Over the weekend came word that the Texas Department of Transportation had informed the city of Dallas that it intends to repair Interstate 345 (the 1.4-mile stretch of road in downtown Dallas that takes drivers between U.S. Highway 75 and Interstates 30 and 45). This was disappointing news to those who had hopes that idea of tearing down the road that separates downtown from Deep Ellum.
The most vocal proponents of that notion are Patrick Kennedy and Brandon Hancock, on their whiz-bang A New Dallas website. Kennedy wrote in D Magazine last year that Dallas is throwing away $4 billion by not getting rid of the road.
Today Kennedy took to his Walkable DFW blog to respond:
The suddenness of this news shows no real public input nor creative thinking was ever going to be a part of this process (nor any others). You might get to decide how many texas stars go on a column, if you’re lucky. Get out that lipstick get to decorating that pig.
Our goal was to expose the misplaced autonomy given over to TxDOT and transportation agencies in general, by a lack of true vision and leadership, as well as expose the need for such vision and leadership.
TxDOT is a caveman with a hammer. They have one tool and one skill for any and every task. In response, Texas cities are as car dependent as any in the country. Dallas is THE most car-dependent in the country. When using only one tool, the outcome is only one choice for citizens wishing to participate in the local economy. You must own a car. Since you must own a car, you might as well not live in Dallas. And thus we’ve experienced population flight of the middle class in both directions. Car dependence is coerced. We need choice.