - we have expressways.  Mobility allows people to access the employment centers.  You are not an isolated county seat out in the veldt.  You are an urban core that is inextricably intertwined to the rest of the dense urban environment.

The same argument applies to Highland Park?  Plano?  Richardson? Any other town in the Metroplex that has regional freeways running through them.  What makes you so special?

Why is this not NIMBY?

libtard_apologist
libtard_apologist

This is the dumbest, most naive libtard fantasy ever promoted by the dumb naive "progressive" libtard bloggers at the Observer, and that's quite an accomplishment.

roo_ster
roo_ster

EN wrote: "that more congestion can be a positive if it spurs economic development, opens up the ring of concrete that is strangling downtown,"

Are  you nuts?  The roadways around Dallas are part of the reason downtown has developed.  If folk could not easily get to or around downtown, fewer businesses would locate downtown.  Make it harder to get downtown or go around it and fewer folks will come.  Downtown will lose out to other centers of mass that are easier to access.

MattL11
MattL11

That's unfortunate. I knew it was a long-shot, but sometimes long-shots that are also good ideas have a way of working out in the end. Not this time, but at least the argument got to be made. 


Oh well, maybe in another 5 years when the politically-connected contractor's shoddy work reveals the need for more extensive repairs. 

becoolerifyoudid
becoolerifyoudid

Where's that Mike Dunlop guy (or whatever his name is) to tell us how a world class city like New Yawk would do it?

CitzenKim
CitzenKim

I heard the folks in Waco are getting tired of I-35 destroying the walkability of their city, and want to tear it down in the city limits.  All you folks traveling to Austin and San Antonio can just find another way "elsewhere."

Tonio
Tonio

I live in East Dallas and have a tough time getting to Love Field, so let's take Mockingbird and demolish all the houses and businesses alongside it and put up an elevated 8 lane expressway so I can get there faster. And, you know, for the greater good. 

Tolldya
Tolldya

"Elsewhere."  Did this guy formulate the GOP healthcare proposal?

dingo
dingo

"Among the items on the agenda is to hire a transportation consulting firm like Nelson/Nygaard to conduct a more rigorous study of the effects of tearing out I-345."

"One of our main goals was to show what the public process really is, that it in all likelihood wasn't going to be a real, legitimate, open dialogue," he says."

Wait, we are blaming others for lack of legitimacy when no serious analysis was undertaken by the proponents?

WylieH
WylieH

TxDOT originally wanted to run another highway along the southern edge of Highland Park, cutting through the middle of the M Streets and Lakewood. It was in the official highway plan for years, with the support of the City. Took a lot of hard work to get the plan cancelled. They also wanted Central Expressway to be elevated up to LBJ.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@manpanties  

Actually, TxDoT has that already drawn up for I-30 at 2nd Ave.  Drop I-30 below grade, expand it to nineteen lanes, and deck it across for direct access to Fair Park.  The City, DART, TxDoT and Baylor Hospital (the prime mover on this) have signed a letter along with schematics.  It is called the East Corridor Plan.  It is not yet funded, however.

becoolerifyoudid
becoolerifyoudid

@holmantx Do I have to be limited to one?  But yeah traffic which also destroyed affordability since everyone that can afford to live central does so just so they can avoid traffic. 

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@holmantx  yep, holman, they said they could send that traffic down onto surface streets through downtown thus making it more likely for people to stop and shop or sight see blah blah blah

Oxtail
Oxtail

@libtard_apologist  Libtard my ass. Getting government (TXDOT) out and creating new business? It's the most Republican idea around. I'm right of center and I'm all for it.

jlamb417
jlamb417

@roo_ster  That is exactly why Manhattan is the desolate wasteland that it is.   Not enough highways running through the island....

MikeDunlap
MikeDunlap

Here.

I admit that New York has nothing on Plano when it comes to great cities of ths world.

MattL11
MattL11

@CitzenKim  Yeah, that's clearly an idiotic comparison. If you don't see that, wow. 

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

@Tonio  

I would settle for a 4 lane roadway with decently timed lights.

I wonder if anyone has done an air quality study of the effect of the congested traffic on M-bird?

ghkyluhhje
ghkyluhhje

@oakclifftownie Exactly. Interstate and intrastate commerce? Who needs it? We can still hunt and gather like our ancestors who died at the age of 35. We all have two arms. Well, most of us anyway.

MikeDunlap
MikeDunlap

White people in North Dallas had the power to prevent such things.

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

@WylieH  

Equally rancorous was the construction of the DNT.  The original plan called for the DNT to go over crossing roads starting at Northwest Hwy to Forest.

d-may
d-may

@holmantx @manpanties  And it never will be funded unless there is another Obama-Stimulus style federal spending program. That's where a big chunk of the money for KWP came from. 

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@becoolerifyoudid @holmantx  

You stand as much chance knocking down that freeway as does West Dallas blowing the Calatrava Bridge.

In the name of walkability.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@ScottsMerkin @holmantx  

Dallas has made a large number of compacts with the rest of the towns who are all members of the North Central Texas Council of Governments.  A big chunk of those written agreements deal directly with long range MOBILITY and TRANSPORTATION needs.

Go to nctcog.org then look at T for transportation and you might begin to realize the scale of what we have been a part of, and a lot of that requires us to NOT screw up the regional expressway system because Luddites want a community garden, or idlewild.

You want to see the Metropolitan inhabitants go wild on the downtowners, just let this goofy, hurtful stupid new urbanist trick get any traction at all.

Like that moronic idea to load up the emergency costs on car wrecks who don't live in the city, just think about the retaliation  the rest of the Metroplex will have in store for the non-Dallasites.  Tolls.

What's next?

Plow under Love Field?

MikeDunlap
MikeDunlap

And Paris, Vancouver, Barcelona, Copenhagen, etc... All these horrific, empty places where the entire populations have moved out to the distant fields, completely unable to go into the cities because they don't have massive highways running directly into them.

Plano on the other hand... now there is the pinnacle of human progress. A town overflowing with world class arts venues, unrivaled architecture, tier 1 universities, vibrant and beautiful plazas, world famous parks, and an amazingly sophisticated, enlightened populace. All due to its large highways.

CitzenKim
CitzenKim

@MattL11 @CitzenKim I-345: major highway that divides the city; primarily used by people that are traveling through and not originating or terminating there.


I-35 in Waco: major highway that divides the city; primarily used by people that are traveling through and not originating or terminating there.


Clearly an idiotic comparison.  I stand corrected.  I also recommend sobering up before future posting.

MikeDunlap
MikeDunlap

Exactly. New York has no commerce because it has no highways running through it. Daytime traffic is 1 million times worse than anything anywhere in Dallas. Hell, you can walk from the East River to the Hudson faster than the M34 bus can run the same route during mid-day.

This is exactly why no one lives in New York City anymore.

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

@d-may @holmantx@manpanties 

The LBJ Distressway is going to be a nightmare.

The wrecks at all the entrance/exits will keep all the traffic at a crawl.

I wonder if they'll have negative tolls?

d-may
d-may

@holmantx @d-may @manpanties  

Wow. Okay, I'm sorry. I forget that on the internet the whisper of Obama's name sets off a gasket in conservative's heads.

Look, I'm not advocating for another Obama Stimulus. (We are still working through the money set aside for the first one.) I was just acknowledging that Klyde Warren Park was largely funded by Obama's Stimulus. That is, in and of itself, neither a promotion nor a detraction. That's just a fact. 


That said, The same is true for The East Corridor Project. It has no money. It certainly has no money for expensive amenities like a deck park. TxDOT has no money. NTTA's credit is tapped out, so they are going to have to hold off on new construction projects. The road also probably won't have the Spanish to save it like LBJ did, private investors will probably wait to see how well LBJ's experiment works out. Finally, the City of Dallas isn't going to be able to dump money there, since it's already neck deep in debt too, and the next several bond programs are going to be flood projects anyway -as that's the city's most pressing need. 

That leave the Feds as the only entity that could conceivably fund the project. And that's not going to happen -which was my point in my earlier comment. So what are we even talking about? 

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@d-may @holmantx @manpanties  

Where did that money come from?  Taxation or borrowing from China?

Are you aware of what is happening today?

Ever hear of the phrase that has entered the Lexicon?

"Bad News is Good News"

The Fed has been juicing the stock market by buying debt at $85 Billion a month, and Treasury has been buying its own debt because no one else will.  Treasury has also been printing money - over a Trillion of it - unbacked except by the "full faith and credit" thingy.

Unfortunately, the Fed announced that even bad news will not be met with more funny money.  Up until now, trickle down from the stock market and artificially low interest rates are the only drivers of the economy.

See, now bad news means bad news.  The stock market is tanking in hopes of threatening the Fed Chair - Yellen - who was just installed yesterday.

If the Wall Street boys and girls can't get Washington's mind right on Bad News means Good News, that friggin overpass will be the least of our concerns.

The Blonde, is about out of checks.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@ScottsMerkin @ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul  

This is what happens when political considerations trump business decisions.  

It is why government should stay out of the Hotel and Condo Tower business.

The first DART lines that should have been built were the ones that would be most likely to help get it into the black as fast as possible.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul  how shitty is it that DART built a station to serve Love that doesnt even drop you off at Love but DFW has a fucking DART terminal inside of it

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

@holmantx @ScottsMerkin

"What's next?

Plow under Love Field?"

Tried that, couldn't make it happen.

But then they did succeed in getting DART to not put in  station to serve the airport.

WhyDontYouJoinNAMBLA
WhyDontYouJoinNAMBLA

@holmantx @ScottsMerkin  I don't understand why people who hate highways so much can't just move to places that also hate highways just as much, rather than moving here and making the rest of us suffer.


Oh, you can't afford to live in SF or can't get a job in Portland? Too bad, go fuck yourselves.

MikeDunlap
MikeDunlap

I give up. How do other much more vibrant, far more congested, much greater cities than Dallas do it?

This is some unfathomable mystery I guess.

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