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Dallas Mayor Reconsiders Support for Downtown Highway Proposal

10:47 AM EDT on May 24, 2012

It's been interesting to watch Dallas wrestle with whether it wants or needs another freeway (its seventh) into downtown.

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You can see the old sensibilities -- "we need to widen roads to reduce traffic" -- battling with newer, more enlightened solutions, like transit investment and land use planning. Whether or not they build this ridiculous freeway -- and we sincerely hope they don't -- it's a good discussion for Dallas to have.

This story has taken another interesting turn, as Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings -- who recently said he supported the Trinity freeway project -- now wants to get more information from TxDOT before making a final decision. Michael Lindenberger at Network blog Dallas Morning News' Transportation Blog has this report:

Council members Angela Hunt, Sandy Greyson and Scott Griggs have shown him data and other information from state officials they believe prove that the toll road is both more expensive and less effective than improving Interstates 30 and 35, Rawlings said.

The new information contrasts with the answers he got when he was forming his opinion of the Trinity toll road, Rawlings said. As a result he has given TxDOT 30 days to present a simple matrix with the two approaches’ costs and benefits side-by-side.

“When I met with advisers and experts about Project Pegasus and the toll road, I was told the cost for Pegasus was not only prohibitive but that the funding wasn’t there. The questions raised in the last few days are good questions. I’ve re-assessed the numbers and am trying to get my questions answered,” he said.

If the answers favor a change in support from the city, Rawlings said he has no problem changing his mind over the Trinity. “Until the check is written, our obligation is to keep asking if we are doing the right thing.”

The question now is, are sensibilities evolving as quickly at TxDOT as they are in the Dallas City Council? Last we checked, they were not.

Elsewhere on the Network today: City Parks Blog ranks the American cities with the best access to park amenities. Bike Delaware runs a piece from DelDOT Secretary Shailen Bhatt about why he bikes. And the Urbanophile remarks on the rise of downtown Cincinnati.

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