Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Dead man's Curve

This is almost good news all around. DMN has the story of money intended for the completely unnecessary Trinity Toll Road to be shifted to de-highwaying 175 through South Dallas. Well, if we need to spend money on roads, might as well be to downgrade them rather than new capacity. As with many roads, new infrastructure (in this case 175) was thought to be the necessary investment for bringing jobs and investment to certain areas. When it is the wrong kind of infrastructure, the kind that severs community ties, local economies, and hinders real estate, that is hardly the formula for new investment.

Except apparently we can't get it all right. It looks like the arbitrary traffic formulas will win out and the road will be 6 lanes instead of the 4 that it should be.
"Traffic volumes and conformity dictate the need for six lanes versus four lanes," agency spokeswoman Cynthia White said. "The City of Dallas supports six lanes."
Conformity with what? TxDOT now has Context-Sensitive Design Manual. Dallas now has Complete Street Initiative in place. Why not conform to those? Actually leverage real investment in the part of town that needs it. After speaking with people involved with the bike plan, while doing field work, they reported that South Dallas is littered with 6-lane arterials that get maybe 5,000 cars a day. The formulas are above reproach.

Now if we wanted to make it 4 travel and 2 cycle tracks, to build expanding the burgeoning bike culture in Oak Cliff to South Dallas, than we'd be getting somewhere. If it goes to 6, I predict within ten years we end up taking it down to 4.