Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Bigotry at the DMN?

Inflammatory headline?  Well you tell me.  Am I being too sensitive?  Maybe slightly.  But, please read DMN editorial writer Rodger Jones' coverage of last night's Trinity Parkway public hearing.

Or is it just ignorance?  Before we go through it, let's revisit something that he, transportation editor, wrote just a week ago:

Transpo people have said for years that congestion cannot be relieved without more roadway "capacity" of the equivalent of six new lanes where the freeways all converge in central Dallas.

For years?  What years?  1950 to 1980?  Sure, he's "quoting" apparent "Transpo people" (are they like swamp people?), but shouldn't he challenge this assumption?  I would think the transportation editor of a major American newspaper would do his homework on these issues.  Perhaps read every single legitimate study that pinpoints how capacity doesn't reduce congestion.

Let me provide your homework assignment:

Now for the other side.  Here are the meaningful nuggets Jones offered up:

-- Length: 2 hours, 41 minutes, including 20-minute intermission that ended at 8:12 p.m

Yes.  It sucked.  As I tweeted last night, "bore opponents into submission.  I think that was Sun Tzu."

-- Number of tables/easles set up to display maps: 12

Number of tables/easles that displayed the No-Build option, as pointed out by Councilman Scott Griggs: 0

-- Number of people in hall once the mike was opened for public input: 161, including representatives from public agencies, engineers, cops, janitor, A/V person, journalists, a few children, etc.

Sounds about right.  I guessed 150 give or change.  Nothing like having a public meeting in the convoluted convention center when anybody would rather be anywhere else.  What's the ratio of people getting paid to be there and those not getting paid?  You were being paid to be there.  We weren't.

-- Elected officials speaking in opposition: 3
-- Elected officials speaking in favor: 0
-- Appointed/civic leaders speaking in opposition: 0
-- Appointed/civic leaders speaking in favor: 2

This is all true.  The elected officials though were actually from Dallas.  They have the constituents in mind.

-- Members of the public speaking in opposition: 22 (not including a second trip to the mike by one opponent)
-- Members of the public speaking in favor: 2

Gotta squeeze in that important note about somebody who went up twice.  That's like going back for seconds of wedding cake before all tables got their slice.  To Lew Sterrett with them!

-- Members of the public who had already left when their turn came to speak at the mike: 6

Probably because they had places to be and maybe even realized the futility of last night's event.  Almost as futile of trying to fund the road even!

Now for the biggie:

-- Number of times San Francisco was mentioned as city to emulate: 5
-- Number of times Seoul, South Korea, was mentioned as city to emulate: 2

Really.  Really?  "To emulate."  In what way?  Should we all just let our imagination run wild with whatever preconceived notions we might have?

Not even a hint of context for why these cities were mentioned is provided.  Just "emulated."  Is this your bigotry or are you intentionally being inflammatory to play upon the bigotry that we all know exists.  What if I wrote, "Rodger Jones likes little boys," if I had seen you holding hands with what very well might be your son (if you have one.  I don't know).  Maybe not.

It's accurate... to an extent.  But, hey.  I'm not the journalist.  I guess context was sent packing with the last round of layoffs.

I'm sorry.  That's unfair.  Excuse me, but I'm hyperactively intolerant towards intolerance.

Let's not add why people referenced Seoul or San Francisco in their impassioned pleas against highway construction and let the public, likely wondering why these cities were mentioned, hanging.  Let's not mention the 300% increase in property value around the Embarcadero, where a freeway section was torn out.

Here is the data on the Embarcadero:

  • Carried 100,000 cars per day
  • Took down 1.2 miles
  • Boulevard now carries 50,000 vehicles per day
  • Trolley carries 20,000 per day
  • Add in pedestrian counts and you're likely well over the 100,000 people moved prior to the tear out
  • Land value up 300%
  • 75% increase in transit commute trips in the impact zone since 1990
  • 54% increase in housing units in impact zone compared with 31% increase in the control zones
  • The number of jobs increased 23% in the impact zone from 1990 – 2005 compared with a 5.5% increase in the control zones

Now Seoul, where the former CEO for Hyunday (yes, a car company) ran for Mayor on the platform of tearing out the Cheongyee Expressway...

  • 8.5 mile section of elevated freeway buried a stream
  • Cost $281 million or $33M per mile (note: the Trinity Parkway is $140M per mile to build)
  • Number of vehicles entering the area decreased by 43%

Air Quality:

  • 21% less tiny airborn particulate matter
  • No2 dropped 20%
  • BETX dropped 25% overall and 65% in some areas
  • Reduced summer temps along corridor 8 degrees
  • 25,000 visitors per weekend day. 50,000 per weekday
  • Added 113,000 new jobs along corridor
  • Long-term benefits expected to approach $25 billion

That mayor...he's now President of South Korea.  I doubt he'd be as dismissive as you're being.

Provide context.  Do your homework.  Do your job.