This sucker should be torn down. (photo by Scott Womack)


I-345 Makes National Teardown List

The Congress for the New Urbanism doesn't think it has a future.

Every two years, the Congress for the New Urbanism identifies the worst highways in America, the ones that are falling apart and, even as they do, are hurting the cities and people they supposedly serve. This year’s list was released this morning. Have a look at Freeways Without Futures 2017. Our own I-345 made the list of 10. Here’s what CNU says:

In Dallas, a firmly auto-oriented Sunbelt city, few dared to imagine downtown without this concrete behemoth carrying roaring motor vehicles above—until an audacious group of local activists began to run the numbers. Calling themselves A New Dallas, and led by locals Patrick Kennedy and Brandon Hancock, they made a compelling case for demolishing I-345 and reuniting downtown Dallas with Deep Ellum. Here is what they found, according to D Magazine:

“Blowing up I-345 would free up 245 acres for development that could bring in another 27,540 downtown residents and, based on developable-square-footage estimates, more than 22,550 jobs. … And those estimates are conservative. It would restitch the grid, reconnect Deep Ellum and East Dallas to downtown, and allow the active development happening farther up Central Expressway to move south. … What happens then? Within 15 years, as much as $4 billion in new investment and more than $100 million in yearly property tax revenue.”

The writeup goes on to cite the work of the Coalition for a New Dallas and its role in spurring TxDOT to create its landmark CityMAP report. This is a pretty big deal. Hopefully the national pub from CNU will hasten the teardown.


  • Matthew Martin

    Sounds like a lobbyist is trying to insure the Trinity Toll Project gets developed and approved. Tear down a highly used and traveled highway so that people beg for a tollway to alleviate the created congestion

    • Curtis Rogers

      I vote for neither. No river road, no 345.

  • Greg Brown

    “Blowing up I-345 would free up 245 acres for development (through under the table, no bid contracts) that could bring in another 27,540 (Let’s just make it an even 500K since we’re just guessing anyway) downtown residents and, based on developable-square-footage estimates (that we wrote on a cocktail napkin), more than 22,550 jobs. … And those estimates are conservative (meaning we just made them up). It would restitch the grid, reconnect (destroy) Deep Ellum and East Dallas to downtown, and allow the active development happening farther up Central Expressway to move south (Sure. OK.)”

    • Brandon

      Greg – Virtually every project or investment is based on estimates, projections or “guesses” as you are referring to them here.

      • Greg Brown

        You are right. We should have gone with the Hunnan plan for Fair Park and saved a lot of time and trouble.

    • The_Overdog

      Deep Ellum was destroyed in the ’70s and then again the early 2000s. Anything since then is a major improvement.

  • bmslaw

    So you tear down this highway so you can develop the land that is under it, and in doing so create more congestion by the removal of the highway and create even more congestion by the development of the land from which you removed the highway. Tell me again how creating more congestion helps the city. Dallas has no shortage of developable land, particularly just south of I-345 on I-45, all the way to I-20. If you remove I-345, you instantly create gridlock on Woodall Rodgers, Lower Stemmons, and the I-30 canyon. Doesn’t sound very bright to me.

    • Jamesthelast

      You forget that highways induce demand though. Many trips that take 345 won’t go to the other highways, they will just take a different way or vanish. And you also forget that the development that will be added is the good kind that is in close proximity to jobs and other amenities, and doesn’t cause the bad kind of congestion from cars.

  • Jared Heath

    You don’t blow up a major highway without a replacement for the traffic.

    Unless these “envisioned” people have found the billion it will take to bury it I don’t see this ever happening.

    • Curtis Rogers

      There are already alternative routes. 345 is just a shortcut past downtown that offers little benefit to Dallas.

      • Jared Heath

        It offers a HUGE benefit to everyone that lives south of downtown and works north of downtown…

        And Vice Versa.

        Every alternate route is already jammed at rush hour. Adding another 100,000 cars to those routes won’t ever happen

        • Curtis Rogers

          It is a huge benefit to some people, but it’s a bigger benefit to Dallas to redevelop. What good does it provide Dallas if someone lives in Lancaster and commutes to Richardson? This teardown gets the through traffic away from downtown.

          • Jared Heath

            “Dallas” doesn’t get to make that decision. The Federal and State governments would tell you that the regional transport and economy trumps any minuscule (and according to the article, it is minuscule) growth the local area would get.

            Like I said, you are wasting your time. It won’t get torn down unless a replacement gets buried like 75 did.

            People SCREAMED about Central for longer than you’ve been living. They championed the same economic nonsense. It didn’t get torn down until 2 billion was spent digging the trench.

          • Curtis Rogers

            That’s a great argument for 20th century infrastructure. A lot is going to change in the next 20 years, and downtown highways are going to make less sense every year. I think $4 billion is more than minuscule, so we’ll have to agree to disagree on that one.

  • lenithsih

    Why is it a given that I-345 should be torn down? Just because some yuppie gentrifiers need a clear sight line to downtown from Deep Ellum?

    I-345 connects the most impoverished and disenfranchised part of Dallas to one of the biggest job corridors in the city. If it’s torn down, people from SE Dallas will have to turn onto the Canyon (I-30 between 75 and 35), then I-35, then Woodall Rogers, then up 75, all just to do the same thing that I-345 already does, adding additional traffic to an already congested mess of highways.

    Furthermore, what’s the use in extending downtown? All it would do is further force housing prices upwards and line the pockets of a few developers. It’ll add “more housing” but we already have plenty of expensive apartments and condos elsewhere in Dallas.

    If we’re looking to reclaim land, why not tear down Woodall Rogers? It serves the same purpose as the Canyon and separates Downtown from Uptown. The only useful part of Woodall Rogers is Klyde Warren Park, but parks over roadways are shown to be detrimental to the health of those parks’ users. (Or we could demolish I-35 from the Canyon to Woodall Rogers, giving downtown a clear sight line to the Trinity River! See how that logic works?)

    Overall, it just seems like a poor idea.