Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Imagine There's No Central

I have a recurring fantasy in which Richardson rips up Central Expressway and replaces it with a pedestrian-friendly, tree-lined boulevard. It's my fantasy, right? Dream big. Hey, the Richardson City Council only dreams of getting access points to the HOV lanes on Central Expressway through Richardson. Talk about having small dreams.

After the jump, imagine there's no Central.

So why can't I imagine all that could be done with that prime real estate instead of using it to split Richardson in half for the convenience of commuters from McKinney to reach downtown Dallas? Let the commuters take the Dallas North Tollway or DART. Let Richardson re-imagine its road in a form that better benefits Richardson. Those McKinney residents would still be welcomed in Richardson, as they get out of their cars and stroll our boulevard and shop in our stores and dine at our sidewalk restaurants. If they just want to use Richardson as a shortcut to Dallas, not so much.

It turns out I'm not the only one with similar dreams. Patrick Kennedy has been preaching this sermon for years now. He wants to tear out the ring of freeways that strangles Dallas's central business district. And Wick Allison, publisher of D Magazine, is right there in the front pew. He shouts Amen to calls to rip up I-30 through East Dallas. He argues this "would unleash millions of dollars in development (and new taxes)."

So I dream.
You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one
Source: Imagine by John Lennon.
It's a fantasy, right, that a city would ever tear up a freeway. Maybe it isn't.


Nathan Morgan said...

If the Richardson leaders had real vision, they would be pushing to change the community funded Lollipop Parkway into a driver friendly transportation route.

Accidents on the stretch of Central Expressway where the lane separators were installed have multiplied considerably.

If those annoying (and hazardous) popsicle sticks were removed there would be no begging for HOV lane access. And, enforcement would be considerably easier.

Is the excuse for these lanes not to improve traffic flow and thereby reduce air pollution? Theory is that a vehicle moving swiftly and smoothly down the road deposits less pollution than one stuck in traffic.

The solution is simple. Remove the sticks, enable easy access, patrol the lanes from end to end, and ticket anyone who violates the rules. Traffic moves smother and faster and pollution is reduced. Problem solved. Major wow factor.

Of course, that's not what those seeking to make toll lanes out of the separation had in mind. They are planning to restrict access to the new LBJ toll lanes.

glbeach said...

As long as we are revealing transportation fantasies, my fantasy has always been that the multiple political subdivisions involved - from city councils to congressional representatives would all work together and have elevated D.A.R.T. trains running down the center median of 75, 635, North Dallas Tollway, and other major thoroughfares - similar to Chicago. Wouldn't it be grand to be able to catch a train, do business downtown, then train out to the airport all in less time than it takes to drive? But as I say, it's just a fantasy . . .