The Texas Transportation Commission, the governmental body which overseas TxDOT, is holding its monthly meeting in Dallas today at Union Station (I wonder if anyone took DART in to it). Plans for I-345 and the Trinity Toll Road are among the topics under discussion. And here’s the good news: the meeting is live streaming over on the Dallas Morning News‘ website. So all you transit wonks out there can blow your afternoon by watching the most excruciatingly boring meeting east of the RTC. Turn it into a drinking game: take a drink every time you hear the words “leveraging,” “delivery, “project,” or “facility.”
UPDATE: Sen. Royce West just got up in the meeting and very emphatically announced his opposition to the at-grade boulevard-ing of I-345 (or, sure, the teardown of I-345, but I’m starting to think “teardown” is a little misleading since it suggests a total removal of a transportation facility, rather than an improvement of one). This was after officials from Dallas and Collin Counties expressed enthusiasm for a long-range plan to route traffic around the densest parts of the metro area by developing a new outer ring road/bypass. They want Central Expressway to function as a commuter road and not an interstate. West, though, made his opposition to changing I-345 resoundingly clear and asked the Texas Transportation Commission to apprise him of any further discussion about I-345. One of the commissioners (I think it might have been Jeff Moseley, but I couldn’t really tell on the video — all of the Perry appointees are generic looking white guys with matching ages and general pastiness) cracked a joke that perhaps they should test the I-345 idea by shutting down the road for a trial period.
Everyone had a good chuckle, but I think commissioner’s idea is a good one. In other cities where roads were suddenly shuttered (like when the West Side Highway fell down or the Lomo Alto earthquake damaged San Francisco’s highway) traffic evaporated. West joked that such a move might get him “impeached.” I just think it would make his concerns that tearing down I-345 will spell disaster for south-to-north commuters look unfounded. I’m disappointed such a respected and influential figure has already come out so emphatically about the plan when there are still studies underway and other occasions, like next week’s transportation summit (more on that here and here), to dig more deeply into an important and nuanced topic.