Leading Off (3/24/14)

I-345 Tear-Down Debate Continues. The Dallas Morning News ran this I-345 explainer on the front page of the Sunday paper. There’s no new news here, but it does provide a bit of I-345 history, namely that it was built in 1974 as suburbs like Irving took hold. There was also a nice traffic count graphic in the paper, but that didn’t make it online. To refresh, some 200,000 cars travel the 1.4-mile stretch on weekdays. Patrick Kennedy and co. want the 75-45 connector eliminated, but TxDOT is set to spend $100 million to renovate it instead. As is to be expected, and can be demonstrated here, debate persists, some of it well-reasoned, some … not.

Plastic Bag Ban Proposal Up For a Vote Wednesday. Dwaine Caraway has been working on this for a year and is expecting a partial ban, at the very least, to pass when City Council votes Wednesday. There are a number of options up for discussion, including a total citywide ban, a “responsible retailer” option that charges stores for distributing the bags, and an “environmental fee” that has customers paying for bags. Several council members are vehemently opposed to any change.

Bike Share Program a Possibility for Fair Park. The Dallas Park and Recreation Board has approved $125,000 for the project. If City Council passes it, some 15-20 bikes could appear in Fair Park by May. This is an impossibly small (yet expensive) program. For comparison, Fort Worth started with a $1 million grant, 300 bikes and 30 stations.

12 comments on “Leading Off (3/24/14)

  1. Tearing down I-345 is only supported by people who don’t currently need it to get to work. It is an asinine idea. If you live in Mesquite, Garland, Pleasant Grove or South of Fair Park, and you work in North Central Dallas anywhere near Central Expressway, there are NO other options. Deep Ellum and Ross Ave can’t handle the new traffic. And, do you want to tie up traffic near Baylor Hospital?!

    Stupid, stupid, stupid suggestion.

  2. Anyone in Garland who works on 75 would use LBJ. Most of Mesquite would use LBJ or Loop 12 (Northwest Highway). Even from Pleasant Grove, taking surface streets adds 5-10 minutes. And those surface streets have lots of unused capacity.

  3. In a city that cannot manage basic road and traffic light maintenance the last thing we need is to put an additional 200,000 vehicles per week on poorly maintained and side streets. Maybe in 25 years when I-345 is at the end of life we will have a properly funded, proactive streets department & rail service to accommodate this traffic. To remove that bridge within the next few years with our current incompetent city management would be a disaster.

  4. In a city that cannot manage basic road and traffic light maintenance the last thing we need is to put an additional 200,000 vehicles per week on poorly maintained roads and side streets. Maybe in 25 years when I-345 is at the end of life we will have a properly funded, proactive streets department & rail service to accommodate this traffic. To remove that bridge within the next few years with our current incompetent city management would be a disaster.

  5. Doesn’t the “the surface streets have unused capacity, traffic will find a way” argument pre-suppose that the city of dallas will maintain the surface streets, now subjected to all the extra capacity, in some sort of responsible manner? This doesn’t seem to be the case on these streets with their current capacity.

    Source: Live near White Rock Lake, commute to Arts District every day.

  6. Some call it I-345, but I call a continuation of I-45 to US 75 (it’s one highway, folks). Chop it out and watch the fun of 18 wheelers navigating signal lights on city streets. You’ve not experienced fun till you have followed a truck that never gets out of second gear. 8 am rush hour coming up 45 would not clear until 4 pm, just in time to start it all again at the end of the day. Seriously, Dallas! You desire to become the speed hump on the national highway network?

  7. I don’t, but I’ve done the reverse trip several times at different parts of the day.

    You are correct about South/Southern Dallas to Mockingbird – I was talking about Garland and some of Mesquite. I don’t doubt the road is currently the most logical choice for you to make in your commute, but a cooperative government has to look at everyone’s needs – the argument of A New Dallas is that the overall social and especially economic costs of NOT having the highway is less than most people imagine and certainly less than the social and especially economic costs of having it.

    Accident shut downs represent the worst case scenario, because you end up with a lot of people making irrational, uninformed choices. Traffic on the surface streets would go up, but the every day trip without the highway wouldn’t be as bad as what you’ve experienced.

    Regardless, you’re in for some pain. Even if they just do the $100M overall, they are going to have to shut down lanes or even the whole highway for between 1-2 years. It’s pretty bad off, with major cracks developing.

  8. I agree that Dallas needs to do a better job on it’s streets.

    But the highway is at the end of it’s life now – it needs $100M or more just to stay up for another 20 years.

  9. National, state, and regional traffic should be taking the loop around the city. If the trucks are delivering or originating within Dallas, close to downtown, well they are on the city streets anyway.

  10. That is just what I stated above. And maybe over the next 20 years we can actually plan and implement a replacement strategy that would not lead to a major disruption of peoples lives.

  11. Should. How will this be enforced? Will the County be a part of all this to establish truck only lanes on 635 to handle the increased truck traffic? Tip over one domino. . . .