Every few months we have a little get-together here at the office that we like to call Happy Hour With an Agenda. We serve beer and wine and snacks and convene a panel in our lobby. You, of course, are invited. Our next one is on December 12, and it’s all about the recent developments around I-345. That’s the 1.4-mile elevated freeway that connects Interstate 45 to Central but is a big hunk of cement between downtown and Deep Ellum. Before I go further, go ahead and register right here. It’s free!
The Texas Department of Transportation this week is holding a series of public meetings for its feasibility study, an analysis that is expected to take up to two years. Upon its completion, it will contain the state’s so-called “preferred alternative” for the roadway. That could include tearing it out. It could also include burying it. Or it could be modifications that wouldn’t affect the highway’s footprint.
The thing about those public meetings: there isn’t a ton of information provided to the public, as we learned on Monday. (There is also no beer or cheese.) Some attendees may not even know what to ask. Our event is hoping to rectify that. So we’ll talk about what the highway is and why it was built. We’ll talk about the effect it had on the communities in which it exists, as well as the traffic trends. We’ll talk about the options for the highway and why we’re having these discussions now. (Short answer: it’s at the end of its life, and the state and the city will need to determine its future. That’s why so many people are pushing for its removal.)
We’ll also chat about these public meetings, what they are, and what stakeholders hope will come of them. D’s Peter Simek, who has written extensively about the highway and transportation in North Texas, will moderate. The panelists include Amber Sims, the founder of the nonprofit Imagine Freedom Institute who lives next to 345 and has worked extensively in South Dallas; Patrick Kennedy, an urban planner who is a partner at Space Between Design Studio and helped launched the grassroots effort to tear down the freeway; and Miguel Solis, the executive director of the Coalition for a New Dallas (which was co-founded by former D publisher Wick Allison).
We hope you’ll attend. It’s from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, December 12, at D Magazine HQ, at 750 N. St. Paul St. 2100 downtown. If you don’t want to scroll back to the top, you can register for the event right here.