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Author Topic: I-345 in Dallas?  (Read 24444 times)

NE2

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Re: I-345 in Dallas?
« Reply #75 on: November 07, 2017, 03:49:26 PM »

Yep. Roundabouts are better.
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kphoger

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Re: I-345 in Dallas?
« Reply #76 on: November 07, 2017, 04:28:40 PM »

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sparker

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Re: I-345 in Dallas?
« Reply #77 on: November 07, 2017, 04:30:39 PM »

Yep. Roundabouts are better.

Uhh, yeah!?.....I'd be wary of installing roundabouts on US 69 in OK; it might take the truck traffic on that corridor a week or so before running right over the center island.  Probably not appropriate for any truck-heavy corridor unless the object is to drive such traffic elsewhere -- and that would certainly affect the revenue stream of Stringtown and other adherents of the speed-trap concept.  There's a reason (location + commercial traffic) why that corridor was grandfathered in back in '91 as a potential Interstate, regardless of the 26-year reticence of OK folks to follow through with that opportunity. 
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kphoger

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Re: I-345 in Dallas?
« Reply #78 on: November 07, 2017, 04:38:35 PM »

Yep. Roundabouts are better.

Uhh, yeah!?.....I'd be wary of installing roundabouts on US 69 in OK; it might take the truck traffic on that corridor a week or so before running right over the center island.  Probably not appropriate for any truck-heavy corridor unless the object is to drive such traffic elsewhere -- and that would certainly affect the revenue stream of Stringtown and other adherents of the speed-trap concept.  There's a reason (location + commercial traffic) why that corridor was grandfathered in back in '91 as a potential Interstate, regardless of the 26-year reticence of OK folks to follow through with that opportunity. 

First of all, have you not learned to spot a troll yet?   :pan:

Second of all, the roundabout at Fredonia, KS, works well on a corridor used heavily by trucks and RVs.  It's not as busy of a highway as US-75/69 in Oklahoma, however.
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sparker

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Re: I-345 in Dallas?
« Reply #79 on: November 07, 2017, 09:50:33 PM »

Yep. Roundabouts are better.

Uhh, yeah!?.....I'd be wary of installing roundabouts on US 69 in OK; it might take the truck traffic on that corridor a week or so before running right over the center island.  Probably not appropriate for any truck-heavy corridor unless the object is to drive such traffic elsewhere -- and that would certainly affect the revenue stream of Stringtown and other adherents of the speed-trap concept.  There's a reason (location + commercial traffic) why that corridor was grandfathered in back in '91 as a potential Interstate, regardless of the 26-year reticence of OK folks to follow through with that opportunity. 

First of all, have you not learned to spot a troll yet?   :pan:

Second of all, the roundabout at Fredonia, KS, works well on a corridor used heavily by trucks and RVs.  It's not as busy of a highway as US-75/69 in Oklahoma, however.

I actually enjoy burying trolls in facts as opposed to counter-trolling; to me, it's much more fun and satisfying!  If they continue down a particular path, though.....snarkiness will ensue in short order!

Never been through Fredonia, however; I'm guessing the roundabout is part of US 400.  If that is ever reconstructed as a freeway, the roundabout could be integrated into the ramp system -- but I'll defer to the knowledge of more local posters as to the appropriateness of the roundabout for current traffic levels.   
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TXtoNJ

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Re: I-345 in Dallas?
« Reply #80 on: November 08, 2017, 11:49:36 AM »

Those podunk shitholes along US 69 like Atoka, Stringtown and Kiowa can go fuck themselves. Why do they have enough power to stop a highway that is of national consequence? Every life that is lost is more blood upon the hands of the representatives of these towns. Every minute wasted, every bit of unnecessary pollution emitted, every bit of frustration is all their fault.

If they know that's your attitude toward them, then why wouldn't they do everything they could to hold on to their one last little bit? And Oklahoma has a lot of sympathy for dying small towns, and a lot of animosity toward big-city planners who seem to be doing everything they can to kill those towns more quickly.

But as we've seen in this thread, suburbanites tend to think their convenience must be prioritized above all else.
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Bobby5280

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Re: I-345 in Dallas?
« Reply #81 on: November 08, 2017, 12:09:20 PM »

Quote from: TXtoNJ
If they know that's your attitude toward them, then why wouldn't they do everything they could to hold on to their one last little bit?

More often than not it's citizens from those po-dunk towns that are getting splattered on US-69 in car/big rig collisions. Upgrading US-69 to an Interstate or Turnpike would do just as much to improve their safety as that of anyone else. Normally a super highway brings more commerce to towns like Atoka and Kiowa, especially if the highway is free access rather than a toll road. Currently a big amount of car traffic bypasses that corridor. Big rigs still take US-69 in droves because it is a short cut to Northeast destinations (as opposed to going up I-35 to OKC and then I-44 Northeast).
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TXtoNJ

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Re: I-345 in Dallas?
« Reply #82 on: November 08, 2017, 12:21:52 PM »

Quote from: TXtoNJ
If they know that's your attitude toward them, then why wouldn't they do everything they could to hold on to their one last little bit?

More often than not it's citizens from those po-dunk towns that are getting splattered on US-69 in car/big rig collisions. Upgrading US-69 to an Interstate or Turnpike would do just as much to improve their safety as that of anyone else. Normally a super highway brings more commerce to towns like Atoka and Kiowa, especially if the highway is free access rather than a toll road. Currently a big amount of car traffic bypasses that corridor. Big rigs still take US-69 in droves because it is a short cut to Northeast destinations (as opposed to going up I-35 to OKC and then I-44 Northeast).

It's not about individual safety, in their minds - it's about preserving their town and how they live their lives. The past 70 years has been a relentless assault against that, and the expressways they thought would once save other small towns turned out to hasten their demises.

They're not going to just agree to roll over and die, to see their kids all move to Dallas/OKC/Tulsa even more quickly, because their town is one less inconvenience wiped off the maps of the economic planners. What are you willing to give them in return? Safety on the road won't be enough.
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sparker

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Re: I-345 in Dallas?
« Reply #83 on: November 08, 2017, 01:39:44 PM »

Quote from: TXtoNJ
If they know that's your attitude toward them, then why wouldn't they do everything they could to hold on to their one last little bit?

More often than not it's citizens from those po-dunk towns that are getting splattered on US-69 in car/big rig collisions. Upgrading US-69 to an Interstate or Turnpike would do just as much to improve their safety as that of anyone else. Normally a super highway brings more commerce to towns like Atoka and Kiowa, especially if the highway is free access rather than a toll road. Currently a big amount of car traffic bypasses that corridor. Big rigs still take US-69 in droves because it is a short cut to Northeast destinations (as opposed to going up I-35 to OKC and then I-44 Northeast).

It's not about individual safety, in their minds - it's about preserving their town and how they live their lives. The past 70 years has been a relentless assault against that, and the expressways they thought would once save other small towns turned out to hasten their demises.

They're not going to just agree to roll over and die, to see their kids all move to Dallas/OKC/Tulsa even more quickly, because their town is one less inconvenience wiped off the maps of the economic planners. What are you willing to give them in return? Safety on the road won't be enough.

If that is the case, then the issue is the perceived reality on the part of these small towns versus the actual reality of the situation as it sits on the ground.  If "how they live their lives" involves functioning as speed traps or, more accurately, speedbumps in the US 69 freight corridor (for that is precisely what the highway is at present), then a bigger picture needs to be addressed.  And part of that picture would be some level of compensation for losses incurred by installation of a freeway bypass -- likely in the form of set-asides at the interchanges for the businesses most dependent upon "pass-through" dollars to relocate in order to take advantage of the new configuration. 

These towns likely precede even an original 2-lane US 69 (or it might have been 73 in the very early days!); this corridor was "trailblazed" by the MKT railroad back in "Sooner" days; it's now a major UP interregional line connecting DFW with Kansas City.  But decades ago the railroads effectively ceased directly serving small towns such as the ones in question here; unit and container trains shoot through the centers of these towns regularly; the old "way freight" service that stopped to drop off and pick up cars from local businesses has been effectively ceded by the railroads to trucks -- but the smaller towns survived that turn of events and adapted.  If an Interstate-grade freeway corridor is deployed along US 69, the reality is that these towns will, in all likelihood, adapt to the new situation.  Romanticizing the existing situation as a form of "lifestyle" is pointless; future generations from these towns and this region will migrate as necessary to where the jobs are located -- an activity that has been going on regardless of whether a town has a bypass or not.  Towns generally exist because they are a central point for local activity; very few exist to be a virtual "bump in the road"; a through-traffic bypass won't change that situation; locals will still come into the town(s) to take care of their needs.  Truth is, Wal-Mart has screwed more businesses in the Midwest than freeway bypasses ever could -- but folks everywhere, particularly in rural areas, continue to patronize them for price and product selection. 

It sounds like the previous post is, in retrospect, a diatribe against the Interstate system in general and its aggregate effect on some small towns characterized by a highly bounded economic situation.  But viewing the towns cited here as having to resort to quixotic measures to survive paints them as unable to cope with the realities of modern life.  Personally, I'd give them more credit than that -- if the towns are to survive, their citizenry needs to be smart enough to figure out ways to adapt to the situation rather than merely complain about their circumstances; I'd guess that most of them will so adapt and thus persist.  And they'll probably, in time, attract residents from those towns that collectively choose stasis rather than necessary change. 

I doubt that there are planners within either the economic or transportation fields who are sitting in their offices going "bwa-ha-ha.....our plans are coming together......these podunks will soon be history!".  No virtual Blofelds out there; it's all part of an evolving continuum.     
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TXtoNJ

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Re: I-345 in Dallas?
« Reply #84 on: November 08, 2017, 02:02:27 PM »

Quote from: TXtoNJ
If they know that's your attitude toward them, then why wouldn't they do everything they could to hold on to their one last little bit?

More often than not it's citizens from those po-dunk towns that are getting splattered on US-69 in car/big rig collisions. Upgrading US-69 to an Interstate or Turnpike would do just as much to improve their safety as that of anyone else. Normally a super highway brings more commerce to towns like Atoka and Kiowa, especially if the highway is free access rather than a toll road. Currently a big amount of car traffic bypasses that corridor. Big rigs still take US-69 in droves because it is a short cut to Northeast destinations (as opposed to going up I-35 to OKC and then I-44 Northeast).

It's not about individual safety, in their minds - it's about preserving their town and how they live their lives. The past 70 years has been a relentless assault against that, and the expressways they thought would once save other small towns turned out to hasten their demises.

They're not going to just agree to roll over and die, to see their kids all move to Dallas/OKC/Tulsa even more quickly, because their town is one less inconvenience wiped off the maps of the economic planners. What are you willing to give them in return? Safety on the road won't be enough.

If that is the case, then the issue is the perceived reality on the part of these small towns versus the actual reality of the situation as it sits on the ground.  If "how they live their lives" involves functioning as speed traps or, more accurately, speedbumps in the US 69 freight corridor (for that is precisely what the highway is at present), then a bigger picture needs to be addressed.  And part of that picture would be some level of compensation for losses incurred by installation of a freeway bypass -- likely in the form of set-asides at the interchanges for the businesses most dependent upon "pass-through" dollars to relocate in order to take advantage of the new configuration. 

These towns likely precede even an original 2-lane US 69 (or it might have been 73 in the very early days!); this corridor was "trailblazed" by the MKT railroad back in "Sooner" days; it's now a major UP interregional line connecting DFW with Kansas City.  But decades ago the railroads effectively ceased directly serving small towns such as the ones in question here; unit and container trains shoot through the centers of these towns regularly; the old "way freight" service that stopped to drop off and pick up cars from local businesses has been effectively ceded by the railroads to trucks -- but the smaller towns survived that turn of events and adapted.  If an Interstate-grade freeway corridor is deployed along US 69, the reality is that these towns will, in all likelihood, adapt to the new situation.  Romanticizing the existing situation as a form of "lifestyle" is pointless; future generations from these towns and this region will migrate as necessary to where the jobs are located -- an activity that has been going on regardless of whether a town has a bypass or not.  Towns generally exist because they are a central point for local activity; very few exist to be a virtual "bump in the road"; a through-traffic bypass won't change that situation; locals will still come into the town(s) to take care of their needs.  Truth is, Wal-Mart has screwed more businesses in the Midwest than freeway bypasses ever could -- but folks everywhere, particularly in rural areas, continue to patronize them for price and product selection. 

It sounds like the previous post is, in retrospect, a diatribe against the Interstate system in general and its aggregate effect on some small towns characterized by a highly bounded economic situation.  But viewing the towns cited here as having to resort to quixotic measures to survive paints them as unable to cope with the realities of modern life.  Personally, I'd give them more credit than that -- if the towns are to survive, their citizenry needs to be smart enough to figure out ways to adapt to the situation rather than merely complain about their circumstances; I'd guess that most of them will so adapt and thus persist.  And they'll probably, in time, attract residents from those towns that collectively choose stasis rather than necessary change. 

I doubt that there are planners within either the economic or transportation fields who are sitting in their offices going "bwa-ha-ha.....our plans are coming together......these podunks will soon be history!".  No virtual Blofelds out there; it's all part of an evolving continuum.     

Walmart couldn't exist without the Interstates, and shopping there is a matter of saving the few cents you have over long-term benefit. It's a scarcity vs. abundance mentality.

I'm not saying that's my opinion - but that is the perspective they're coming from. There isn't a shadowy conspiracy, but there are people with plans (for whatever bit of business they're involved in), and these small towns have become more-or-less frictional to them. The people in these towns understand that, and as a result, ramp up the friction as much as they can, because that's the only way they're going to bring in what they need to keep going.

You and I may type this from a city or a suburb, talking about how the "circumstances on the ground" have changed, but that requires a tacit acceptance of the status quo as being benign or desirable. The people in these small towns simply don't see it that way - they see it as a bad political decision that has been forced upon them. Pretending that it's not will not resolve the situation without having to exert state force, which they'll do everything in their power to combat. Which brings us to the current situation.

Meanwhile, it's exactly the same thing for people who want 345 to be buried or torn down. They simply don't think configuring their city to cater to suburbanites is the best use of public policy, and no one in the suburbs is offering much in counterargument beyond "but we deserve it!" and "you're being selfish by not giving me exactly what I want, when I want it!"
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Bobby5280

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Re: I-345 in Dallas?
« Reply #85 on: November 08, 2017, 02:07:12 PM »

Quote from: TXtoNJ
It's not about individual safety, in their minds - it's about preserving their town and how they live their lives. The past 70 years has been a relentless assault against that, and the expressways they thought would once save other small towns turned out to hasten their demises.

Blocking a highway improvement will do nothing to prevent a small town's young people from leaving. If the town sucks for its young people it sucks regardless if an Interstate highway is present or not. The claim that a freeway would speed a town's demise is pretty questionable. In Oklahoma's case small towns all over the state are shrinking and dying out regardless of being on or off a major highway corridor.

These small towns are shrinking and dying off because they lack good quality jobs needed by young people reaching adulthood. Career opportunity is limited. The first thing kids do when they graduate from high school and/or college is try their best to get out of town. Social opportunities and the dating pool is severely limited in small towns. Single women leave small towns in droves for numerous socio-economic reasons. Most of the jobs in/near small towns are mainly for men, that especially goes for the agricultural and oilfield jobs in Oklahoma.

Women make up the majority of the retail and restaurant service industry work force (cashiers, waiters, sales clerks, etc.). There's far more of those types of jobs in large towns and cities than in small towns. There's more upwardly mobile men in the cities. Not many American women these days want to leave high school just to be a stay at home mom. The outrageously high price of health care and other parental costs are forcing many American women to delay having children or just not have children at all. So even if some women do stay behind in these small towns they're not popping out children at anywhere near the rate they did back in the Good 'ole Days. The United States now has a "baby bust" that is starting to unfold; the birth rate for American born women is now 1.8 and dropping. The rate has hovered near a "replacement level" of 2.0 for the past 40 years, which means all of the net population growth in the United States since the 1970's has come from immigration. This baby bust is going to hit all parts of the nation and may get especially bad in high cost cities like New York and San Francisco where working class lower to middle income people are literally being pushed out due to extreme housing costs. Even when residents of these giant cities migrate elsewhere they almost always settle in some other medium to large size city. They don't move to little towns with few jobs, few services and nothing to do.

It would be interesting to know the median age of the people blocking efforts to improve US-69. If I had to guess I would say they're mostly people who are elderly or at least nearing retirement age.

If a struggling small town is along a major highway corridor there is at least some chance the town can attract employers that utilize the highways, like regional shopping centers or distribution centers.

Quote from: TXtoNJ
Walmart couldn't exist without the Interstates, and shopping there is a matter of saving the few cents you have over long-term benefit. It's a scarcity vs. abundance mentality.

The same mentality has driven millions to online retailers to buy products discounted even further and even free of any sales tax. As a result we have a worsening brick and mortar retail apocalypse in progress. It's going to make that "baby bust" I mentioned even worse, as well as speed up the demise of small towns. There are many times more jobs in physical retail than there is in manufacturing.

Quote from: TXtoNJ
You and I may type this from a city or a suburb, talking about how the "circumstances on the ground" have changed, but that requires a tacit acceptance of the status quo as being benign or desirable. The people in these small towns simply don't see it that way - they see it as a bad political decision that has been forced upon them. Pretending that it's not will not resolve the situation without having to exert state force, which they'll do everything in their power to combat. Which brings us to the current situation.

I don't know about anyone else, but I'm basing some of my comments from what I've been observing in towns in Southwest Oklahoma. I have family in Temple and it's clear that town's best days are well in the past. Many of these towns struggle to keep their public schools afloat. Once the schools go bust the whole freaking town gets put on a fast track to becoming a ghost town.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2017, 02:18:03 PM by Bobby5280 »
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kphoger

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Re: I-345 in Dallas?
« Reply #86 on: November 08, 2017, 02:25:23 PM »

Blocking a highway improvement will do nothing to prevent a small town's young people from leaving. If the town sucks for its young people it sucks regardless if an Interstate highway is present or not.

If people are less likely to stop and get gas, eat lunch, hunt for antiques, stay the night, etc—because the highway no longer goes through town—then that means there is less commerce happening in the town.  If there's less commerce, then there are fewer jobs.  If there are few jobs, then people leave who might otherwise not have left.  Trust me, I grew up in a small and dying town.
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silverback1065

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Re: I-345 in Dallas?
« Reply #87 on: November 08, 2017, 03:11:12 PM »

Every life lost or cut short by climate change is on your hands.

Wouldn't eliminating stoplights slightly reduce pollution?

yes
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kphoger

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Re: I-345 in Dallas?
« Reply #88 on: November 08, 2017, 03:36:39 PM »

Every life lost or cut short by climate change is on your hands.

Wouldn't eliminating stoplights slightly reduce pollution?

yes

It might actually be a debatable topic.  Assuming the main highway would otherwise have a longer green cycle, it might be advantageous w/t/r emissions over a roundabout, where 100% vehicles must (but are not forced to) slow down to under 25 mph and then accelerate again.
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sparker

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Re: I-345 in Dallas?
« Reply #89 on: November 08, 2017, 10:23:24 PM »

You and I may type this from a city or a suburb, talking about how the "circumstances on the ground" have changed, but that requires a tacit acceptance of the status quo as being benign or desirable. The people in these small towns simply don't see it that way - they see it as a bad political decision that has been forced upon them. Pretending that it's not will not resolve the situation without having to exert state force, which they'll do everything in their power to combat. Which brings us to the current situation.
Blocking a highway improvement will do nothing to prevent a small town's young people from leaving. If the town sucks for its young people it sucks regardless if an Interstate highway is present or not.

If people are less likely to stop and get gas, eat lunch, hunt for antiques, stay the night, etc—. because the highway no longer goes through town —then that means there is less commerce happening in the town.  If there's less commerce, then there are fewer jobs.  If there are few jobs, then people leave who might otherwise not have left.  Trust me, I grew up in a small and dying town.

I apologize in advance for seeming to make light of a serious subject, but those citizens of any of these towns most vocal about opposing any freeway bypasses strike me as similar to the "Black Knight" in Monty Python and the Holy Grail......."none shall pass!" (and the outcome of that stance is well-known!).   Time, the vagaries of Western Civ, and the detritus of progress (for better or worse) has, I'll readily concede, exacerbated the problems of these as well as other small towns in this country.  But what I've been trying to get at is that these problems are existing with the corridor "as is"; they are endemic to rural and semi-rural America in general; attempting to forestall these issues by targeting pass-through traffic seems to be a last-ditch and ultimately non-productive venture.  When it comes to speed traps, I have little or no sympathy for that tactic (if a town has to resort to such, it might not be a worthy candidate for survival).  Supplying roadside services (food, fuel, lodging) is another matter; if those things contribute a substantial portion of a town's fiscal stability, then of course that has to be taken into consideration when a change of roadway alignment is considered.  But there's a big difference in demonstrating respect for the citizenry and deference to their position that the present situation needs to remain static.  Adult relationships are based on respect; the adult-child versions add deference to that; in this instance, those who would wish to deploy a freeway through or around these various communities are not automatically relegated to a "child" position of deference to the status-quo preference of some community members; the discussion has to be bilateral, with give & take on both sides.  The opposition to freeway deployment has, so far, been abetted by OK's reticence or inability to finance facilities of this kind; but that may not always be the case -- in which instance negotiations would ensue.  Right now the "townies" are safe, simply because there are no immediate plans to change that status quo (the McAlester improvements notwithstanding).  But the chances are, especially if the corridor hosts increasing more commercial traffic, that somewhere down the line freeway conversion will be on the table; if these towns have any common sense, they should prepare for that with plans other than opposition based on ideology or nostalgia.

Also -- looking at the corridor (I haven't been on it personally for nearly 15 years) on GE (average view mid-2015) from Durant to McAlester, it would appear that most of the towns along the route have a multitude of other sources of income independent of the US 69 traffic flow.  The town center of Caney is well away from the roadway; there doesn't seem to be much in the way of facilities along the road itself.  Tushka seems to have a plethora of agricultural activity (grain yards, warehouses) supporting itself; again, not too many road-related facilities to speak of.  Atoka is the county seat and a large self-supporting town; it's hard to see how a bypass would more than marginally affect the town's financial picture.  Stringtown, the notorious speed trap, is also well away from the highway; there's a mining operation directly north of town along the rail line, which likely serves as the raison d'etre of that town (and you already know my opinion of the speed trap situation!); again little or no road-related commercial activity.  Kiowa is the only town that appears to have extensive facilities along the roadway that likely cater to the traveler -- and also seemingly lacking other activities save the Army ammunition dump a couple of miles to the northwest (which is primarily accessed from Savanna -- which appears to be the town most directly related to the Army facility).  Except for Kiowa, there doesn't seem to be any town that would be more than marginally dependent upon a steady stream of traffic through its midst.  If a freeway bypass were to be planned around that town, it would be appropriate to direct resources toward that town in order to expedite any relocations necessary for those businesses now dependent on through traffic to position themselves -- via both location and publicity -- to continue to serve the traffic flow at whatever interchanges are planned in and around the town itself. 

There is no viable solution to long-term corridor needs that doesn't involve disrupting what TXtoNJ characterizes as attitudes stemming from decisions made elsewhere.  The problem is that the situation is one best described as reaction rather than response.  OK's reluctance to recognize that the future of the US 69 corridor is going to require more than simply ignoring the problem -- and letting any resentment on the part of the local citizenry fester without even exploring viable alternatives -- is not a situation that will just resolve itself by continued inaction.  Kiowa and the other towns need not be OK's version of Breezewood -- but a dialogue needs to be established as soon as feasible regarding what's going to happen somewhere "down the road", so to speak.       
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kphoger

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Re: I-345 in Dallas?
« Reply #90 on: November 09, 2017, 01:14:15 PM »

I apologize in advance for seeming to make light of a serious subject, but those citizens of any of these towns most vocal about opposing any freeway bypasses strike me as similar to the "Black Knight" in Monty Python and the Holy Grail......."none shall pass!" (and the outcome of that stance is well-known!).   Time, the vagaries of Western Civ, and the detritus of progress (for better or worse) has, I'll readily concede, exacerbated the problems of these as well as other small towns in this country.  But what I've been trying to get at is that these problems are existing with the corridor "as is"; they are endemic to rural and semi-rural America in general; attempting to forestall these issues by targeting pass-through traffic seems to be a last-ditch and ultimately non-productive venture. 

So are you suggesting that citizens of small, endangered towns should just give up and speed their town's demise by supporting bypasses?  Or are you suggesting that state legislatures should ignore the plight of its rural communities?  Neither one of those sounds like a good idea to me.
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Re: I-345 in Dallas?
« Reply #91 on: November 09, 2017, 06:11:02 PM »

I apologize in advance for seeming to make light of a serious subject, but those citizens of any of these towns most vocal about opposing any freeway bypasses strike me as similar to the "Black Knight" in Monty Python and the Holy Grail......."none shall pass!" (and the outcome of that stance is well-known!).   Time, the vagaries of Western Civ, and the detritus of progress (for better or worse) has, I'll readily concede, exacerbated the problems of these as well as other small towns in this country.  But what I've been trying to get at is that these problems are existing with the corridor "as is"; they are endemic to rural and semi-rural America in general; attempting to forestall these issues by targeting pass-through traffic seems to be a last-ditch and ultimately non-productive venture. 

So are you suggesting that citizens of small, endangered towns should just give up and speed their town's demise by supporting bypasses?  Or are you suggesting that state legislatures should ignore the plight of its rural communities?  Neither one of those sounds like a good idea to me.

I'm going to lob this back into your court:  Are you suggesting that any corridor planning -- including this particular one -- cease at the possibility that a town along the way might in some way see a decline in business from travelers?  Have we gotten to the point where any objection to a project represents an absolute veto over that project?  If so -- and implemented -- that would effectively curtail roadway upgrades in much, if not most, of the nation -- or result in a never-ending string of functional "Breezewoods".   I for one don't see the larger-picture benefit to that situation. 

I'm not suggesting that these towns "roll over" when it comes to projects affecting them, nor do I suggest that their state representatives do so as well.  But I'd like to see a compromise-ready common-sense approach to the issue, rather than the "black and white" scenario you depict.  First of all, these towns need to accept the fact that they're located on a freight-heavy corridor -- which will in all likelihood see increasing commercial traffic as truckers elect to bypass OKC congestion; the completion of I-49 north of I-44 in MO makes US 69 part of a "straight shot" from DFW to KC -- both freight hubs -- I think most of the posters here acknowledge that situation.  It's been both a boon and a burden to the communities scattered along the route; some, like McAlester, have welcomed the idea of taking that through traffic off the previous surface route (one of those former bypasses later inundated by local development) and converting it to a full freeway.  In all likelihood they, like most of the towns along the route, are not largely dependent upon income derived from pass-through traffic (as I mentioned in the part of my post that followed the statement copied above).  With the smaller of those, all that is substituted is interchanges for at-grade intersections; as the business districts (such as they are) for these towns are more often than not well away from US 69 (and often across the parallel UPRR tracks, like Stringtown), there exists, even with the present configuration, little incentive for travelers to seek out services there.  Atoka and McAlester are large and variegated enough to have long outgrown any dependency upon roadside amenities for income; so essentially, as I asserted earlier, that leaves Kiowa as the sole town likely to be significantly affected by a future bypass  (if one considers speed traps a deplorable concept that deserve condemnation). 

The question then arises -- if at some point the US 69 corridor as a whole is considered for a full upgrade to Interstate standards -- how to address this issue in such a way as to provide enough benefits to offset as much as possible the losses incurred by corridor avoidance of the CBD's of these towns.  Obviously that doesn't deal with any emotional detritus on the part of town residents who have in & of themselves framed the issue as an existential -- and binary -- dilemma (and the politicians who, frankly, get re-elected by exploiting those sentiments) where the "big picture" gets lost in the shuffle.  But by adopting an "us against the world/all or nothing" stance, towns such as these cast themselves in the role of "outlier" -- particularly if other communities along the corridor have, even with some reluctance, embraced the upgrade concept. 

The one thing that is missing in the arguments presented here is context.  We're not talking about rural towns in general, which exhibit their own issues related to general civilization , economics, and "progress" -- but specific ones located along a massively-traveled interregional corridor.  And this is a corridor that has seen periodic upgrades from time to time -- from a 2-lane highway paralleling a major RR line to an expressway/arterial mix, part of which has already seen full-freeway conversion, with more actually planned as such (e.g. the recently-announced Muskogee US 69 relocation effort).  Unless folks living along the corridor have been wearing blinders for the last few decades, it's pretty obvious that the status quo for any part of the corridor could never be considered permanent by any standards; the bypass development in Durant to the south and McAlester at the south end of the long US 69 freeway stretch to the north should serve as the proverbial "writing on the wall" regarding the status of the corridor's remainder -- and that no amount of preservationist lore, nostalgia for a more bucolic time, or dirges about the demise of rural America will keep the wolf from the door forever. 

I'm not completely oblivious or unsympathetic to the plight of these and other rural towns; I've got literally dozens of relatives in this general area of Oklahoma, but none in towns over 30K population -- they are either in small towns or "out in the country".  But while they do grouse about such things, virtually all recognize the fact that "life is change" (and they're generally a hell of lot more conservative than me!).  One such relative is an EMT supervisor for the SE Oklahoma emergency-response district that covers essentially everything south of the Canadian River and east of OK 48; he's based in Durant.  He's been in the agency for about 35 years now in one capacity or another -- starting out as a paramedic.  He was talking about the safety issues on the US 69 corridor years before I ever drove it -- and this was well after the facility was brought out to a minimum of 4 lanes by the early '80's.  The teams responding to calls on that highway had to be exceptionally wary of local traffic darting out onto the road, trucks suddenly braking in front of them when approaching towns (where the speed limit would drop from 55 or 65 to 25 or 30); the EMT's were quite elated when the US 69/75 freeway was completed in Bryan County.  My cousin has certainly done his share of complaining at both the county and state levels regarding why US 69 is still in its current state -- and the answer has inevitably been funding; with the occasional aside to the gist of "well, some people just don't want to see anything changed".  He opined that those folks are the ones writing checks to their legislators to ensure that the status quo remains just that.  Since his teams go far afield, he naturally is concerned about the roads they are obligated to utilize -- and he has expressed dismay at how a corridor with the level of traffic that US 69 displays isn't yet fully access-controlled; he has said that his ambulances can do 85 mph easily on the freeway segments, but they have to drop back by 30 mph or so in the town areas just to avoid potential incidents (primarily T-bones, which have occurred).  Between dodging in and out of the truck traffic and looking out for side-traffic the travel time from an incident in the Kiowa area down to Durant (which has a trauma center at the county hospital), about 60 miles, is just about an hour; he estimates that if a freeway were in place, including a bypass of Atoka, they could cut the time down to 40-42 minutes -- a time difference often critical in medical emergencies.

Despite all this, it's likely that all this discourse is simply a discussion of differing priorities.  Without available funding, the status quo of all the little towns arrayed along US 69 will remain unchanged; Kiowa folks will still get what pass-through business there is unabated, and unless someone with clout calls them on their shit, Stringtown will continue to write gobs of speeding tickets.  But, still, there are plenty of small rural towns not straddling major interregional corridors to serve as "poster children"  for the socioeconomic differentials that have left them behind; the folks along US 69, in all likelihood, know that change is coming -- but so far have been fortunate in one of the most ironic senses ever:  the economic problems of rural America have resulted in less available funding for projects such as any US 69 upgrade -- a situation that is currently ensuring the continuation of the status quo.         

 
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kphoger

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Re: I-345 in Dallas?
« Reply #92 on: November 10, 2017, 01:16:14 PM »

Are you suggesting that any corridor planning -- including this particular one -- cease at the possibility that a town along the way might in some way see a decline in business from travelers?  Have we gotten to the point where any objection to a project represents an absolute veto over that project?  If so -- and implemented -- that would effectively curtail roadway upgrades in much, if not most, of the nation -- or result in a never-ending string of functional "Breezewoods".   I for one don't see the larger-picture benefit to that situation. 

Certainly not.  I was just starting to get the impression you thought small-town citizens should just accept the fact that their way of life is doomed and should raise the white flag.  Part of that was a sour taste left in my mouth from bugo's and Bobby5280's earlier comments, and I apologize for attributing those sentiments to you.  But I wasn't sure what you thought the solution should be.  If towns along the corridor are already dwindling, then I couldn't foresee their citizens doing anything less than everything they could to stay afloat.  And I couldn't foresee legislators favoring the interests of Dallas and Kansas City over those of the communities who actually elected them to office.

One path to survival, IMHO (assuming the main drag through town can't simply be grade-separated), is for a bypass to be constructed close enough to the town proper that people can see the town and not feel like it's an inconvenience to stop there.  Failing that, a town needs to understand and zone for the replacement of mom-and-pop diners with a truck stop and a Wendy's out by the bypass; it's not as romantic as Main Street, but it might actually be better in the end.
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Bobby5280

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Re: I-345 in Dallas?
« Reply #93 on: November 10, 2017, 02:51:36 PM »

Quote from: kphoger
I was just starting to get the impression you thought small-town citizens should just accept the fact that their way of life is doomed and should raise the white flag.  Part of that was a sour taste left in my mouth from bugo's and Bobby5280's earlier comments, and I apologize for attributing those sentiments to you.

That sour taste comes from the bitter truth.

I have a sentimental attachment to some small towns, like Temple here in Oklahoma. I don't want them to dry up and die. However, there is very little I or anyone else can do to prevent it.

I used to have a lot of family in Temple. But then my dad's parents and everyone else from that generation passed away and others moved out of town. Out of family members in my father's generation, I'm down to one Aunt left living in Temple. Out of my generation I have a cousin living there part time, but traveling much of the time due to his job with Halliburton. Not nearly enough younger people are choosing to stay in Temple to replace all the others who've been growing old and dying.

Small towns like this are struggling to function. Temple no longer has its own police department; it now relies on the Cotton Country Sheriff's Dept. Residents have to drive to Lawton, Duncan or Wichita Falls for any real health care services. The property tax base is shrinking. That forces the local schools and others providing basic services like water/sewage treatment and garbage removal to get by with less and less. Most of the people there have modest incomes and can't withstand a big tax hike on income or property.

Jobs good enough to attract young workers and keep them there long enough to build families are the only thing that can save small towns. Towns that are off the beaten path, like Temple, are doomed in the long run.

Towns along US-69 like Atoka or Kiowa would at least have some outside chance of attracting new business and industry with US-69 converted into a full blown Interstate. Towns near the I-35 corridor, such as Davis, Paul's Valley and Purcell didn't die off from getting bypassed by I-35. If those towns along US-69 want people to stop and spend some of their money in those towns they have to give travelers a reason to stop. Otherwise they're just going to keep driving even if they're held up a bit by stop signs, traffic lights and speed traps. And that last one will encourage casual motorists with money to spend to avoid that corridor completely. So, screw Stringtown and its speed traps.
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sparker

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Re: I-345 in Dallas?
« Reply #94 on: November 10, 2017, 05:20:08 PM »

Are you suggesting that any corridor planning -- including this particular one -- cease at the possibility that a town along the way might in some way see a decline in business from travelers?  Have we gotten to the point where any objection to a project represents an absolute veto over that project?  If so -- and implemented -- that would effectively curtail roadway upgrades in much, if not most, of the nation -- or result in a never-ending string of functional "Breezewoods".   I for one don't see the larger-picture benefit to that situation. 

Certainly not.  I was just starting to get the impression you thought small-town citizens should just accept the fact that their way of life is doomed and should raise the white flag.  Part of that was a sour taste left in my mouth from bugo's and Bobby5280's earlier comments, and I apologize for attributing those sentiments to you.  But I wasn't sure what you thought the solution should be.  If towns along the corridor are already dwindling, then I couldn't foresee their citizens doing anything less than everything they could to stay afloat.  And I couldn't foresee legislators favoring the interests of Dallas and Kansas City over those of the communities who actually elected them to office.

One path to survival, IMHO (assuming the main drag through town can't simply be grade-separated), is for a bypass to be constructed close enough to the town proper that people can see the town and not feel like it's an inconvenience to stop there.  Failing that, a town needs to understand and zone for the replacement of mom-and-pop diners with a truck stop and a Wendy's out by the bypass; it's not as romantic as Main Street, but it might actually be better in the end.

Actually, your suggestion about locating any bypass as close to the original alignment as feasible (generally dictated by how much of the town would need to be razed to accomplish this) seems to be the best compromise available.  Part of any project of this type should include a pool of funds for relocating those businesses most susceptible to failure absent pass-through traffic (restaurants, gas stations, even overnight accommodations).  I've found that, in general, specialty shops such as antique stores can also relocate next to interchanges (with appropriate roadside advertising -- or, these days, a decent web presence) if the town is willing to zone for small commercial zones or malls.  Out here in CA we have what would nominally be a forlorn stretch of I-5 in the northern Sacramento Valley (between Sacramento and Redding) historically without much to offer the traveler except a generally safe flatland freeway (except when tule fog hits!).  It also traverses one of the major dairy and specialty-crop areas of the state (Glenn and Tehama counties).  It took a while (the freeway fully opened about 1973) for the proverbial "light bulb" to come on, but about 20-25 years ago some of the local agricultural interests started placing specialty stores at many of the interchanges between Willows and Red Bluff selling dozens of olive, nut, and fruit varieties (with coffee shops attached); overall, these have thrived -- and even become day-trip destinations from Sacramento and the Bay Area.  And even the local dairy industry, nominally centered in Willows, has caught on -- they were always OEM producers of specialty cheese, ice cream, gelato, and other products for supermarkets or distributors; now a couple of the producers (Graziers and Sierra Nevada dairies) have set up roadside facilities similar to the olive/nut shops -- and have made that nominally "pass-through" territory effectively the specialty-cheese center of California!  Now I'm not suggesting that such could be readily duplicated on US 69 in Oklahoma (which is still functionally more of a commercial corridor than a major interurban connector), but the business model for this sort of operation is out there; if an I-45 extension -- or anything else -- is ever superimposed on that corridor, then not all needs to be lost regarding localized road-related commercial activity.  Any planning efforts need to take all aspects of how the towns relate to the road corridor into account; in the case of I-5 in the Willows area, the freeway was located only a few blocks to the west of the old US 99W alignment following the railroad tracks; so when the localized marketing impetus occurred, it had a place to go with minimal expense and disruption (as most of the actual dairy operations were adjacent to the RR tracks). 

Ironically -- old 99W is one of the few extant CA I-5 business loops that has retained most of its signage as well as BGS trailblazers on I-5 itself.  I don't know what constitutes standard OK practice regarding business loops, but if new-alignment bypasses are eventually constructed, a well-signed loop (even detouring US 69 itself over the original route if the bypass is part of a new Interstate) might in some way keep some of the in-town businesses "on the margin" from outright failure.  If I have time in the next few days I might do a GSV "sweep" of the corridor to see how business loops in the towns currently bypassed by freeways/expressways (Durant, McAlester, Checotah) are handled by ODOT.   If anyone in the area wants to chime in about this, I'm all eyes!
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Re: I-345 in Dallas?
« Reply #95 on: November 11, 2017, 09:38:55 AM »

Also -- looking at the corridor (I haven't been on it personally for nearly 15 years) on GE (average view mid-2015) from Durant to McAlester, it would appear that most of the towns along the route have a multitude of other sources of income independent of the US 69 traffic flow.  Atoka is the county seat and a large self-supporting town; it's hard to see how a bypass would more than marginally affect the town's financial picture. 

Atoka is the only town between Durant and McAlester with major E-W roads (OK3 and OK7) crossing US69 as well as US75 coming in from the north.  That plus being the county seat (as you mentioned) means it will survive regardless of the presence of a bypass.

Quote
Stringtown, the notorious speed trap, is also well away from the highway; there's a mining operation directly north of town along the rail line, which likely serves as the raison d'etre of that town (and you already know my opinion of the speed trap situation!)

The prison is by far the largest employer in the town.
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Re: I-345 in Dallas?
« Reply #96 on: November 11, 2017, 11:36:25 AM »

Every life lost or cut short by climate change is on your hands.

Vehicles stuck in traffic or at red lights emit more of the bad stuff than vehicles cruising at highway speeds nonstop.
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bugo

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Re: I-345 in Dallas?
« Reply #97 on: November 11, 2017, 11:39:11 AM »

Those podunk shitholes along US 69 like Atoka, Stringtown and Kiowa can go fuck themselves. Why do they have enough power to stop a highway that is of national consequence? Every life that is lost is more blood upon the hands of the representatives of these towns. Every minute wasted, every bit of unnecessary pollution emitted, every bit of frustration is all their fault.

If they know that's your attitude toward them, then why wouldn't they do everything they could to hold on to their one last little bit? And Oklahoma has a lot of sympathy for dying small towns, and a lot of animosity toward big-city planners who seem to be doing everything they can to kill those towns more quickly.

But as we've seen in this thread, suburbanites tend to think their convenience must be prioritized above all else.

They don't care what I think about them. Like too many, all they care about is money.

FWIW, I live in an urban area.
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bugo

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Re: I-345 in Dallas?
« Reply #98 on: November 11, 2017, 11:44:32 AM »

Quote from: TXtoNJ
If they know that's your attitude toward them, then why wouldn't they do everything they could to hold on to their one last little bit?

More often than not it's citizens from those po-dunk towns that are getting splattered on US-69 in car/big rig collisions. Upgrading US-69 to an Interstate or Turnpike would do just as much to improve their safety as that of anyone else. Normally a super highway brings more commerce to towns like Atoka and Kiowa, especially if the highway is free access rather than a toll road. Currently a big amount of car traffic bypasses that corridor. Big rigs still take US-69 in droves because it is a short cut to Northeast destinations (as opposed to going up I-35 to OKC and then I-44 Northeast).

It's not about individual safety, in their minds - it's about preserving their town and how they live their lives. The past 70 years has been a relentless assault against that, and the expressways they thought would once save other small towns turned out to hasten their demises.

They're not going to just agree to roll over and die, to see their kids all move to Dallas/OKC/Tulsa even more quickly, because their town is one less inconvenience wiped off the maps of the economic planners. What are you willing to give them in return? Safety on the road won't be enough.

But their kids are moving to the cities in record numbers. There are numerous reasons small towns die (and you are vastly overstating the death of small towns) but these towns refuse to point the finger at themselves and do constructive things to slow down their demise.

I grew up in a small town that has not yet been bypassed. Guess what? It's dying. It's already dead. You can't blame a bypass on it. I blame the shortsighted and stubborn city "leaders" who would rather lost money than let an Arby's or a Long John Silver's open. I'm shocked that they finally got a Walgreens, even though the only reason they got one is because Walgreens bought a smaller chain that had a location there.
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bugo

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Re: I-345 in Dallas?
« Reply #99 on: November 11, 2017, 11:49:44 AM »

Walmart couldn't exist without the Interstates, and shopping there is a matter of saving the few cents you have over long-term benefit. It's a scarcity vs. abundance mentality.

Most early Walmarts weren't built along interstates. In fact a lot of them were built along towns that didn't even have interstates and still don't have interstates.
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