Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Outline Notes on Highway Tear-outs

I was in Colorado for the past few days and on the way from the mountains back to the city (and eventually airport) I tapped out the outline notes for the presentation I gave today about highway tear-outs.  I wanted this particular presentation to be more conversational and less formally ordered by a powerpoint, though I'll be evolving this into a powerpoint at some point.  Here is how the sausage is made, err those notes before they're formalized even though I ended up just speaking extemporaneously with these general points in mind:

*Btw 2000-10 census metroplex grew by 1.21 million ppl. City of Dallas captured only 9,000. Or 0.007 of the total growth.

Studying 345 began 2 years ago with a real estate developer friend.

It began with our critique of the various downtown plans and efforts as mostly superficial improvements, not addressing underlying issue: the upside down market. That land costs were too high and demand too low.

In essence, developing downtown was unprofitable and thereby require(s) subsidy or charity to build anything

Cities wouldnt exist if they werent profitable.  What we have built is effectively anti-city where the only profit margin is outside.

real estate markets take on the shape based on the bones of infrastructure

The real estate market is the invisible hand but the infrastructure is the invisible arm that guides it.

We have an infrastructure where the demand pressure is forced outward rather than inward, profit margin in having public sector build a hwy to useless land and making it somewhat less useless = sprawl. Doesn't allow for tax base that can support the infrastructure past a generation.

We have to worry less about moving cars and move the real estate market so it favors infill and development rather than growth towards oklahoma.

To do that we have to change the infrastructure network. TxDOT doesn't want to change, they want the status quo to move 160,000 cars and trucks past here. Problem is this road is crumbling
We chose this specific freeway b/c we felt it had the most value to leverage...believing that downtown to White Rock Lake was the past expansion of the city and its the future of its redevelopment - most potential for combination of re-use and infill

Road is now 40 years old on a 40 year lifespan.

We wanted to get ahead of TxDOT b/c we knew this day was coming

now TxDOT is pursuing 9 options ranging from complete reconstruction to continued minor repair.

We don't know what any of TxDOTs options cost yet

Thing is, there is nothing more to be gained from having the road except status quo. -- IT IS A COST/MAINTENANCE BURDEN IN PERPETUITY -- with no free federal money available and no new economic development to be leveraged.

We're suggesting we must study a 10th option including the removal of the highway and re-knitting of the grid of streets between downtown, Deep Ellum and East Dallas....accounting for the benefits...

for about the cost of Klyde Warren Deck Park...we can take down 345, rebuild the street network for developable blocks and leverage $4billion in investment in the 245 acre study area, $110m in yearly property tax revenue for the city, in an area where they currently only generate $3m.  25,000 new residents, and several new parks, each as the centerpiece of new neighborhoods linking downtown and Deep Ellum

The spinoff benefits for downtown, deep ellum and the rest of east dallas are then exponential.  This would be the catalyst for that change.

TRAFFIC:  ~160,000 cars

Regional - if they're not coming to downtown, we don't want that traffic anywhere near our downtown neighborhoods. This is why we built loop 12, 635, and 190.  Westside Hwy 57% drop NJ-NJ

Local grid - way under-capacity - 252,000 vehicles per day under capacity
- east dallas grid needs more traffic (as long as it's tamed and pedestrian friendly) since businesses look at traffic counts - but they also look at population nearby and that's what we need. More people living here, going to local businesses

Long-term - we're moving people back to the city -- in places where DART, biking, walking, and city streets make more sense than using the highway.  25,000 people moving in with real choice of route and mode rather than funneling to highway.

1996 article - SF chronicle - traffic planners shocked they cured congestion but didn't understand how or why. simple, they took down a highway, but they predicted it would be carmageddon

Short-term - which leads me to modern day carmageddon in LA. Short-term, every time LA has shutdown a highway for construction or cities have taken out highways - there is an immediate 25% drop in traffic demand.

Case Studies:
San Fran - Embarcadero - 300% jump in land value. so successful, planning to take out another 15 blocks of the highway

Central Expressway


Vancouver never had highways

Seoul South Korea is the most famous

Baltimore, OKC, Seattle, etc planning highway tear-outs. They're understand cities are competing with each other for ppl, but they're competing with their suburbs even more. So they're removing liabilities and replacing them with parks and walkable n'hoods

What we need is a more walkable city... b/c more walkable places carry a premium, they are more popular, are much safer, they generate more sales, more tax revenue... and to get there, we have to start taking out a highway.