Why Stemmons Is So Congested

Hear that? It's a drumbeat.

I was just talking to the internet, and it told me that Stemmons is the widest freeway in North Texas. It also says that Stemmons is one of the most congested roads in the country. See the relationship? I think this guy put it best.


  • Ed Woodson

    News flash. They built it, and people came. They are here now. Remove it, and people would leave. Over time. Due to even worse traffic situations. At the cost of millions of hours of increased commuter time. Pushing some people to move closer to their jobs, and pushing some jobs to the suburbs to be closer to the people.

    I am astounded that you keep beating this drum. Do you simply not care about the decades of disruption that would follow the “tear down the highways” movement (noting that Wick wants to tear down I-30 as well as I-345)? Are you so intend on re-engineering the city to meet more modern urban planners’ designs that you have no feeling for the human beings who actually use those roads today?

    Though I do appreciate you pointing out how heavy the traffic is on Stemmons. It is a problem. One that would only be exacerbated f you tore down I-345.

  • Wylie H Dallas

    Dallas has the 3rd highest concentration of highway lane miles per capita (2nd only to Ft. Worth & Kansas City). see: http://www.publicpurpose.com/hwy-tti99ratio.htm

    How do these other cities manage to survive?

  • Ed Woodson

    You are changing the subject (though on your new topic, highway miles are not fungible. You can’t look at a statistic of that nature and conclude that Dallas can, or should, get rid of some mile, as all miles of highway aren’t equally critical).

    Back to the topic at hand, even if we have lots of highway miles, we are currently using them. Change of this nature would be highly disruptive, and the “A New Dallas” anecdotes do not change that. But the tear down crew here on front burner just doesn’t seem to care. How many hours lost to longer commutes are you willing to sacrifice on the alter of “a new Dallas”? How many relocations? As many as it takes?

  • TheSlowPath

    It’s called induced demand. Sort of like how people will buy furniture until the house is full. Buy a bigger house, end up buying more furniture.

    Build more highway-lane-miles, drivers end up driving more miles (also called VMT). Shrink the number of highway miles, people drive less.

    This has been observed and measured enough to be described as a law. And, in science, laws are predictive in nature. We can predict, with a reasonable degree of accuracy, what will happen in Dallas if we remove those highways. And the prediction is NOT apocalypse.

    Yes, some people will suffer inconvenience, but it will be less than your describing, and it will likely (within that degree of accuracy) be on the same scale as closing lanes on 345 for up to 2 years while they repair it – if TxDOT goes through with the required repairs.

  • Greg Brown

    I am all in favor of removing I-345, turning I-30 back into a grade level boulevard, exponentially expanding light rail, trollies & bike lanes and a host of other innovations to reduce the burden on our roads and increase the quality of life. However, our current city mangment and council is blatantly incompetent. We are so far behind in basic road maintenance that the thought of a decades-long, visionary restructuring of Dallas traffic patterns is as absurd as it it is laughable. Not that it can’t be done, it just cannot be done with the old-school narrow minds that pull the strings behind city hall. Once the monied interests that actually run this city decide that they can make money, pedal influence and brag at social events about a “New Dallas” will anything actually be done.

  • Alexander

    Wick wants to realign I-30, not remove it from the system.

    To your later comment. I have yet to see someone come on here and say they use I-345 to connect their commute. I have seen people foolishly argue that removal will add 60 seconds to their annual trip to Fair Park.

  • Ed Woodson

    Lane closures will not be as disruptive as a tear down by definition. And we honestly don’t know the true scope. But no one wants to wait to make a more informed decision. Instead it’s all conjecture and anecdote.

  • Ed Woodson

    I respectfully submit that before we make an irreversible tear down decision the advocates for the plan should bear the burden of demonstrating lack of impact. They are the ones changing the status quo.

  • B Bradlee

    Ed – I’m still confused why you are so passionate about the I-345 teardown. You live in Park Cities and work in the ‘burbs, right?

  • Ed Woodson

    And yes, we can predict. But the work on those predictions is time consuming and has not yet been done

  • Alexander

    Pretty sure a group of real estate people fronted the money for the study.You could prolly google it. And you ignored both of my points, Ed.

  • Ed Woodson

    Did it come out in the last few days? They have referenced a study but I couldn’t find it last week. I will review it when it’s out.

    On Wick’s plan, I have seen him advocate replacement, and seem other posts without replacement being required (or at least mentioned).

    As for front burner posts failing to show impact…it’s front burner. A few dozen posts is anecdotal by nature.

  • Brett Moore

    I think Oklahoma City has a fairly successful example when they relocated I40, but I am too lazy to google or provide links.

    • DelkusSleeves

      yeah, but that’s Oklahoma city, in Oklahoma, a state in which no one cares about anything except its football team.

  • Ed Woodson

    Yes, but my interest was piqued because I sometime use I-345, so I dug into the initial article and then the “A New Dallas” website. In the course of the digging, I got mad for several reasons.

    1. The pro-tear down people consistently minimize the potential impact on highway users (both users of I-345 and the mixmaster, which would have greater traffic). They gloss this over with “case studies”, which are very thin, and catch phrases, like “induced demand”, without giving much thought to downstream effects (e.g. what happens when demand drops, to the people who formerly used the road). I was an engineer before I was an attorney and hold the phrase “No such thing as a free lunch” quite dear. They seemed to be offering free lunches, and doing so on the back of pseudo science.

    2. Then i got a little more wound up over the fact that other people, who I previously assumed to be quite sharp, seemed to be nodding along with the (IMO) slap shod early analysis.

    3. But here is the real kicker for me, the entire D Magazine crew seems to be all in. I respect good journalists, and D has some. But a hallmark of a good journalist is skepticism. Even borderline paranoid can be ok. And I detected zero skepticism and critical thinking on this topic. They are thinking about tearing down a highway that 200,000 people a day use. Before saying “good idea”, how about we answer some of these questions:

    a. With respect to the tear down case studies: (i) were traffic studies done before the plans were enacted? (ii) what process (and how much time was taken) in deciding to proceed with the tear down? (iii) were the existing traffic flows similar to Dallas (e.g. Stemmons and I-345 are choke points between the northern and southern highways, was that the case in other cities or did they have a more flexible pattern)?

    b. How bad is the “noose” on downtown? Some elevated highways are still a formidable barrier. Others allow ready flow of traffic. My own experience is that I-345 is of the latter category. Was that the case in the case study cities? The reason I ask this question is to determine the scope of the barrier to additional development? Is it material, or is this just an excuse to open a relatively narrow strip of land (i.e. immediately under the current I-345) to development.

    c. Who owns (or leases) adjacent property? How would land immediately under I-345 be allotted out (assuming its owned by a government body now).

    d. If we want to proceed, how would a tear down (and the additional pressure on Stemmons) be best slotted in among other projects. I cannot repeat often enough how silly it appears to consider a tear down prior to Pegasus being complete.

    In short, I don’t understand how D Magazine it approaching the topic.

    While I may not use the highway that often, I still live in Dallas County, and as a citizen of that county would like to see it make good decisions.

  • Greg Brown

    White short on facts and high on speculation, the “A New Dallas” website sure is pretty.

  • Dubious Brother

    “However, our current city mangment and council is blatantly incompetent.” Your comment makes me laugh as I am currently in Chicago where pot holes large enough to severely damage cars are common and on the other hand, the driver of the blue line train to O’hare airport fell asleep (she supposedly had been working 17 hours straight) and ran the train all the way to the escalator up to the concourse level. The one thing Chicago and the State of Illinois have going for them is they are so far over budget and so far in debt that no one expects anything better. Dallas may not be perfect but we have hope for change that we can believe in!

  • Greg Brown

    The level of responsibility for operations of a large city are becoming so complex that traditional benign neglect and good-ol-boy cost overruns just don’t suffice like they used to.

  • Brett Moore

    Potholes large enough to damage your car? Do they not know about giant metal plates?

  • Chris Chris

    FYI: Gizmodo just did a short feature on freeway removal and mentions Dallas. Now I’m wondering if there are any NEGATIVE stories about cities removing a freeway? http://gizmodo.com/6-freeway-demolitions-that-changed-their-cities-forever-1548314937

    • Ed Woodson

      Maybe because other cities did long-term planning, with traffic studies, etc., instead of just ramming something through via a PR campaign over a couple of months?

  • Chris Chris

    Wow, Ed. This is really a big burr under your saddle isn’t it? How much is TxDot paying you? How many traffic studies do you want? Let’s do some long-term planning like we did on the Trinity River project. I’m sure that will fund your pension through 2040.

  • Ed Woodson

    I have no financial interest in anything here. I’m just one of those people who has long fuses, but when they finally get wound up, Katy Bar the Door. I never looked into the Trinity River project, or frankly much else in local politics. Now I’m terrified to look into such issues, because I have a sneaking suspicion that I would need prescription medication to avoid being institutionalized.