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Sep 19, 2007



"I chose to move close to where I wanted to work. . . . If we don't build more roads to the suburbs, many other people will make that same decision, too; not necessarily because they want to give up their envelope-sized suburban lots for the postage-stamp-sized lots here, but because they'll grow tired of paying a fortune in gas to suck fumes on the road every day."

But there's more than one way to solve that particular problem. The other way is to keep living where you want to live and change your employer so that you work closer to where you live. If you don't build the roads, some percentage of people will solve the dilemma that way, which would of course not promote density at all and would take jobs (which do contribute to the tax base via the value of the office buildings downtown) out of Dallas to the suburbs. How confident is it possible to be that this would be a small percentage?

Btw, my commute is 6-8 minutes. I love density and want to see more of it in Old East Dallas. I'm not saying there's a clear answer. IJS that it's not clear to me that refusing to build more roads to the suburbs would have the desired effect.

Norman Alston

Early in the 20th Century, it was "Build it and they will come" in Dallas. So developers stretched street car lines out into the cotton fields (cheap land) and massive neighborhoods grew up in no time; Junius Heights, Munger, Mt. Auburn, Wheatly Place, Colonial Hills....all over the place. This worked because 1) nearly everything that wasn't a house was in the vicinity of Downtown and 2) streetcars beat the heck out of slogging through crowded, muddy unpaved streets. This system of building transportation to encourage development reached its practical peak with the interstate highway system. Don't look now, but that was pretty much finished about 40 years ago.

What's left is the hunt for cheap land. The convenience of the transportation isn't the draw much anymore. You can get nearly anything in the outlying areas, including a job. So a 58 hour per year commute is pretty much self-inflicted pain for most people. Assuming it's painful. We do love our cars.

My point is that it may not be the roads that need fixing, so to agonize over highways like we are over the Belo Parkway is just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Actually, we're paying them to rearrange those chairs. Great.

Michael Davis-Dallas Progress

For me, I've lived in three major US cities in my lifetime. Other than when I was a broke college student, my choice of residence revolves around side streets. What I mean is having alternative ways to get around other than highways. The cities will always have the suburbs beat in that respect. I always drive across Zang and look at how stacked I-35 north and I-30 is in the morning. I also remember the agonizing commutes down the tollway from far north Dallas when I drove in that direction. Why anyone would want to live that far is beyond me, I just don't want to pay for it while the burbs reap the benefits.

Quentin Mendoza

It seems like you're forgetting one (I believe) major reason people choose to live in the 'burbs instead of the city -- fear. I have friends and co-workers in nearly all the major suburbs, and it seems that all of them are willing to accept/justify/rationalize a long commute in exchange for the homegeneity offered by life outside the city. From racial and economic prejudice to distaste for so-called urban decay, they'd prefer to simply compain about their daily 2-hour car ride and stick to the predictable motonoty of their strip malls and mcmansions.


You guys nailed it. This toll road is not for the taxpayers of Dallas. It's for people who take jobs in Dallas but pay taxes elsewhere. Merry Christmas, Frisco!

Norman Alston

I'm afraid that Quentin has a valid, painful point. I am aware of folks who reside on the county fringes who value the lack of, shall we say, diversity. I think this tendency often hides behind a rationalization of looking for good schools, which is almost a code phrase for the same thing.


Local and regional plans work in concert to address issues of mobility, air quality, and quality of life. There is no single answer whether it is building a toll road, adding mass transit, creating HOV lanes, or encouraging sustainable development. Readers may visit the North Central Texas Council of Government (www.nctcog.org) website to find a copy of the regional mobility plan. The plan outlines a holistic approach to address our challenges. One staggering statistic is that even with all of this in place estimates are that by 2030 approximately 65% of the population of the region will live outside the area of the region’s 3 mass transit agencies (Dallas, Ft. Worth, and fledgling Denton).

Locally and regionally governments are planning for and incentivizing sustainable development. Dallas’ comprehensive plan, for example, took into account reducing trip time and encouraging development in neighborhoods around transit stations, along the Trinity River, in downtown and the southern sector.


VFL, the numbers for the year 2030 are mere estimates. It is our actions until then that determine their validity. If we want to ensure that most DFW residents live outside of a mass transit area, then the proper thing to do is to lay down as much concrete for them as possible between now and then. The alternative is to invest in solutions that give commuters options like more rail and bus routes. A toll road and a freeway is not a real option.


Quentin and Norman make some good points about suburbanites. The popularity of East and North Dallas might be pricing out some suburbanites who consider moving to the city.

I think the prettiest spots for redevelopment are surrounding Townview, Roosevelt and Kimball High Schools. The trees are enormous and there are hills too. I would love to see families with school age children move back there instead of to Cedar Hill and Frisco.

Then would we need the Trinity Tollroad?


I would urge Nathan to become more familiar with the numbers, the financial constraints, and the political realities. The region will be investing more than $11 billion for mass transit in the next 25 years. That includes another 400 miles of transit alternatives. If you have ever been involved in an MIS for a transit line you understand what is required to make the numbers work to build more transit and secure the desparately needed (and required) FTA matching $$$.

We couldn't even make the numbers work for a station into Love Field in one of Dallas' most dense communities. We were unable to prove enough ridership to securing the required matching FTA funding.

It is true that the growth numbers are estimates, however, Dallas surpassed its COG growth projections for the decade (2000-2010) by 2005.

A number of regional cities who are not in a transit system are already at the sales tax cap and need the cap lifted before they can even have dedicated revenue to participate in a system with the local match. Hopefully, that legislative change will happen in the next legislative session.

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