Dallas Councilwoman Vonciel Hill: I-345 Tear-down Would Be a Disaster

Categories: Transportation

i345sign.jpeg
The Dallas Morning News' Brandon Formby spent days, maybe weeks, trying to chase down Councilwoman Vonciel Jones Hill to get her views on tearing down I-345, the short nub of freeway dividing Deep Ellum from downtown. She wouldn't talk, twice begging off because she was too busy, then just not returning phone calls.

Hill, chair of Dallas' Transportation and Trinity River Corridor Committee and one of the city's four representatives on the powerful Regional Transportation Council, will have a strong voice in deciding the fate of 345. She put any doubt about her position to rest at Thursday's RTC meeting in Arlington.

Responding to Councilwoman and fellow RTC member Sandy Greyson's complaint that transportation planners had put the cart before the horse by predicating the removal of 345 on the construction of the Trinity Parkway, Hill erased any doubt, if there ever was any, of where she stands.

I want to be on record as taking the almost polar opposite position of my esteemed colleague from the north. I-345 directly impacts the people that I represent. They have to have a way to get from where they live -- South Oak Cliff, Pleasant Grove, South Dallas -- to where the jobs are: downtown, the medical district, the airport, and to other points north. Taking down I-345 substantially and adversely affects the folk that I represent.

If the conversation is going to head in the direction of taking down I-345 -- which I absolutely oppose -- then there has to be something to replace it, and it is not surface streets. The most practicable replacement at this time in history is the Trinity Parkway. There is not anything else out there to replace how my folk get from south to north and downtown. Therefore, while Ms. Greyson and I represent the same very large metropolitan urbanized area, we take a diametrically opposed position on what happens with the Trinity Parkway in conjunction with I-345.

Hill isn't the only Dallas City Council member opposed to the tear-down. Councilman Sheffie Kadane went a bit further, suggesting the Trinity Parkway, which if it's ever built will link I-45 and Stemmons, is a prerequisite both for keeping 345 and tearing it down.

"To keep the parkway, we keep 345. That's what it's all about. That parkway has been approved twice," he said, turning his attention toward Greyson. "I don't care. That's what you're fighting about, Sandy: You don't want that parkway. And that's the only reason you brought that up. So yeah I am gonna fight you."

Hill and Kadane are just two people, but their voices are important. North Central Texas Council of Governments director Michael Morris -- the guy who initially linked a 345 teardown and the Trinity toll road -- said that considering any options besides repair would need buy-in from TxDOT, the driving public, and the city of Dallas.

Easy to see this ending with TxDOT's promised teardown study (now on the fast track) predicting carmageddon and a dismissive "told you so," from the local transportation brain trust.

Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.

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74 comments
casiepierce
casiepierce

Good grief, just exactly how dense are you people? Follow. The. Money. Lots of creative rich people in this here burg. The Trinity "Parkway" is dead in the proverbial water. 

In order to drum-up a new need for it, we must now create a fake reason to tear-down 345. Because it's *gasp* old, creating a barrier (that's been there and no hue and cry for its removal 20 years ago), it's the "New Urbanism" solution to past blights in American cities, etc., ad infinitum (and note: the proponents/backers of tollroad vs proponents/backers of tearing down 345 don't care one whim about creating a more "livable" Dallas).


This is merely the newest/latest smokescreen to get that stupid fucking Trinity tollroad. er, um "parkway", back on track.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

I don't know if it would be a disaster.  

Just depends upon how fast we can up it back up if it is.

Where's Pelosi when we need her.

ozonelarryb
ozonelarryb

Eric, you have redefined redundancy: Hill and disaster in the same sentence. Well done.

MikeDunlap
MikeDunlap

I love how much this issue unites white Collin County Republicans and South Dallas city council reps. Usually a sign you're onto good idea.

MikeDunlap
MikeDunlap

This is the best endorsement of the tearout yet.

anita-plummer
anita-plummer

I have a question that may come off as a joke but I mean it in a sincere and caring way as I am just curious.


Does Ms. Hill suffer from some chronic disease that causes her body to look short, heavy and stumpy?   Like a taller version of Gary Coleman or Webster.   I think those dudes had a kidney malfunction that gave them a freakish look.  


I thought that might be the reason she rarely goes out as she might have a lot of medical issues and seems to miss so many votes not to mention she seems very dense.   Again, I mean this in the nicest way possible. 

zewkini
zewkini

Way to go Councilwoman Jones et al.


The willful ignorance and denial of the reality of how important I345 is for traffic is absolutely appalling.  It simply cannot be torn down and the volume of auto and truck traffic it accommodates pushed onto surface streets.  Not only that, that stretch belongs to the state, not Dallas or anyone else.  A traffic study will take at least 10 years before any consideration can be given to the selfish and self-centered people who want it gone.

AdamsonScott
AdamsonScott

A broken clock is right twice a day.  It's the first time I've ever agreed with her.

lolotehe
lolotehe

Say, if that happens, how does it effect the traffic from Woodall to Central?

raymondmcrawford
raymondmcrawford

Hill's Transportation Committee meets on Monday at  2 pm

She's reportedly taking a break from her Easter morning plans with Mary Suhm in their underground bunker to come out into the light.

Let's go and watch her create some miracles!

Cliffhanger
Cliffhanger

Vonciel has once again conflated "the people who live in her district" with "the people she represents."

Rooster0620
Rooster0620

Until the people pushing for the tear down can come up with something better than, "Well, er um, if we tear it down all that traffic will go someplace else, or fewer people will drive, or well...you know...somesuch", this thing is dead in the water.

jmckee3
jmckee3

Let me see if I understand this correctly, Vonciel Hill's concerns about tearing down a road used by her low income constituents would be satisfied by forcing them onto a tollway?

WylieH
WylieH

[That parkway has been approved twice," (Sheffie Kadane) said, turning his attention toward Greyson. "I don't care.]

Kadane raises a couple of interesting issues:

1). Prior to the prior election, Michael Morris used his position as a senior staffer of a quasi-public agency to actively lobby for the toll road. Is that permissible under state and federal law?

2). During the same time frame, Michael Morris appears to have circulated knowingly false information in an effort to influence the election outcome. Is that permissible under state and federal law.

Oxtail
Oxtail

 Its about the past and the future. ...So tired of people freaking out about possibly not having a freeway that never should have been there to begin with. http://tinyurl.com/kc7erok

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

Maybe the delay in response was just to make sure the check cleared.

Evidently, it didn't.

snotme
snotme

I am in shock and amazement. Only because I actually agree with something Hill said. Anyone advocating destroying a highway in lieu of dumping the traffic onto downtown surface streets is as insane as the people who voted to create the toll road inside a flood levee.

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

Kriminy, the Floodway Tollway is worse than Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction.  How many times does it need to be killed before it finally dies?


OK, I will assume that it is needed for the IH345 thingamabob, but I have one question:  How do all of the people going south on Central get tot the Floodway Tollway?

Walton91
Walton91

@casiepierce there was no hue and cry because 345 wasn't at the end of its 40 year lifespan 20 years ago.  It is now.

halldecker
halldecker

@casiepierce Hasn't anybody told Ms. Hill that the tollroad will charge money for its use?  Which her 'folks' will have to come up with.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@MikeDunlap  

A punk with an idea does not a tearout make.  

You have not yet made the case that life is impeded by an overpass not in the way.  Your only argument is that it offends..  But who does it offend? 

a neighborhood.

Two fools standing in the middle of Arrogance Avenue intersecting with Tribalism Boulevard, whilst objecting to a NIMBY overpass.

cry me a fucking river.

go wash your face.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@anita-plummer  

Hercule-Savinien Cyrano de Bergerac (6 March 1619 – 28 July 1655) was a French dramatist and duelist. In fictional works about his life he is featured with an overly large nose, which people would travel from miles around to see.

Even if she is right next to the dog-faced boy in your nearest carnival, to take a shot at a public official's physical appearance in order to marginalize the debate, is something I would do.

kduble
kduble

@zewkini Not only is it a possibility it could be torn down, but this is happening in cities all over the country, and even all over the world.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@Cliffhanger It is no small irritation that she continuously gets the order of possession wrong.  She is her constituent's representative, they are not her people.

notmadeomoney
notmadeomoney

@Rooster0620  but urban cohesions!!!!!!!!!!!  Remember that the people in the Southern Sector don't matter, all that matters is that we get downtown to look trendier and hipper.  By removing accessibility from low-income commuters AND raising rents and prices in Downtown/Deep Ellum, we can accomplish the hipster goal of re-establishing economic segregation from multiple angles.

notmadeomoney
notmadeomoney

@jmckee3   I think she's saying that an alternative must be built before even considering removing a major transportation artery that her constituents use, although a tollway is not the preferred method it's at least a starting point (but still not enough to replace the function 345 serves)  ... but if you want to totally ignore that then yes, this is the only logical interpretation.

raymondmcrawford
raymondmcrawford

@WylieH That parkway was promoted under false pretenses. Does that count for anything? Oh wait, we're in Dallas, the answer is no.

notmadeomoney
notmadeomoney

@WylieH  It seems to me that an asset for the city of Dallas has been approved of and budgeted multiple times by our elected officials and that it probably should not be held hostage by the unsurprising fact that politicians are corrupt.

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

@WylieH  

It is legal until someone indicts him for it and obtains a conviction.  This seems to be the definition today of "Is it legal?".

dingo
dingo

@Oxtail  

Its about the past... 

Does that mean we deed Fort Worth back to the Comanches and Dallas back to the Wichitas?

kduble
kduble

@snotme Once you've familiarized yourself with the concept of induced demand, you may feel differently.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul  take woodall over to the dams, jump on the floodway, get back on 30 go west back to 45.  sounds like a blast

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@MikeDunlap  

your cry will not survive even a cursory lucid analysis.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@kduble @zewkini  

no, it's not.  And fabricating such in-your-face illogic diminishes an otherwise stellar career in blognostication.  

Nowhere are freeways being torn down to make way for luddite villages

The turn carries a massive amount of your neighboring traffic, whom you owe a debt.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@RTGolden

Maybe she takes her cue from Eric Holder.

kduble
kduble

@notmadeomoney Only if removing the road increases economic activity would higher rents and prices even be a concern. But, is that your argument? South Dallas residents should oppose economic activity closer to home because Deep Ellum's rents and prices might go up?

kduble
kduble

@notmadeomoney Of course, you overlook the fact an east-west road can't replace a north-south road in any event.

Oxtail
Oxtail

@dingo Good point. There is nothing worse than traveling down I-345 and getting stuck behind tribes of angry Comanches and Wichitas. 

snotme
snotme

Induced demand refers to diverting traffic or new vehicle trips. Destroying I-345 will not create new vehicle trips. It will most certainly divert traffic, but to other roads that are already over capacity. So I am not sure what I am feeling differently about.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@kduble @holmantx  

Do you really think it's in the interest of central Dallas to have what was once a united central business area bisected by a freeway?

What is this, a trick question?

If you reduce or remove the access to an intense area of economic activity, you will correspondingly lose that economic base.

And what do you say to the neighborhoods across the metropolitan area who also have accepted the bargain to put up with "bisecting" freeways that provide regional access?

Think of these arteries as the circulating blood stream of capitalism.

Think twice before you cut one of them.

kduble
kduble

@holmantxYou're correct in saying those "...who voted to put the homeless downtown (over the objections of D/T) are going to object vociferously when downtown tries to knock down a heavily traveled freeway."


Those of us who live here know we're being sold down the river by those in the 'burbs.


Saying that "... removing the access could tip the scales in favor of migrating the financial district out to the center of the Metro" is just plain crazy. Do you really think it's in the interest of central Dallas to have what was once a united central business area bisected by a freeway? Do you really think this fosters economic activity?

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

@holmantx @kduble 

US 175 will also be extended to directly connect with IH45 when the section of US175/SH310 is converted from a limited access expressway to a boulevard, thus reducing the amount of traffic on that segment.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@kduble @holmantx  

175 is a freeway with a hairpin curve that's killing people.  You intentionally misrepresent what's going on there because you have no argument.  And it carries less than a third of the daily traffic load 345 does.

The bottom line is that the same majority who voted to put the homeless downtown (over the objections of D/T) are going to object vociferously when downtown tries to knock down a heavily traveled freeway millions rely upon in the metropolitan area.

You are trying to convince millions in the region and a 130,000 who work downtown that rely upon that limited access expressway to transit the central core area of Dallas, when only a few thousand will benefit - maybe.

There is an even chance that removing the access could tip the scales in favor of migrating the financial district out to the center of the Metro.

You have no idea what the effect will be and besides, the other 6.5 million who have expressways transiting their neighborhoods are not going to allow it.  We all formed a partnership and built a regional transportation plan, and everyone must do their part.


kduble
kduble

@holmantx If you're going to simply deny facts, I don't know what to say to you. Freeways have been removed in various cities in North America and around the world, including Portland and San Francisco, which has removed two thus far. We're even starting construction on the U.S. 175 removal this year right here in Dallas. Here's the latest on a global trend:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pmng8BSrszI

dingo
dingo

@Oxtail  

How about getting stuck behind non-existing residents from a bygone neighborhood?

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