The City's Transpo To-Do List, 2011-'12 Edition

Speaking of those new city council committees ...

This afternoon the Transportation and Environment Committee will meet for the first time since returning from summer break, and on its agenda you'll find Transportation and Environment Committee Proposed FY 2011-12 Goals and Objectives. And high on the list of to-do's is something about which we've written plenty in recent years: efforts to finish a Complete Streets manual and turn the much-ballyhooed concept into a reality. But, you'll note, there's much left to do -- including "identify[ing] sustainable funding strategies for the increased capital and long-term operation and maintenance costs for complete streets."

Which brings us to Goal No. 2: getting ready for the November 2012 bond election, which will "include funding for complete streets implementation," in addition to updating the city's needs inventory to include a list of streets in need of bond-funding. All together now: Lemmon Avenue.

Now, then, to Goal No. 3, which involves getting certain transpo projects off and running. Some the city can't do much about, like, say, the LBJ managed-toll makeover. But then there are some golden oldies that resurface, as it were, such as:

  • S.M. Wright: Support efforts to complete design plans to downsize S.M. Wright by 2014; Complete plans and initiate construction of Trinity Parkway Phase I (IH-45 connector) by year-end 2012
  • IH-35E/IH-30 Horseshoe: Support efforts to complete 30% preliminary engineering and environmental assessment and procure a design build team by year-end 2012
  • Love Field Transit Connector: Study feasibility of a Love Field transit connector to the Inwood DART Station and other nearby destinations

Calls are out to TxDOT and NTTA officials concerning the first two items, which we touched on in March; the latter, I thought, was off the table altogether, considering the city moved $22 million for the so-called People Mover, guesstimated to cost upwards of $300 million, to the Oak Cliff-to-downtown streetcar line. Speaking of the Trinity Parkway: I see, per its August update, the NTTA's scheduled a public hearing in "late 2011." Jim has cleared his schedule accordingly.

Update at 9:44 a.m.: I had a brief chat with TxDOT's Cynthia Northrop White moments ago, and she says absolutely TxDOT and the city are on the same page regarding this list. What else she had to say follows.

White says the first three projects listed above "have been a long time coming" --specifically, the so-called "horseshoe pullout project," as she calls it, involving 35 and 30 that was initially part of Project Pegasus.

"We have funding for that, coming from all sources," she says, "primarily Prop. 12, which came out of the legislature and the commission allocating those funds." There is no money for the straightening out Dead Man's Curve, however. But that doesn't mean TxDOT can afford to slow up on S.M. Wright's makeover.

"The horseshoe pullout, we started talking about pulling that out a year and a half ago, and we push ahead with all the advance planning we can -- design, meetings, working with our partners -- so that when and if the dollars arise, we're able to move forward as much as possible," she says. "There may be other funds that come on the horizon in a year or two we're not aware of now. So we'll move ahead with the design as much as possible.

"S.M. Wright, specifically, this takes coordination with our partners, with the feds. It was all one project, so we had to separate it environmentally so we could move forward with one project. That's what we did with the connector, the interchange, with 45."

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