Houston Mayor Has a Lesson for Dallas: More Roads Aren’t the Answer

The Katy Freeway near Houston has 26 lanes. Photo by Socrate76 via Wiki Commons
The Katy Freeway near Houston has 26 lanes. Photo by Socrate76 via Wiki Commons

You live in Dallas, which means you hate Houston. I get that. But you should read what the mayor of that horrible city has to say about the folly of widening highways to ease traffic congestion. In an op-ed in today’s paper, Sylvester Turner writes: “[T]he traditional strategy of adding capacity, especially single-occupant vehicle capacity on the periphery of our urban areas, exacerbates urban congestion problems. These types of projects are not creating the kind of vibrant, economically strong cities that we all desire.” As one example, he points to the Katy Freeway, which is I-10 west of Houston. It’s the widest highway in the world, after lanes were added in 2008. Seven years after that reconstruction, it was named the eighth-most congested roadway in the state. That right there, friends, is called “induced demand.”

Here, back at home, we just widened Highway 75 through McKinney. How’s that working out? I heard someone just the other day complaining about the traffic on that stretch. And it looks like we’re going to add capacity to the highways south of Dallas as part of the Southern Gateway project (tolled lanes, at that).

On the day that we learn scientists have observed the warping of space-time, it’s appropriate that we quote Einstein: insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result (even if he didn’t say that — really, I just wanted to include something about the gravitational wave deal).

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