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Author Topic: Dallas: locals oppose about-to-start I-35E south expansion  (Read 2965 times)

MaxConcrete

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Dallas: locals oppose about-to-start I-35E south expansion
« on: April 01, 2015, 09:38:03 AM »

http://www.dallasnews.com/news/community-news/oak-cliff/headlines/20150331-new-round-of-opposition-to-southern-gateway-highway-project.ece

The Southern Gateway project has been in the works for a long time and TxDOT is getting part of it near downtown ready for construction with completion slated for 2019, according to the article. But now the NIMBY locals are becoming vocal. I don't recall any noticeable opposition during the project's preparation since the early 2000s. But it appears that much of the opposition is related to the toll component.

I don't see any influential names in the opposition. Councilman Scott Griggs is against all highways. So as of now, I still think this project will proceed soon. South of downtown it is planned to be 5-2M-5 (M=managed tolled).

20150401
Highway proposals blasted

SOUTHERN GATEWAY PROJECT
Highway proposals blasted
Addition of toll lanes, expansion of roads draw fire in Oak Cliff

By ROY APPLETON
Staff Writer rappleton@dallasnews.com

Another day, another outpouring of opposition to the Southern Gateway project.

Proposed changes to two highways south of downtown Dallas, including new toll lanes, drew criticism at a public meeting in January. Questions and concerns echoed Monday evening in Oak Cliff.

“Most of us don’t see the need” for toll routes, Joe Whitney told representatives of the Texas Department of Transportation and others gathered at the Beckley-Saner Recreation Center. “We want to slow traffic down and consistently” move it.

Hoping to reduce congestion along portions of Interstate 35E and U.S. Highway 67, the Regional Transportation Council wants to build and steer more traffic onto “managed lanes” — and charge people for their use.

They would be the first toll highways in southern Dallas. For now they are ideas for producing revenue, centerpiece changes to a $2 billion project scaled back because of limited funding.

A $470 million first phase would include two reversible toll lanes along I-35E between Colorado Boulevard and its split with U.S. 67. It would add two general-purpose lanes as well along that stretch through Oak Cliff, plus roadway shoulders.

A potentially dangerous curve would be smoothed and traffic merge ramps extended, all for safety. New frontage roads would have room for bicycles and sidewalks. Access to the managed lanes would require space.

Such expansion would displace about 50 businesses, houses and billboards, properties that would be purchased by the state through its authority of eminent domain.

The state Transportation Department “expects to have a final, approved” land plan by the end of May, spokesman Tony Hartzel said Tuesday. It will be posted online months before a public hearing this fall, he said.

At Monday’s meeting, department representatives posted design drawings, including targeted properties, on walls for public review.

They offered details and justifications for an officially unfunded project marked for completion in 2019.

Mo Bur, TxDOT’s Dallas director of planning and development, said elected officials and others establish policy and “we implement that policy” — as in build approved roads.

He and his colleagues then received another round of challenges to the Southern Gateway Managed Lane Project.

They heard Raymond Crawford raise the issue of environmental justice and question how the project’s impact on its mostly minority neighbors would be assessed.

They heard Stan Aten say the proposed funding was wasted on roads and should be spent on mass transit: “For significantly less money we could be investing in DART, light rail, commuter rail.”

They heard Paul Carden predict that toll rates would continue to rise and motorists who can’t afford to pay “will still sit in traffic” as congestion increases. “We’ve got to come up with a better solution than this.”

Cedar Hill Mayor Rob Franke backed the road builders, saying the project would improve safety and, by improving traffic flow, bring jobs and economic development to areas south of Dallas.

He and others heard Katherine Homan call for using sound-absorbing paving material and lowering the highway beneath its current grade. They heard her suggest a decking over I-35E near the Dallas Zoo.

“This would be an incredible economic development opportunity,” she said. “We need to get something out of this besides the fact that it’s going to happen whether we like it or not.”

City Council member Scott Griggs hosted the meeting with his council colleague Dwaine Caraway.

Caraway told the audience he was concerned about highway curves near the zoo and the I-35E/U.S. 67 split.

After the meeting, Griggs said he has similar concerns and opposes the introduction of toll lanes into the project area.

Minutes earlier he wrapped up the gathering by assailing the highway expansion plan and its impact on businesses and workers.

“We need to start talking about jobs for Oak Cliff,” he said. “We need to stop building these roads and exporting these jobs.

“Let’s give them the direction tonight,” he said of the project team. “You guys can do better than this. Let’s put Oak Cliff first.”



silverback1065

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Re: Dallas: locals oppose about-to-start I-35E south expansion
« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2015, 11:03:29 AM »

“Most of us don’t see the need” for toll routes, Joe Whitney told representatives of the Texas Department of Transportation and others gathered at the Beckley-Saner Recreation Center. “We want to slow traffic down and consistently” move it.

Isn't the purpose to pay for future maintenance?  They don't toll roads just because they feel like it.  I don't live in Texas, but I thought they have a lot issues (more than other states) with finding money for roads.
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Chris

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Re: Dallas: locals oppose about-to-start I-35E south expansion
« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2015, 11:28:40 AM »

I've read some of that anti-toll road rhetoric before. They don't like the toll lanes. But they don't come up with a feasible alternate funding source to build it as a wider freeway with no toll component.

I don't get the opposition to toll lanes. At least they provide an alternative. As long as there is no other major source of funding, it's a toll lane or no lane at all. They're not forced to use the toll lanes. Most of these major toll projects keep at least the existing general purpose lanes, and sometimes even adding a free lane paid for by tolls.

silverback1065

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Re: Dallas: locals oppose about-to-start I-35E south expansion
« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2015, 11:32:21 AM »

I've read some of that anti-toll road rhetoric before. They don't like the toll lanes. But they don't come up with a feasible alternate funding source to build it as a wider freeway with no toll component.

I don't get the opposition to toll lanes. At least they provide an alternative. As long as there is no other major source of funding, it's a toll lane or no lane at all. They're not forced to use the toll lanes. Most of these major toll projects keep at least the existing general purpose lanes, and sometimes even adding a free lane paid for by tolls.

That's my problem with NIMBYS, opposition is fine, just have real reasons to be against it, AND provide alternatives.  But that almost never happens.  If you dont like the toll lanes, there's free lanes you can use right next to them. 
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rantanamo

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Re: Dallas: locals oppose about-to-start I-35E south expansion
« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2015, 05:15:26 AM »

They definitely need to smooth out the curve near the zoo.  When you're at speed approaching that curve its really jarring.  The will only be exaccerbated by the new I-35E bridge. 

I say build the toll lanes everywhere if they serve for future maintenance.  Much better than the often unused HOV lane.  If people want to pay to bypass traffic, let them all the way to the bank.
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