Find a back issue

Michael Morris Changes His Mind About I-345

Morris

On Friday, we discussed Michael Morris, who is the transportation director of the North Texas Council of Governments. Morris has played the race card, intimating that everyone in support of tearing down I-345 is rich and white and not concerned with poor people. Morris said he attended a meeting about the future of I-345 and noticed the following about those who want to tear it down:

“They were all white, they were very wealthy and I don’t think any of them live in the neighborhood.”

Now Morris, along with another road guy, Bill Hale, TxDOT’s Dallas District Engineer, has offered another argument for why we shouldn’t tear down I-345: because it can’t be done until the Trinity tollway is built (which now pretty much everyone but Morris realizes is not going to happen). He and Hale are set to make this case to the Regional Transportation Council on Thursday. You can get a sneak peek here.

As a side note, if you follow that link, you’ll see Morris and Hale talking about an “inner loop” that they want to build. As in: “Consideration should also be given to a new ‘inner loop’ study that would address how to move traffic from I-35E to the Hospital District to Love Field, and on to the Dallas North Tollway, Central and I-30.” If I’m not mistaken, Morris is talking about turning Mockingbird into a road that can handle higher volumes. We already had that discussion. It was never going to happen. And clearly it wasn’t needed.

But back to the supposed relationship between the Trinity tollway and I-345. Morris himself knows this relationship doesn’t exist. In 2007, he issued this memo, in which he offered 10 reasons why the Trinity tollway should be built. The memo lists all the projects that absolutely can’t get done without the Trinity tollway, most of which have gone ahead just fine without the tollway. The memo also includes a map with highlighted roads that are impacted by the tollway. I-345 is not among those roads. But back in 2007, I-345 wasn’t part of the conversation about how to reinvigorate the city’s urban core. So now Morris has changed his mind about its importance to fit his agenda.

Michael Morris is an old-school conventional thinker for whom concrete is the only answer. We shouldn’t let him dictate Dallas’ future.

  • Brandon Snook

    Tim, do you know where the giant Trinity Project replica is these days? The one with all the lights and cost more than what JWP has in his bug-out bag?

  • VoiceofReason

    First steps first. Let’s make sure we have a plan to deal with the traffic that utilizes I-345. Once that plan is available we can determine whether it can be funded and I-345 can be torn down. Just advocating tearing it down without accounting for a realistic way to move traffic is a waste of time. The road serves the whole region not just the City of Dallas. If we don’t have a sensible realistic conversation about this then everyone is wasting their time.

  • Wylie H Dallas

    I’m sure the people in Highland Park will be really excited to hear about this new “inner loop” proposal.

    If TxDOT reaches out to Ray Washburne and the folks at the Dallas Country Club, they could design a more tasteful version of the Hi-Five with a single integrated interchange of on and off ramps providing access to Highland Park Village, Preston Road and the Dallas Country Club.

    Designed properly, such an interchange could conceivable cut two to three minutes off of the drive time to Love Field and points beyond, such as Silver City Caberet.

  • Wylie H Dallas

    I’m sure the people in Highland Park will be really excited to hear about this new “inner loop” proposal.

    If TxDOT reaches out to Ray Washburne and the folks at the Dallas Country Club, they could design a more tasteful version of the Hi-Five with a single integrated interchange of on and off ramps providing access to Highland Park Village, Preston Road and the Dallas Country Club.

    Designed properly, such an interchange could conceivable cut two to three minutes off of the drive time to Love Field and points beyond, such as Silver City Cabaret.

  • WalkableDFW

    1) you are anonymous. 2) you haven’t been paying attention. 3) the problem isn’t accounting for a future that maintains the same 96% trip by car rate that currently exists, but building an infrastructure that allows destinations to be reached safely, conveniently, and pleasantly by a variety of manners so that individuals are empowered to make the appropriate choice for their specific needs at that specific time. That’s the 21st century view of infrastructure design/building. Our current transpo officials are hopelessly stuck in the 1960’s where mobility = car travel and thus forces everyone into cars.

  • JtB

    About 10 years ago Dallas wanted to put a tunnel under Mockingbird Lane. We all know how that was received by The Town of Highland Park. But, why not put one under NW Highway?

  • Borborygmus

    So then 75 would end at Woodall Rodgers and I-45 would end at I-30? That seems awkward if you’re heading to Houston from the north. Would you have to take Woodall Rodgers to I-35 to I-30 to I-45? Or follow the signs through city-streets to rejoin I-45 (which if shorter, and faster human nature will rule that many will do) which seems like it would impact the neighborhood you are trying to create.

    What about burying a smaller/narrower direct tunnel between the two? It wouldn’t have to be much longer than 1/2 mile, and have zero exits? Lots of cities have buried their expressways to improve their urban cores.

  • Ted

    I’ll have to admit, this

    the problem isn’t accounting for a future that maintains the same 96% trip by car rate that currently exists, but building an infrastructure that allows destinations to be reached safely, conveniently, and pleasantly by a variety of manners so that individuals are empowered to make the appropriate choice for their specific needs at that specific time. That’s the 21st century view of infrastructure design/building.

    got me up and marching around my office, swinging my arms, while loudly singing the approved social engineering anthem. There’s a sheen on my forehead, and my eyes are shining, fixed on nothing in particular.

    But this

    Our current transpo officials are hopelessly stuck in the 1960’s where mobility = car travel and thus forces everyone into cars.

    clearly hints at post-automoblie transportation developments. Because walking and bicycling are 19th Century, PRE-automobile modes of transport, I’m gonna just ask.

    You’ve got the jet cars, right? I’m right. You’ve got the jet cars, and you’re hiding them from the rest of us.

  • Alexander

    If you are going to Houston from Plano you should be taking LBJ.

    Traffic just passing through does not have place in the urban core.

    If you are coming from Mockingbird Station, you would probably take Chavez to connect from Central to 45. It would be slower, but it’s not as if you are not allowed to exit highways. Going over to 35 and around downtown would be dumb.

  • Alexander

    “why not put one under NW Highway?” have you heard of this thing called ‘money’? You need it to build stuff. I hear it’s hard to get.

  • Tonio

    Sounds a lot like people coming south on the Tollway and trying to get to 45. Seems awful to have to go around downtown. Let’s just level all the highrises and make a direct link so they don’t have to go divert onto 30 or Woodall.

  • mdunlap1

    Morris is old and lives in Arlington. Of course he DGAF about what’s best for central Dallas.

  • Tim Rogers

    First, that’s a funny comment.

    Second, ouch.

    Third, sure, okay, I wrote glowing things about that model. But remember that it was privately financed and the people who built it, just like your friends at D Magazine, had good intentions when they were hard at work.

  • Brandon Snook

    Admittedly, I forgot it was privately funded. And you all at D are my friends, which is why I decided today to take the plunge and stop posting as a “guest”. It’s a brave new world.

  • 1st anon

    At first, I thought this tearing down was a cool idea, to blend downtown back with Deep Ellum. Then, my thought was the same as your thought: “OMG. Wait a minute. How would *I* get to Houston?”

    But then, I became less self-important and realized that I only go to Houston 3, maybe 4 times a year. I could work my way around downtown, or take a boulevard approach to get through. It might add 15 minutes each time. Big whoop.

    I am extraordinarily happy that people are at least talking about it, and thinking about it, and commenting, and actually having a societal discussion.

  • Judy Smithey

    Michael is absolutely right about who is calling for the destruction of 345. It sure isn’t the ones of us who live south of downtown. The North Dallas and Collin County wealthy folks who have controlled Dallas area road construction would love to have those businesses would be forced to move North since neither their North or South side employees could get to work without 345. How many downtown offices have moved North in the last 30 years? Too many! Want to ad to that total? Tear down 345 and you surely will.

  • Wylie H Dallas

    I’m reasonably confident that the removal of I-345 won’t result in a mass relocation of Dallas-based businesses to Frisco and Lewisville.

  • JtB

    Obviously you never played Sim City.

  • TheBlaydes

    I agree a study would be worthwhile. Once the study is finished we can then create a plan based on the study. Once the plan is done then we can draft recommends on how to implement the plan. Of course those recommendations will have to be studied. But finally a plan based on the study of the recommends based on the plan created from the initial study can be presented at the 2045 Future of I-345 Planning Charette.

  • Also Anonymous

    Judy – class warfare can be an effective media strategy, but it is largely ineffective in this highway debate. Ditto for the anti-elitist strategy. Double ditto for the race card. This is registering with voters and influencers in the wrong way IN CASE YOU HAVEN’T NOTICED. Ahem.

    Come to think of it, Michael Morris badly needs some PR help. Specifically, he needs a firm that understands social media, not one of those old school firms that plays “hide the salami” with facts or uses S. Dallas churches to mine voters.

  • James the P3

    So the fact that too many downtown offices have moved to the northern suburbs over the past thirty years is an argument that we should maintain the status quo? We should eschew any attempt to make Downtown more attractive by re-linking it with its surrounding neighborhoods, and instead maintain freeways that facilitate transit to the suburbs? And that’s somehow an argument that tearing down I-345 will hurt Downtown?

    I feel like I’m taking crazy pills.