Urbanism Group Names Dallas’ I-345 a ‘Freeway Without a Future’

As you well know, Dallas’ I-345 is that road that runs through the east side of downtown Dallas that should be blown into smithereens. And we’re not the only ones who think so. The freeway made the Congress for New Urbanism’s 2014 list of Freeways Without Futures.

The CNU’s report is an annual rundown of the urban freeways that are most ripe for removal. Many of these roads, like New Orleans’ I-10/Clairborne Overpass, have been the subject of proposed removal projects for years. Dallas’ I-345 made the “campaigns to watch” section of the list, just outside of its top 10 opportunities. The report notes that the campaign is still “nascent,” but that the “stakeholders on the side of removal and national attention of their work is steadily growing.” 

The Congress for New Urbanism is a big proponent of highway removals. I spoke this morning with former New York City Traffic Commissioner Sam Schwartz, who serves on the CNU’s National Advisory Board, and he said there is a growing awareness among traffic engineers that urban freeways don’t adequately address the congestion problem that led to their construction in the first place.

“The highway engineering theory that you need more capacity has been disproved several times now,” said Schwarz, who was working for New York’s traffic department when the West Side Highway collapsed in 1973. The city eventually decided not to rebuild it.

8 comments on “Urbanism Group Names Dallas’ I-345 a ‘Freeway Without a Future’

  1. He has the conspiracy wrong. Support for the Tollroad is Phase II when we come from I-30.

  2. He has the conspiracy wrong. Support for the Tollroad is Phase II when we come for I-30.

  3. How much brain-storming, snickering and back-slapping do you think took place as the outline for his column?

  4. All I want is a road to allow me ingress and egress to the solar powered water taxis.

  5. Most of the roads on that list are reported to be underutilized. I guess the idea is that, if the road is no longer being used to some arbitrary level, then it should be eliminated. That is certainly NOT the case with the Dallas overhead. And one really must question the accuracy of their reporting when they state that the overhead connects two freeways, Woodall Rodgers to I-30. Ever heard of Central Expressway/US 75? How about I-45? How many cars feed into and out of the overhead from these two highways, in addition to Woodall and I-30? What happens to the vehicles that presently use the overhead to connect these four other highways? The overhead is the sole link, without which you increase street-level congestion astronomically and create chaos for downtown streets and adjacent inner city neighborhoods. It is ludicrous to think that these vehicles will just disappear, or find some other route that will not negatively impact neighborhoods in the vicinity. What will be the next “good idea”? Closing all streets withint the Loop 12 circle to vehicles and allowing only pedestrians and bicycles? That would be about as sensible as removing this freeway.

  6. The folly of the “Tear It Down & They Will Leave” philosophy of I-345 is that it’s removal will require long-term coordination and upgrades of other corridors to accommodate this traffic and not make it a complete gridlock during the morning and evening rush hours. This from a city management with 10 Billion dollars of backlogged remediation just to get things up to basic standard. Good luck and keep dreaming.