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TxDOT to Repair, Not Tear Down I-345: Lipstick on a Traffic-Fed Pig?

Tear down this road? Some think we should. Click through to read Patrick Kennedy's argument.  (photo by Scott Womack)
Tear down this road? Some think we should. Click through to read Patrick Kennedy’s argument. (photo by Scott Womack)

Over the weekend came word that the Texas Department of Transportation had informed the city of Dallas that it intends to repair Interstate 345 (the 1.4-mile stretch of road in downtown Dallas that takes drivers between U.S. Highway 75 and Interstates 30 and 45). This was disappointing news to those who had hopes that idea of tearing down the road that separates downtown from Deep Ellum.

The most vocal proponents of that notion are Patrick Kennedy and Brandon Hancock, on their whiz-bang A New Dallas website. Kennedy wrote in D Magazine last year that Dallas is throwing away $4 billion by not getting rid of the road.

Today Kennedy took to his Walkable DFW blog to respond:

The suddenness of this news shows no real public input nor creative thinking was ever going to be a part of this process (nor any others).  You might get to decide how many texas stars go on a column, if you’re lucky.  Get out that lipstick get to decorating that pig.

Our goal was to expose the misplaced autonomy given over to TxDOT and transportation agencies in general, by a lack of true vision and leadership, as well as expose the need for such vision and leadership.

TxDOT is a caveman with a hammer.  They have one tool and one skill for any and every task.  In response, Texas cities are as car dependent as any in the country.   Dallas is THE most car-dependent in the country.  When using only one tool, the outcome is only one choice for citizens wishing to participate in the local economy.  You must own a car.  Since you must own a car, you might as well not live in Dallas.  And thus we’ve experienced population flight of the middle class in both directions. Car dependence is coerced. We need choice.

5 comments on “TxDOT to Repair, Not Tear Down I-345: Lipstick on a Traffic-Fed Pig?

  1. A New Dallas is the true visionary of Dallas, TxDot could care less about this city. This has been shown countless times in a failed attempt to make this city into the even more wonderful place it could be. We need bike lanes, less traffic, and people who actually know how to make cities better. Funny thing is, we have these people, we just refuse to listen

  2. I appreciate that. I think everyone would be surprised how much support we have (and in what circles). Now it’s time to show off how much we have.

  3. It’s been a long time since a proposed real estate project of this scale would not be detrimental to the the City of Dallas (e.g. Trinity Tollway).

  4. What I’m missing is the science behind Patrick’s claims about such things as being able to generate $4bn in private investment if we just tear down a bridge. There are claims like: “San Francisco increased property values 300 percent around the Embarcadero after replacing an elevated freeway with a boulevard.” There’s also a well-documented correlation between increased hot dog consumption and the incidence of heatstroke. Correlation doesn’t imply causation.

    Claims like “if half of Dallas County households could give up one car each, that’s more than $3 billion that would stay in the local economy each year” fail to ignore revenues from (for example) auto and gasoline sales–in addition to not providing substantiation for the claim itself.

    So it would be nice to see the NPV calculations and the statistical science behind the studies. I’ve always said: “the plural of ‘anecdote’ is not ‘evidence’.”

    I did like one comment Patrick made on his blog: “The oldest trick in the book is to point to hypothetical future growth.” I’ll remember that.

  5. At least they’re not completely rebuilding it. It’s a lot easier to justify removing a highway you spent a 100 million to repair, then a billion to completely replace.