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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.