Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Build the Wall. Not that Wall.

From 2011 03 16 Xian

Let's build a wall. Not at the Mexican border. Around Dallas. At Loop 12. Or maybe at IH635. I dunno. Ask Jim Schutze.

First, it was Patrick Kennedy lobbying to tear out the downtown freeways in Dallas. He still tolerates freeways between cities and mass transit solutions like DART inside cities. Just not freeways inside cities. A daring suggestion, but not without precedent.

After the jump, The Dallas Observer's Jim Schutze raises the bet.

Jim Schutze, in his guise as the opposite-Steve Blow (predictably cranky where Blow is predictably folksy), ranted about the blood-sucking suburbs and called for Dallas to tear up the DART tracks, too. He called for Dallasites to retreat, kind of like Morlocks, I suppose, into train tunnels where heavy rail subway trains can shuttle Dallasites back and forth between, I dunno, maybe the West End and Deep Ellum.

Whereas Schutze looked to the Morlocks of the future for his inspiration for Dallas, Kennedy looks longingly to the past, specifically to Vienna's Ringstrasse, built in the 19th century on the site of the ancient city walls that were torn down to accommodate that era's traffic demands. It's ironic that Kennedy extols the virtues of a city that demolished its history to accommodate traffic. But if we're going to look to the past for inspiration, why stop with the 19th century? I love Vienna's Ringstrasse in a way that I'll never love Dallas's Mixmaster, but I would love Vienna's 13th century city walls even more than the Ringstrasse.

I suspect Schutze would, too. Why not raise Kennedy's bet still more, going all in, by calling for the creation of a city wall to keep out the northern hordes from Richardson and Plano? Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria ordered Vienna's wall to come down and the construction of the Ringstrasse in its place by issuing his famous decree "It is My will." Schutze has just as much will. Why not order the Dallas wall to go up?

No, scratch that. There's a better idea. Not a wall. A moat. And Dallas can wait for Schutze's predicted Trinity River levee failure to occur, creating a moat for free. The savings can be used to pay for signature drawbridges over the moat. They'll always be up, of course, simplifying design and saving even more money.

As long as we are blowing up ring roads and rebuilding ancient city walls, I nominate Beijing's 2nd Ring Road for restoration to ancient city wall. It's time to stop the hordes from Dallas suburbs invading Beijing. That never happened when the city walls were still up. Contrast with Xi'an (see photo above), a city that kept its ancient walls. How awesome would that look, say, where Loop 12 is today?