How Tearing Down I-345 Could Lead to Shorter South Dallas Commutes

Do we want people making long drives to work?

When all the jobs are up north, the commutes are longer down south.
When all the jobs are up north, the commutes are longer down south.

Late yesterday afternoon, over on the Dallas Morning News opinion blog, Tod Robberson again proclaimed himself the champion of South Dallas commuters threatened by the proposal to tear down Interstate 345:

I cannot support the proposed demolition of I-345 knowing that we will be adding yet another item to the long list of grievances southern Dallas residents have to justify their argument that this city only cares about big projects when they benefit the north.

This morning Patrick Kennedy took to his blog in response, arguing via a bunch of numbers that the highways that have hurt development at the core of the city — interstates 345 and 30 especially — have indirectly resulted in longer commute times for people in South Dallas. (Take a look at the chart above that Kennedy posted, with the average commute times in various sectors of the city.):

20.5% of workers from the southern sector now must commute more than 25 miles to get to work.  In many cases this means spending half a pay check just to make a paycheck.  We need to find market-oriented solutions to bringing jobs and investment back towards the center of the city so the entire city isn’t commuting up 75, 35, and the tollway to jobs that increasingly ooze northward into a centerless, unsustainable vacuum.

Or, listen to Tod Roberson, he’s from the DMN and he’s here to help, despite not understanding the transportation/land use dynamic.

Kennedy also criticized Robberson’s post for not including any quotes from anyone in South Dallas to support his assertions. This afternoon Robberson responded again, saying that he’s not “making up ‘voices from southern Dallas’ to create some kind of fictitious groundswell of opposition.” Sen. Royce West is on his side:

“I am adamantly opposed to any demolition of I-345 that would not see this vital roadway returned to its original or enhanced condition. While I am a proponent of economic development within the senate district I represent and throughout the state of Texas, I would not see the greater benefit of crucial transportation infrastructure demolished to return to a mode that the needs of Dallas motorists have outgrown.”