Tear Down the East Dallas Portion of I30

At a recent TED event in Philadelphia, Next American City editor-at-large Diana Lind reviewed the movement to dismantle highways that disrupt a city’s natural flow. From a report by Andrew Nusca:

After the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, the city of San Francisco faced the tremendous task of rebuilding the structurally-damaged Embarcadero Freeway. Instead, they tore it down, replaced it with a people-friendly boulevard that encouraged development. The surrounding area has since rebounded, Lind said, with higher property values, more tourism and more housing for city residents.

The same phenomenon occurred in New York City when it rebuilt the elevated West Side Highway in 1989 as a surface roadway, giving New Yorkers access to parks, piers and picturesque views on the West Side of Manhattan.

Our opportunity lies with the elevated portion of I30 that runs from downtown through East Dallas. I argue here that tearing down that 2.5-mile portion and creating a boulevard in its place would unleash millions of dollars in development (and new taxes).


  • Gary

    That is why you are a writer, not a developer

  • Gabe

    Additionally, I and others argue here (https://www.facebook.com/SaveDowntownDallas) that Interstate 345 (also known as the 75 or 45 overpass) should be removed on the same basis: it severs local connections between the CBD, Deep Ellum, Baylor, and the rest of East Dallas. It provides immediate and massive ROI for the surrounding properties, and the land currently in use for the ROI could be sold off and probably pay for the removal in totality.

    I’ve been in contact with TxDOT and, according to their spokesperson, a consultant is being selected to prepare a study of what the future of IH 345 is. One option that will be studied is its removal.

  • Wick Allison

    Not just a writer, Gary. A handome, charming, brilliant, and humble writer.

  • Long Memory

    Yes, Wick, but how will you ever starve the beast if you create new taxes. Clearly, the way to get this done is to take the money from the Social Security trust fund and use it for something that can give back. Not in taxes, mind you; but for the betterment of mankind (wink, wink).

  • MCC

    The legacy of Robert Moses continues. One of the five most influential Americans of the previous century, although you rarely see his name on such lists

  • scmilli

    So reroute I-30? Changing an elevated interstate highway into a boulevard sounds like it could impact traffic patterns.

  • @scmilli: EXACTLY.

    Changing the traffic pattern would be the goal. Reroute interstate and intrastate travel to the outside of the city (PGBTwy, 635, and I-20). Run a light rail line down the center of the new East Dallas Boulevard. Run the line from midway between Rockwall and Terrell and connect it to the TRE. Now you have an alternative for the ‘burbs (exurbs and suburbs) to come to the CBD. Elevate the light rail line from 635 all the way into Union Station.

    I must say this can’t be done unless 635 and I-20 are viable alternatives. Also, before you attack Wick for being a writer / publisher / business-owner, remember it takes outside-of-the-box thinking to influence change. I’m writing this using my expertise as a professional urban planner, btw.

  • BrandonS

    I’m no urban planner, but I can certainly see I-30 being terminated East of Dallas at LBJ and handing over the terminated portion to the county governments. I-30 already terminates in Fort Worth so interstate traffic needs a different route anyway. We could keep it as a divided highway until you get into more dense population, then make it a boulevard, back to a highway West of I-35, and then let Tarrant county deal with their portion of the highway. Let’s do it.

  • Montgomery

    Brandon — that sounds very reasonable. Here’s hoping enough of us can get behind these ideas to make something happen…

  • us175guy

    >>A handome, charming, brilliant, and humble writer.

    Wick, only “handome”?? Don’t sell yourself so short!