When Katherine Homan first heard about plans to widen and add southern Dallas’ first toll lanes to Interstate 35E, she figured little could be done to stop the expansion project.
But she still wanted to do something to minimize the impact of widening of a highway whose construction tore apart two Oak Cliff neighborhoods, abetted white flight to the suburbs and kicked off decades of decline.
“Let’s be pragmatic about this,” she told herself after a 2015 meeting on the project. “How can we make this happen in a way that won’t hurt us anymore?”
A little more than a year later, the project no longer includes toll lanes and instead calls for southern Dallas’ first deck park over highway. Those changes are largely due to Homan and her Oak Cliff neighbor Paul Carden, who spearheaded a task force formed to suggest changes after vocal backlash from residents.
But the changes are also among a series of recent transportation developments that many say signals that a sea change is coming in how American streets and highways are built. These projects, speeches and studies are also portrayed as signs that the new urbanism movement’s key ideas — highways don’t solve congestion, public dollars can’t financially sustain suburbanization, sprawl hinders upward social mobility — are finally going mainstream.
WASHINGTON – U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx today announced President Obama’s $98.1 billion Fiscal Year 2017 Budget for the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). The Budget reflects Secretary Foxx’s ambitious 30-year vision for the Department to take the United States “Beyond Traffic”, towards a transportation network that matches the changing geography of where people live and work; fosters innovation and adapts to evolving technology; and provides cleaner options and access to opportunity for people and communities across America.
Tomorrow, Secretary Foxx and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Acting Administrator Therese McMillian will host a press call to highlight key priorities in the President’s budget, including the FTA’s Capital Investment Grant (CIG) Program, competitively funded projects that would create thousands of construction and operations-related jobs and help communities expand transportation choices that offer new ladders of opportunity for residents.
Beyond Traffic demonstrated that the population of the United States is expected to grow by 70 million over the next three decades, creating pressures that cut across modes and infrastructure – roads, rails, airspace, ports, and pipelines.
“Meeting future challenges will require a long-term vision for the transportation sector that includes more and cleaner options, and expands those options to communities across the country,” stated Secretary Foxx. “This budget brings us closer to that vision.”
The Budget addresses the Department’s top priority, safety, with high impact investments in the safe integration of emerging technologies, such as autonomous vehicles and unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), which have the potential to transform transportation systems, save lives and reduce carbon emissions. Importantly, this Budget charts a path towards fundamental changes in the way the government balances and integrates surface transportation options.
This Budget fully supports the authorized funding levels in the recent surface transportation authorization, the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act , but also moves to a regionally-focused approach to transportation funding that reflects the changing shape of the Nation’s communities, and prioritizes spending on projects that will have the most benefits.
The debate over a high-speed rail project that would connect Dallas and Houston is picking up steam.
Just this week, the group Texans Against High Speed Rail teamed up with a Dallas law firm to fight the project.
“The majority of the people that we talk to, they reach out to us, they have no desire to have this run through their property,” said Kyle Workman, who heads up the opposition group.
Workman owns property in Jewett, one of the many cities located near or along the proposed 240-mile rail line. His group is planning to fight the project in court, arguing land rights and environmental issues.
“The concerns are valid and they need to be vetted,” said Workman. “Certainly, lawsuits are part of that strategy.”
Despite the push back, the developer behind the project has no intention of slowing down work.Read Full article here
Just in case his constituents were not already aware of his stance on the Houston-to-Dallas bullet train project, U.S. Congressman Kevin Brady made it clear that he’s against it. The longtime congressman sent a letter to state legislators urging them to get State Attorney Gen. Ken Paxton to decide whether Texas Central Partners, the company that plans to build a Houston-to-Dallas high-speed rail line, has the right to use eminent domain to obtain land for the project.Original article here
It is time Texas stopped funding transportation for the huge share of residents who commute alone in their cars each day, Mayor Sylvester Turner told state officials, arguing that widening highways leads only to more gridlock.
The Legislature’s effort to stop diverting state highway dollars to non-road projects has resulted in $1.3 billion in new funds for road work statewide, and officials say they’ve identified where to spend nearly $164 million of that money in the Fort Worth area.
Among the areas where highway improvements will be sped up are: the Texas 121/360 interchange in southern Grapevine; the Texas 121/Loop 820 interchange north of Interstate 30 where Fort Worth, Hurst and Richland Hills converge; and Texas 199 in the Azle area.
Read more here: http://www.star-telegram.com/news/traffic/your-commute/article56930853.html#storylink=cpy
MIT student engineers won a competition to transform SpaceX and Tesla Motors co-founder Elon Musk’s idea into a design for a Hyperloop to move pods of people at high speed.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, was named the winner Saturday after a competition among more than 1,000 college students at Texas A&M University in College Station.
The Hyperloop is a high-speed ground transport concept proposed by Musk to transport “pods” of 20 to 30 people through a 12-foot diameter tube at speeds of roughly 700 mph.
More than 100 university teams presented design concepts to a panel of judges in an event that began Friday.
Delft University of Technology from The Netherlands finished second, the University of Wisconsin third, Virginia Tech fourth and the University of California, Irvine, fifth.
The top teams will build their pods and test them at the world’s first Hyperloop Test Track, being built adjacent to SpaceX’s Hawthorne, California, headquarters.
Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/news/business/article57577748.html#storylink=cpy
The Dallas/Fort Worth Airport elected Dallas attorney Sam Coats as its new chairman of the board on Thursday.
Coats, who has served on the board since 2012, replaces Fort Worth hospital executive Lillie Biggins whose two-year term ended this month. Biggins will continue as a representative on the board.
Sam Coats, a former airline executive, was named chairman of Dallas/Fort Worth Airport’s board on Thursday. Courtesy of Dallas/Fort Worth Airport
“This is the best unpaid job I’ve ever had,” Coats said as he took over the chairman position. Coats was the president of Muse Air before it was acquired by Southwest Airlines in 1985 and also held various management positions at Continental Airlines, Southwest and Braniff Airways.
The board also approved a ten-year $35 million sponsorship deal with Coca-Cola. With the new contract, the airport will switch from Pepsi to Coke products in March. As part of the contract, Coke will build amenity/entertainment zones in the terminals that could include lounges or play areas for kids.
When Carol Sue Johnson, 73, wheels her silver Mazda S.U.V. out of her driveway in suburban Minneapolis, she doesn’t know how much money she will make driving for the ride-hailing service Uber, but she’s sure she will have an adventure.
Her passengers run the gamut, she said, from three visiting Chinese business executives who were surprised to see a female driver, to teenagers needing a ride to hockey practices or games.
When one group of teenagers “started to get too rowdy,” said Ms. Johnson, who goes by Sue, “one of them told the others to stop because ‘Grandma’s in the car.’”
Motorists annoyed by what they say is an unnecessarily low 50-mph speed limit on Chisholm Trail Parkway will likely have to tap the brakes for at least four or five more months.
North Texas Tollway Authority officials said the earliest they can raise the speed limit is likely to be May or June — and that would only occur if a formal speed study justifies the change and Fort Worth residents who live near the 28-mile toll road agree to it.
“There will be a thorough public process, and safety goes into it as well,” said Elizabeth Mow, the tollway authority’s assistant executive director of infrastructure.
Even so, the call to raise the speed limit is growing louder.
The Fort Worth City Council earlier this month voted to change its agreement with the tollway authority to allow for higher speeds. That’s the first step in a process that officials say could take four to five months.