Thursday, March 13, 2014

Your One-Stop Shop for 345 Talking Points

Thesis: Dallas is exporting tax base via subsidized long trip infrastructure while eroding what makes cities great, the power of proximity and agglomeration economies. Over-built automobile infrastructure has led to tax burden / tax base imbalance.

1 – This is not an engineering problem but a political and economic one. We can design and engineer any city we want. What can we afford and how to maximize the returns on our public investments?

2 – City can’t afford to subsidize every development in downtown. Downtown, Deep Ellum, and Baylor area all need housing but can’t deliver because of upside down economics. Must correct the market so infill development can occur w/o 30% city participation.

3 - Great cities of the world don’t allow big infrastructure to disrupt local economies. Common complaint is about peak hour trips. Avg speed peak hours is about 27mph. Is it better or worse to be stuck on elevated expressway with no other route or have 4-5 routes on high quality walkable boulevards going 25mph. What's better for the city?

4 - Demographics are changing. 68% of Dallasites want more walkability. If we build big, expensive infrastructure that younger generations don't want, we're stuck with the infrastructure til 2050 but we could lose the people. Density cannot work without walkable infrastructure.

5 – Most car-dependent major city in the U.S. – 96% of trips are by car. The only way to accommodate demand for increased density is shortening trips and getting people out of cars. Most car-dependent cities waste 10% more of GDP than the least car-dependent cities.

6 - If we want to grow South Dallas we have to undo the infrastructure that killed it. We must re-orient downtown as the center of real estate investment and job creation. Make it a place to go to, not drive-thru. Investment is risk-averse. It oozes. It doesn’t jump. Therefore, we must steer it by giving it an outlet near downtown and South Dallas.

7 – Affordable Housing Opportunities – Shifting failing public infrastructure and right-of-way to private investment for private gain and public good allows for 17,000 new housing units and potentially 2,000 new affordable housing units near jobs and convenient transit.

8 – Public Safety – Dallas is routinely ranked as one of the least pedestrian friendly cities in the country. You are 51.41x more likely to be killed as a pedestrian in Dallas than in Manhattan. TX-30 (home of IH-345) is the 2nd deadliest US congressional district in the country based on 10-year traffic fatalities.

9 - Dallas is losing jobs and would be losing people if it wasn't for the minor sub-market of uptown, the most walkable place in DFW. From 2000-2010, DFW gained 1.2 million, Dallas captured less than 1% or 9,000 people.

10 – Regional Trips are Bad for Business – Designing infrastructure that rewards long distance, car-based travel only creates the bad kind of congestion, regional traffic, that erodes quality of life, whereas high degree of local traffic is good for business.