Dallas Morning News 2/23/16 1:53 pm By Brandon Formby
Over at StreetSmart, urban planner/ blogger/ D-Link enthusiast/ perpetual walker Patrick Kennedy sums up a joint meeting of the Urban Land Institute of North Texas and the American Society of Highway Engineers themed “Development Impacts on Transportation.”
Frisco Mayor Maher Maso opened things up and — not surprisingly — mentioned his city’s meteoric growth. Which only promises to continue. And will come with traffic implications as more people and companies locate to Frisco and northwest Plano. Reports Kennedy:
“His key point was that no matter how much pavement we put down or lane miles we build, we will never be able to accommodate all of the growth that North Texas is expected to get, and that solving it must be a multi-faceted approach that includes transit and land use.”
Kennedy’s made plenty of rounds on the speaking circuit himself. He’s one of the originators of the idea to tear down Interstate 345 (where Central Expressway and Interstate 45 meet on the east side of downtown Dallas) and replace it with a street-level boulevard.
During the meeting, attendants were encouraged to text questions to organizers. Kennedy swears he and Coalition for a New Dallas executive director Matt Tranchin refrained from asking anything about I-345. But according to his take on the questions that were asked, it seems the tear-down idea — and some other new urbanism ideas— are starting to sink in throughout North Texas.
“Matt and I came in peace… We asked no questions about 345… The questions texted to the screens were so heavily skewed to 345 and how we can shift funds to transit and other more active modes of transportation, that several of the organizers asked us afterwards if we asked all of them (like hundreds). We didn’t. Instead, a crowd of real estate professionals and transportation engineers did.”
Finally, Kennedy had a news nugget from the meeting about the CityMAP plan for aging downtown highways, spearheaded by Texas transportation commissioner Victor Vandergriff. (I, like many, have been waiting every day for the CityMAP report to drop). Says Kennedy: