Monday, June 10, 2013

North Central Expressway: Feed Me

Feed me, Seymour
Feed me all night long.
That's right, boy!
You can do it!
Feed me, Seymour
Feed me all night long.
Ha ha ha ha ha!
Cause if you feed me, Seymour
I can grow up big and strong.
Richardson has its own giant man-eating plant that demands to be fed so it can grow ever bigger: North Central Expressway. Like any good movie monster, it hides in wait before eventually attacking despite all the good intentions of our protagonists.

Recently, in a blog post titled, "Punching Through Central at Palisades," I was encouraged in my quest to tame North Central Expressway for the benefit of neighborhoods on both sides. The vision for development of the Palisades business park was a sight for sore eyes. Besides mixed-use architecture, the developer envisions a pedestrian bridge across North Central Expressway to the Galatyn DART station.

I was further encouraged by talk from Richardson City Council members. They are saying that "East/west, intra-city permeability through the US 75 Corridor must be meaningfully improved by providing for safer, more attractive and comfortable pedestrian and bicycle mobility." And they plan on telling TxDOT that very thing, in no uncertain terms, right?
The City Council on Monday [April 1, 2013] discussed updates to a vision statement draft for the US-75 corridor to present to the Texas Department of Transportation as it conducts a study on the corridor from I-635 to SH 121. The study is expected to be complete in September 2015, with several major milestones in 2014.
TxDOT gets it, right? After the jump, a look to our north and what TxDOT is up to there.

TxDOT knows what ails McKinney, Allen, and Plano. It's traffic congestion. And TxDOT knows what the solution is: widen Central. In short, just a few short miles to our north, TxDOT is feeding the monster.
Texas Department of Transportation officials laid out the details of a long-awaited project to widen U.S. 75, which is used by about 230,000 vehicles per day, during a public meeting held Tuesday [March 19, 2013] at the Allen Senior Recreation Center. The $70 million project will add an additional lane to the highway in each direction along a 6.5-mile stretch between Spring Creek Parkway in Plano and State Highway 121 in Allen.
What about the complaint that widening Central just brings more traffic, more pollution, more noise? Well, TxDOT has a solution for that, too: a wall.
In response to concerns raised at earlier public hearings, a traffic noise study was done to measure the effect of the expanded highway on nearby neighborhoods. Steve Shedd of the Jacobs Engineering Group said the study determined traffic noise abatement walls were both "feasible and reasonable" between McDermott Drive and Exchange Parkway. He added that those walls have been added to the project schematic.
That's right. Richardson is complaining to TxDOT that Central Expressway is a figurative wall that is dividing our city. Meanwhile, TxDOT is telling Plano and Allen that the solution to all that is bad about Central Expressway is ... a real, literal wall between us and the monster. "Feed me."

The Texas Department of Transportation will conduct a Public Meeting on Thursday, June 20, 2013, for the corridor study and preliminary engineering for US 75 (from I-635 to SH 121) in Dallas and Collin counties, Texas. The Public Meeting will be held in the Grand Hall at the Richardson Civic Center from 5:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. The purpose of the Public Meeting is to present and solicit public input on conceptual alternatives for proposed improvements to US 75 Corridor. The Public Meeting will be conducted in an informal "open house" format. Come see how TxDOT plans to feed the monster.


Mark Steger said...

Rodger Jones, editorial writer for The Dallas Morning News and Richardson resident, says in the Opinion Blog that he's sympathetic to my quixotic pursuit to tame the beast.

Mark Steger said...

Patrick Kennedy, the CarFreeInBigD guy who wants to tear out IH-345 in downtown Dallas, lashes out at Rodger Jones but leaves me alone ... I think -- he rambles a lot so I'm not sure. Still, worth a read.

RichardsonHeights said...

I sure wish they'd get rid of those HOV lanes. I'm an average liberal / environmentalist and even I think they're stupid. The enter and exit areas cause more traffic, which in turn causes more pollution and wasted fuel. Just give us back the damned lanes.