Poll: Should We Bury Interstate 30?

The people have spoken about the future of Interstate 345, and the people (70% of them) agree with our May cover story: Interstate 345 should be torn down, and the street-scape along the eastern edge of downtown Dallas should be rebuilt.

Now we’d like to hear what you think of another of the proposals for which we’ve argued. As noted before, I’ll be surprised if we can’t reach an even greater level of consensus for burying a segment of Interstate 30. But some of you might have other ideas.

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Virgin America Officially Gets Love Field Gates

Not that anyone is particularly surprised, since the Justice Department gave the city no choice, but city manager A.C. Gonzalez officially decided today to accept American Airlines’ sublease of its two gates at Love Field to Virgin America:

“Rather than simply signing the sub-lease presented to us, we took some additional time to make sure our actions would be responsible and capture the vision of the Justice Department’s selected carrier. This was accomplished by incorporating Virgin’s publicly stated intentions into a compliance agreement,” Gonzalez said in a statement.

The agreement includes Virgin America committing to the city’s noise abatement program and clarifies how any unused gate space may be made accessible to other airlines.

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Last Night, Sir Richard Branson Joined The Love Field Debate, Drank Tequila, and Talked to Us

On Monday night, Sir Richard Branson dropped into town to address the latest front on the airline war, Virgin America vs. EveryoneElseThatWantsThoseGatesAtLoveField. The airline hosted a party at The Rustic in Uptown Three of us—me, Cristina Daglas, and Glenn Hunter—attended. Each of our individual thoughts follow. One common thread between all of our thoughts: tequila. There was a lot of tequila.

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Poll: What Should Dallas Do About Interstate 345?

You’ve read the argument made in the May issue of D Magazine, that Interstate 345 — the connector road between U.S. Highway 75 and interstates 30 and 45 with a stranglehold on the east side of downtown — ought to be removed.

And you’ve read much of the case made here on FrontBurner: Highways are bleeding Dallas of its people, that removal could long-term decrease South Dallas commute times, that the city has lost its jobs to the suburbs, that 345 isn’t always the best option for drivers anyway, that changes are needed to close the North vs. South gap, and that tearing down the road isn’t going to suddenly leave 200,000 drivers with no place else to go. There was more, but I’ll leave it at that.

So what do you think?

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Surveys: Millennials Don’t Want to Live in Car-Centric Cities Like Dallas

Granted, there are a goodly number of Millennials roaming the streets of our fair city. But a couple recent surveys, cited today on the Atlantic Cities, suggest that the cohort born between 1982 and 2001 want to live in walkable environments, not those crisscrossed every which way by expressways out of town.

Says one of the polls:

They found that 54 percent of Millennials surveyed would consider moving to another city if it had more or better options for getting around, and 66 percent said access to high quality transportation is one of the top three criteria they would weigh when deciding where to live. Nearly half of those who owned a car said they would consider giving it up if they could count on public transportation options. Up to 86 percent said it was important for their city to offer opportunities to live and work without relying on a car.

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What AIA Dallas Thought About the Trinity Project in 2001

Last Thursday, in advance of the last public hearing on the Trinity toll road, I rushed to post a document I’d been given. It was an appendix to a full policy report on the Trinity project issued in 2001 by the Dallas chapter of the American Institute of Architects. None of this stuff was online. With only the undated, unsigned appendix — which said damning things about the proposed Trinity toll road — I asked the current AIA Dallas executive director, Jan Blackmon, if she could help me figure out the context in which the thing was written. Blackmon was able to track down an old hard copy of the full Trinity Policy document, which she scanned and sent to me. I’ve been meaning since then to put it online, because, as Blackmon pointed out to me, the appendix I posted was good for discussion, but the full document presents a complete picture of what her group was thinking back then, and, in her words, “it makes timeless recommendations that need to also be part of the discussion.”

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200,000 Drivers a Day on Interstate 345 Is Not a Fixed Number

Recently on The Atlantic Cities site, an article examined the case of Seoul, South Korea, and its success tearing out what the author (a fellow at an urban planning nonprofit) refers to as an “apple-corer” highway. Our own Peter Simek also wrote about Seoul, along with a few other cities that’ve undertaken similar projects, in the May issue of D Magazine.

One portion of the Atlantic piece in particular struck me because it underlines the reasons that proponents of tearing down Interstate 345  aren’t discouraged when opponents swear that the idea is a non-starter because of one simple fact: 200,000 drivers traverse that connecter highway on the east side of downtown. Surely you can’t remove a road that so many people drive. Except, yes, you can. For a few reasons:

First of all, traffic is not some sort of fixed volume. People drive cars, and if a highway isn’t there, they may take a bus or bicycle to work. They may telecommute, or they may sell their suburban home and move to the city. There is no set number of driver, for which you build roads.

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What Vonciel Jones Hill Should Have Said About The Trinity Toll Road

Before I get going, I will admit that I, like most of my colleagues, or at least the ones who regularly blog here, think building the Trinity toll road is a mistake. Not going to dwell on that right now. What I want to focus on is what Vonciel Jones Hill — city councilwoman and chair of the Dallas City Council’s Transportation and Trinity River Corridor Committee — said a few days ago, and what she should have said, if she wants to stick with the idea that we need to come up with some “creative funding” to build the dang thing.

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Can We All at Least Agree That Interstate 30 Should Be Buried?

We read the comments. We know that not all of you are yet on board with the notion of tearing out Interstate 345 in order to reunite downtown with Deep Ellum and reap the benefits of a development boom.

But what about the proposal to take Interstate 30 below the surface streets between Samuell Boulevard and Central Expressway? Throw a couple of nifty deck parks on top to create a grand entrance to Fair Park? As Zac writes in the May issue of D Magazine:

Burying I-30 would help restitch the city grid and, just as important, remove the visual impediment, the door we slammed shut on this area in the 1960s. It would pave the way for a return of the black and white middle class. People want to move back to the city. The development that has been moving down Henderson Avenue wants to keep going. Billions of investment dollars and millions in uncollected property tax revenue are
waiting.

Who can possible object to this idea? OK, OK, yeah, we don’t know how it’s getting paid for either. But we’ve got to start with the vision, don’t we?

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I-345 and Bridging the North vs. South Dallas Gap

Bob Voelker is a real estate attorney and D Real Estate Daily contributor. Today on his own DFWREimagined blog, he writes about divisions within Dallas, how jobs went north while the most affordable housing went south:

In a simplistic overview, we have created a spatial divide, a segregation if you will, between housing and jobs, between opportunity and disinvestment, and between races, that are at the historical heart of each of these issues. Driven by market and social pressures of the 1950’s-1970’s – the double whammy of integration/court ordered busing creating white flight to the suburbs, occurring at the same time as new highways facilitated rapid movement from the suburbs to the jobs in the City (and subsequent flight of jobs to the suburbs, following white collar employees) – combined to start the process of separating jobs to the north and affordable housing to the south. This trend was exacerbated and reinforced by zoning codes prohibiting or drastically limiting apartments, the primary form of affordable housing, in many of the suburbs, and by local not-in-my-backyard efforts and state political/administrative decisions accepting those attitudes that made certain that placing affordable housing in the northern suburbs was difficult at best, and impossible in many areas.

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What’s the Best Route to Dallas’ Fair Park? Highways vs. Surface Streets

We’ve heard the hue and cry from those of you who insist that Interstate 345 can’t possibly be torn down because how on earth are drivers to get from Interstate 30 to U.S. Highway 75 without it. And, lord almighty, some have exclaimed, how do we expect anyone to get to the wonders of Fair Park without it?

Well, as has been pointed out on this blog before, I-345 isn’t even the best route to get to Fair Park from North Dallas, especially during the run of the State Fair each fall, when the highway is often backed up all the way from the 2nd Avenue exit of I-30 to Woodall Rodgers. And anyone who’s driven I-30 into or out of downtown during rush hour knows what a mess it usually is.

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Dallas Keeps Exporting Jobs to the Suburbs

You’re wondering about the chart above. I didn’t create it. That was our old pal Patrick Kennedy, and yes, we may have mentioned him before.

You can skip right over to Kennedy’s blog if you want the detailed explanation of how he put this thing together, but if you stick with me I’ll just give you the most easily digestible bits. Beginning with this:

Dallas County, the most populous county in the fourth-most populous metropolitan region in the United States—a metropolitan region that saw population growth of 1.2 million people between 2001 and 2011—is losing jobs.

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Inside the May 2014 Issue of D Magazine

I’ve never seen a debate grow quite like this. When we started brainstorming our May cover package, “The Next Dallas Boom,” we were under the impression that tearing down Interstate 345 would still be a fairly foreign concept to many. After all, how many people really dive into a transportation story with vigor? It’s not necessarily a page-turner, unless, of course, you can explain the possibilities. Because, at the end of the day, the whole conversation is really about the possibilities. We’ve got the potential for $4 billion in development opportunity at stake, for starters. There’s a 94 percent occupancy rate downtown, which demonstrates a pretty solid demand for new development. Oh, and then there’s the chance to reunite neighborhoods and reinvigorate neglected parts of the city. And the best part of the whole situation? Other cities have already laid the groundwork. So, we thought, if we can show how successful other cities have been, we could provoke conversation and interest in the topic at home.

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Leading Off (4/28/14)

Toyota Moving to Plano? That’s the word on the street. More than 4,000 workers could set up in a Legacy business park, in office space totaling 1 to 1.5 million square feet. As Bloomberg first reported Sunday, Toyota is looking to reduce operating costs by moving from California. The move is expected to be announced today.

Stars Fall to Ducks in Overtime. It looked promising with a 4-2 lead, with 2:10 left on the clock. But no dice. The Stars are out in 6.

Consultants Push Southwest for Love Field Gates. Two gates are on the table, and L.E.K. Consultants, a  group hired by the city, has come out in favor of Southwest Airlines. American Airlines is required to divest the two gates as part of a lawsuit agreement made while the airline merged with U.S. Airways. The Justice Department has already stated that it thinks the gates should go to Virgin America.

DART Might Sell Naming Rights for Lines. Estimates show DART could bring in as much as $24.5 million over 15 years.

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