Thursday, May 8, 2014

I-345 vs US-75: Same Standard

Previously: "I-345 vs US-75: Daytime Employment."

Rodger Jones of The Dallas Morning News asks whether the arguments to tear out I-345 in downtown Dallas should apply as well to US-75. It's Jones' way of using Richardson's supposed success story along US-75 as an argument for preserving I-345 in Dallas.

After the jump, I look at whether there's merit to Jones' suggestion that Dallasites are asking for favored treatment they would never grant to Richardson residents.

Rodger Jones asks:
That touches on one beef I hear from opponents of the proposed Trinity toll road and advocates of tearing out I-345: that downtown should not have to accommodate the pass-through needs of a commuting workforce that doesn’t benefit downtown?

I ask, should that same standard apply to, say, US 75 in Richardson?
The simple answer is, yes, the same standard should apply to US-75 in Richardson. The challenge is how to apply that standard.

I live in Richardson and I learned long ago that the most reliable way from Richardson to points south of Dallas is not through downtown Dallas via US-75, but around Dallas via either the Bush Turnpike or I-635 or Loop 12. Tearing down I-345 would have little impact on the long-haul through traffic, whether I'm heading to Houston or Austin. For long-haul through traffic, there's simply no need to go anywhere near downtown Dallas, either on I-345 or on surface streets.

On the other hand, if you are making the long haul from McKinney to Dallas (30 miles), there's no good alternative to going right through Richardson, on US-75 (because it's there) or on surface streets (if it's removed). If there were a freeway, say, down Preston Road from the Bush Turnpike to I-635, commuters could divert around Richardson. If so, I'd be in favor of tearing out US-75 through Richardson and replacing it with a grand boulevard. But there is no freeway down Preston Road, because Dallasites (wisely) wouldn't stand for it. So Richardson residents are stuck with US-75, not because of a double standard, but because there is no practical alternative.

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