Monday, January 28, 2013

DMagazine Column: Tear-Down Highway 345 in Downtown Dallas

Here's me at D Magazine (and on your news stands) on the potential value under and around Highway 345 in downtown Dallas.  As an addendum, I'd like to point out that yes, indeed there are more alternatives than the 2 I wrote about.  7 more, actually.  The differences are trivial and thus I felt they should be trivialized as shades of gray between constant minor repairs and complete rebuild.  Instead, we need the tenth option and we need to factor economics into our metrics:
The last consideration is the long-term impact that would result from tearing down IH-345. Here’s where the move would really pay off. Just as the system of freeways has shifted population outward, removing IH-345 from downtown would draw people into the city. It would reposition 245 acres so that it could be developed into walkable neighborhoods that could be home to 20,000 new downtown residents. Right now there is only $19 million in improvements on those 245 acres, and the city collects a mere $3 million per year in property tax revenue. By removing the highway, restitching the grid, and creating developable blocks, the city would see $4 billion in new investment within 15 years and generate $100 million a year in property tax revenue, based on our economic impact analysis. That’s enough in one year to implement the entire bike plan and build a new modern streetcar line from West End to Lower Greenville. Through land sales, TxDOT can generate some revenue to begin paying down its debt rather than adding to it.