Two Infrastructuralists Look at What Dallas Is (And Isn't) Doing. And Why.

Below, a Friend of Unfair Park takes note of the cynicism aimed at the under-construction Woodall Rodgers Deck Park and wonders, "I wonder how this would have been received if the Trinity debacle had never occurred?" At the same time, urban planner Patrick "Car-Free" Kennedy has penned a sprawling, epic post that, more or less, addresses that very subject and about a dozen others, among them:

Because the rabble is starting to wise up to the way they are treated as a third world country in need of vast infrastructural projects (many of which are unnecessary and bankrupt the city of the long-term), they become further cloaked under a new "guise," public parks and green space. Who could say no to parks, right?
I cannot and will not attempt to summarize; needless to say, it's provocative and worth a read. Or three.

At the same time, Patrick also directs our attention to a new item from Yonah Freemark, the very same infrastructuralist who, last summer, made the case that high-speed rail between Dallas and Houston would be economically viable despite what the naysayers say.

In advance of next week's board meeting, Freemark now takes a look at how Dallas Area Rapid Transit's drop in sales tax receipts could derail plans for a second downtown light-rail line or the Orange Line connection to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. He writes that for now ...

...the biggest question is whether to prioritize the Orange Line extension or the new downtown line, called D2. DART CEO Gary Thomas told Irving leaders that the Orange Line project would come first. Irving has fostered more than $4 billion in development around planned stations partially by promoting the close airport connection. Meanwhile, the downtown line is several years behind the Orange Line in planning, putting it at an inherent disadvantage.

But it's hard to know how the DART system will work when trains from the fully activated Orange and Green lines join the Blue and Red lines on downtown's Pacific Avenue and Bryan Street, the core segment of the network. When Portland opened its new Green Line last fall, it made sure to construct a new downtown alignment to avoid traffic tie-ups on the existing light rail routes. Can Dallas move ahead with the Orange Line, knowing full-well that its fate is to have serious train congestion in the center city without building the D2 link?

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky