Urban Freeway Removal in Texas: "A New Dallas" Aims to Tear Down IH 345

As the third most populous city in Texas, Dallas is not necessarily known for its minimalism. The metropolitan area is home to a billion-dollar football stadium, one of the world's busiest airports, and, of course, Big Tex

Due to its massive population and proximity to Fort Worth, Dallas requires a vast infrastructure to accommodate its residents. Because of the autocentrism of Texas as a whole, the metroplex relies upon a vast network of existing freeways.

Recently, a strong minority group has been active in bringing smaller scale transportation to the Dallas. Patrick Kennedy and Brandon Hancock formed "A New Dallas" with the intention of promoting interconnectivity and social and economic exchange in their metropolis. Their first order of business: promoting a tear down of IH345, a 40-year old stretch of elevated highway that slices through downtown.

The outdated IH345, like most elevated urban highways, faces recurring issues of structural instability, an enormous amount of surrounding underdeveloped land, and a lack of financial investment. "A New Dallas" calls the existence of the highway into question in order to add a teardown to TxDOT's existing list of options in their ongoing feasibility study of the highway. Kennedy and Hancock hope public officials will consider "the removal of the highway section and the reconstruction of the historic grid to knit downtown back to its eastern neighborhoods".

Photo courtesy of "A New Dallas"

The proposal calls for a redistribution of traffic flow similar to that of San Francisco following the removal of the Embarcadero Freeway. By channeling traffic through underutilized arterial roads in East Dallas, the plan aims to bring diversity and vitality to the region. The plan notes that much of IH345's congestion exists due to commuters passing through the city. Removing the convenience of this freeway aims to preserve the downtown for those using it.  Ultimately, the goal is to stabilize the equilibrium between population and infrastructure in the region.

Economically, the city benefits from a lack of maintenance costs associated with the highway. The alternative usage of public parks private development in the footprint provides an exponential increase in annual property tax revenue. This infill provides additional incentive to increase urban density by attracting former-commuters from the suburbs. The hope behind the vision is that these actions will meet the existing demand in Dallas to live in walkable urban neighborhoods.

  

Photo courtesy of "A New Dallas"

The infrastructure of any city must exist with the intention of promoting the general welfare and public safety of those using it. Therefore, removing any section of urban freeway naturally reduces the costs and injuries associated with it. "A New Dallas" hopes to mirror the personal investments in public safety made by cities like Copenhagen and Chicago by reducing the number of fatalities on its streets.

Photo courtesy of "A New Dallas"

"A New Dallas" has started to make its voice heard throughout its community. The activism and support of the freeway teardown is a step towards completing the daunting task of bringing human-scale infrastructure to a city whose slogan is "Big things happen here"

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