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Southwest/Chisholm Trail Parkway


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Poll: Is the Southwest/Chisholm Trail Parkway really needed? (88 member(s) have cast votes)

Is the Southwest Parkway really needed?

  1. Yes, It's pure pork, but let's build it anyway. (3 votes [3.41%])

    Percentage of vote: 3.41%

  2. Yes, It's a viable, needed roadway. (39 votes [44.32%])

    Percentage of vote: 44.32%

  3. No, It's donation to the land developers in SW Tarrant. (14 votes [15.91%])

    Percentage of vote: 15.91%

  4. No, We should be spending money on other projects/transit. (28 votes [31.82%])

    Percentage of vote: 31.82%

  5. Undecided. (4 votes [4.55%])

    Percentage of vote: 4.55%

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#1 AndyN

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Posted 10 August 2004 - 01:56 PM

OK, tell us what you really think! And don't hold back.

I'm against it in its present format. I would like to see it built, but in smaller stages
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#2 mosteijn

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Posted 10 August 2004 - 02:41 PM

Yeah, this poll isn't one sided. :rolleyes: I refrained from voting because none of those options matches what I think. I think it will be a good thing for SW Fort Worth's horrible arterial congestion during rush hour, and will probably be our best designed freeway. I don't think it's necessarily vital for the entire city (no freeway really is) and you know it's possible to spend money on both the Parkway AND mass transit. I don't get what you mean by "no, it's just land donation" nor do I understand "pork barrell spending". I can guarantee I'm not undecided.

Let me ask this: how many of you all live OUTSIDE loop 820 in Southwest Fort Worth? I'm beginning to think I'm the only one on this board who does.

#3 360texas

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Posted 10 August 2004 - 03:13 PM

I do... sort of SSW part of town outside of 820 and I take 8th street/ Summit to get into town. Its about 10 minutes slower but less traffic. This new tollway would not help, but guess Im paying for it one way or the other.

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#4 mosteijn

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Posted 10 August 2004 - 03:29 PM

Do you live near enough to Granbury to notice the steadily increasing congestion, especially at the intersection at I20? Not to mention at the peak of the afternoon rush hour it takes 4 light cycles to get through the intersection of Hulen and Granbury (on southbound Granbury).

Also, has anyone taken into consideration the traffic that will be diverted from 35W to the new 121?

#5 360texas

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Posted 10 August 2004 - 03:45 PM

Actually I drive East over to McCart to head North to 8th.. so I don't go anywhere near Granbury or Hulen.

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#6 mosteijn

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Posted 10 August 2004 - 03:51 PM

Ok then, I'm still looking for someone who lives in Southwest FW that can confirm what I'm talking about. Otherwise no one will beleive me in saying congestion in SW Fort Worth is absolutely horrible, especially during rush hour.

#7 mosteijn

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Posted 10 August 2004 - 04:54 PM

Hrm, the Star-Telegram now appears to have sent out a SW Fort Worth section, and the front page article was about the Southwest Parkway. In addition to loads of info we already knew, the article had 2 nice renderings (these are pictures since I don't have a scanner):

Posted Image

Posted Image

It now seems they will build the first phase of 121 all the way to FM 1187, only TXDOT is covering the portion from Dirks/Altamesa to 1187, and the article wasn't specific about whether it would be a tollway or not. The schedule seems to be to begin construction in 2007 and finish in 2009.

#8 ghughes

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Posted 10 August 2004 - 08:58 PM

There have been two traffic studies done relative to the SW Pkwy: one commissioned by the Tollway Authy done by Wilbur Smith and Assoc and one (less formal but perhaps more technical) done by NCTCOG.

They both found that traffic on Hulen and Bryant Irvin would be affected approximately 5-10% by the building of the tollway. Since the purpose of neither study was to actually understand that sort of dynamic there were no explanations offered. My own hypothesis is that the vast majority of the traffic is local, i.e. going shopping. There is some going out past Cityview and into north Crowley, but there is certainly none going to Cleburne by those routes.

And while I can sympathize with sitting through several cycles of lights at selected times of the day, I would also point out that nowhere along those routes does that happen except at I-20. The roads are capable of handling the traffic along their lengths except at those local settings. My conclusion is that the problem is one of intersection design and perhaps traffic light timing. What TxDOT did at Bryant Irvin is design and build an interchange more suited to the back-country than to an urban setting. Their ineptitude can be mitigated by a redesign and rebuild of the offending interchange. It does not require $240 million tax dollars.

In case you wonder about the players... I happened to be included in a rather semi-private meeting some years back where the Tollway Authority first revealed the meager amount it would contribute to the project (due to very limited expectations of toll revenue). At the start of the meeting, we introduced ourselves. Athough we were at the Ft. Worth Chamber of Commerce, 2/3 of the 15-20 people were from Johnson County.

This is about development on the backs of the taxpayers. SW Fort Worth residents are being lied to in order to gain their support. Sorry... I've been in this thing long enough to have a very clear picture, and it is disgusting.

#9 salvag

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Posted 10 August 2004 - 10:09 PM

Jonny, I live right off the Crosslands exit. The house I live in is actually considered to be a part of Benbrook. But anyway, to answer your question, I have noticed for years the horrible traffic and congestion on Bryant Irvin and Hulen. It is getting worse as more and more retail is being built. I support the tollway in hopes that it will relieve some of this horrible congestion.

#10 mosteijn

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Posted 10 August 2004 - 11:03 PM

They both found that traffic on Hulen and Bryant Irvin would be affected approximately 5-10% by the building of the tollway. Since the purpose of neither study was to actually understand that sort of dynamic there were no explanations offered. My own hypothesis is that the vast majority of the traffic is local, i.e. going shopping. There is some going out past Cityview and into north Crowley, but there is certainly none going to Cleburne by those routes.

And while I can sympathize with sitting through several cycles of lights at selected times of the day, I would also point out that nowhere along those routes does that happen except at I-20. The roads are capable of handling the traffic along their lengths except at those local settings. My conclusion is that the problem is one of intersection design and perhaps traffic light timing. What TxDOT did at Bryant Irvin is design and build an interchange more suited to the back-country than to an urban setting. Their ineptitude can be mitigated by a redesign and rebuild of the offending interchange. It does not require $240 million tax dollars.

Actually, a very large number of commuters come from the "North Crowley" area (my family included). Sure, local shopping might make up the majority of commuters OVERALL, but during rush hour, it's virtually all commuters, and the backups are the same, if not worse, than during heavy shopping times. I would like to see those congestion decrese statistics WITH the tollway just for rush hour. That is the biggest gain from highway constructing, lower rush hour commute times.

Oh, and it's obvious you don't commute on Granbury, Hulen, or B.I, because I know for a fact that at certain lights (including all three intersections at I20) people are forced to wait through 4 cycles or more during rush hour, and that's not due to poor intersection design, it's just the sheer volume of commuters.

#11 ghughes

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Posted 11 August 2004 - 04:30 AM

I presume from North Crowley one uses Granbury Road to go towards town. That means, if you want to use the parkway, a trip across Dirks Road to connect. Of course, there's no traffic on Dirks Road... but wait 'till there's an interchange loaded with commercial development. Then you'll see traffic galore.

Getting to the parkway from the east will make alternate routes look better. That's why the tollway authority showed such meager toll revenues and therefore the lowest contribution percentage of any project they've ever done. The chances of Fort Worth building adequate access to the tollway is nil. We can't even get the funds together to buy the land.

Look, there are hundreds, maybe a couple thousand people that will benefit from the tollway in terms of transportation. And there is a much smaller number that will benefit from developing their land. But ultimately the taxpayers will subsidize those two small groups to the tune of $1/4 billion. That's with a "B"

Meanwhile, in north and east Tarrant (where I also don't live) average freeway speeds are dropping. So unless you never go beyond downtown Fort Worth, the SW Pkwy will just get you more quickly to stop and go traffic.

That's the result of pretend planning. First a few powerful folks decide what they want to happen, then pliable bureaucrats bury adverse data and trumpet whatever will reinforce what the "big boys" want. I would like to think that the engineers at NCTCOG could be objective about things like this, but they are paid to support the policies set by the RTC. They have families to feed and it's not worth risking a job to point out that what the political class wants is foolish.

So some of us dig into reams of data, read a lot of projections, and work to understand how network modelling is accomplished. It takes a lot of time and a substantial amount of educational foundation. And there is no pay. And it's done after work. Then we go public and expose the emperor's lack of clothing. Let me tell you, it really gets some folks mad. They get mad because the facts do not support their position and that's frustrating to them. But the alternative is for the public to be completely at the mercy of disinformation spread by those promoters who hire PR folks (full time) to sell whatever they have in mind.

Even if the parkway gets built, all the extra design and beautification came about as an effort at compromise. It allowed the promoters to split off some of the opposition and get them working to make the road more attractive. Originally, you see, it was to be called a parkway but be two slabs of bare concrete. As the result of the heck a bunch of us raised the design teams were put together and those pretty pictures in the paper are the result. How the enhancements will be funded remains to be seen.

#12 mosteijn

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Posted 11 August 2004 - 10:19 AM

I presume from North Crowley one uses Granbury Road to go towards town. That means, if you want to use the parkway, a trip across Dirks Road to connect. Of course, there's no traffic on Dirks Road... but wait 'till there's an interchange loaded with commercial development. Then you'll see traffic galore.


Actually, now the plan is to extend the first phase to 1187, so most likely, all of the major east-west arterials will be extended to the parkway. At least Sycamore and Risinger would be, because there's already a lot of development very close to the future path of the parkway.

Ok, Fort Worth is going to sprawl southwestardly no matter what. I would prefer to nip the traffic issue in the bud, since the resulting traffic on the 3 main arterials would be UNIMAGINABLE without the tollway. I think it's an underestimate to say only thousands of cars will use it. I think the number will be more along the lines of 50,000-100,000, because in 1999, the traffic counts would indicate about 110,000 people used the big 3 on any given day, and since then dozens of subdivisions have been built. I wouldn't be surprised if that number has doubled by now. I know my family and countless others would use it to avoid traffic from shopping on Hulen and B.I. and the incredibly long light waits on Granbury.

You know, it's going to be built whether anyone likes it or not, so I say we should be happy that at least it's going to have landscaping :rolleyes:

#13 salvag

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Posted 11 August 2004 - 10:54 AM

Actually, now the plan is to extend the first phase to 1187, so most likely, all of the major east-west arterials will be extended to the parkway. At least Sycamore and Risinger would be, because there's already a lot of development very close to the future path of the parkway.

Ok, Fort Worth is going to sprawl southwestardly no matter what. I would prefer to nip the traffic issue in the bud, since the resulting traffic on the 3 main arterials would be UNIMAGINABLE without the tollway. I think it's an underestimate to say only thousands of cars will use it. I think the number will be more along the lines of 50,000-100,000, because in 1999, the traffic counts would indicate about 110,000 people used the big 3 on any given day, and since then dozens of subdivisions have been built. I wouldn't be surprised if that number has doubled by now. I know my family and countless others would use it to avoid traffic from shopping on Hulen and B.I. and the incredibly long light waits on Granbury.

You know, it's going to be built whether anyone likes it or not, so I say we should be happy that at least it's going to have landscaping :D

I agree with everything you said Jonny. It could be a lot worse. Atleast there is going to be landscaping.

#14 AdamB

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Posted 11 August 2004 - 12:06 PM

I dont know if this is feasible or not but it would be ideal to build tunnels under any new road/highway expansions to house a subway... While the need might not quite be there yet, it will definitely be there in 10-20 years!

#15 normanfd

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Posted 11 August 2004 - 02:49 PM

I think it's funny listening to everyone complain about the traffic on Bryant Irvin. I remember when the General Dynamics Recreation Area was the only thing along that street. The rest of the properties were vacant and overgrown with trees.

#16 ghughes

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Posted 11 August 2004 - 07:37 PM

One side of B-I is still undeveloped. But it's slated to be a TIF. And it's been rezoned to heavy commercial. All part of the SW Pkwy deal.

So wait for that if you want to see some real congestion!

#17 mosteijn

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Posted 11 August 2004 - 08:33 PM

If there was ANY commercial developments on B.I. there the congestion would increase, TIF or not. And I thought it was rezoned MU2 not high intensity commercial, am I right?

#18 ghughes

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Posted 12 August 2004 - 04:39 AM

Congestion would increase but of course how much depends on the development. The property has actually been rezoned into a whole mix that does include MU-2 but also just about all other uses except industrial in different parts. As I recall it'll be G along Bryant Irvin. The effect of the TIF is that commercial becomes more viable since all the added property taxes are supposed to get plowed back into that local area. The tax revenue will be spent in accordance with the wishes of the property owner (who does all long-term land leases). But that's another story.

Actually, now the plan is to extend the first phase to 1187, so most likely, all of the major east-west arterials will be extended to the parkway. At least Sycamore and Risinger would be, because there's already a lot of development very close to the future path of the parkway.

You have a lot of faith in the city, Johnny. But I notice that Granbury Road from Dirks to Columbus Trail is still two lane and it's needed expansion for a while. Bellaire Drive has needed to connect BI and Hulen to improve general traffic flow but that has languished (It was supposed to have been built on the prior bond program).

Fort Worth's ratio of freeway lane-miles to arterial lane-miles is double the average of cities its size. I interpret that as meaning we have too few arterials since the freeways are about right to somewhat undersized. Arterials, properly designed, can really carry a lot of traffic and do it well. Unfortunately we tend to view arterials as commercial strips so they get clogged with curb cuts. And arterials require the expenditure of local funds while freeways have generally been built at federal expense.

The few arterials that we have tend to be overloaded. But if we had a more extensive network of them they would provide options for routes that would allow people to choose more efficient ways to get places. For example, metropolitan Detroit has major arterials spaced one mile apart in a grid and traffic flows fine. That's not atypical for cities across the midwest. Granted, they have flat land to work with, but check out the distances between ours. Fort Worth's arterial spacing is generally several miles apart. And often much more. Assuming a population density like Detroit's suburbs, Fort Worth has two or three times as many people trying to use each arterial. So of course they're packed. And since people want to get to the freeways so they can actually get somewhere, the interchanges have more load as well as the streets leading to them.

In other words, looking at how Fort Worth has been laid out and how it functions does not provide a good perspective for the options available. Consider that there has not been a new radial freeway built in America in the last 20 years or so. Yet many cities have grown as much as Fort Worth. Could it be that the rest of the country has already learned that you can't build your way out of congestion? That building freeways into green fields accelerates sprawl?

Michael Morris (top transportation guy for NCTCOG) says that nobody should be allowed to buy a house on a weekend. By that he means they should have to see the weekday traffic before they buy. And when one considers how few jobs there are south of I-20, all the expansion in housing out that way is contributing to our traffic and air quality problems a lot more than, say, toward Alliance. I mean, did anyone move to Hulen Bend because it's close to work? Or to Quail Ridge? Unless their work is schools or retail, both which exist to support the people moving out there, the answer is probably "no." No, they moved out there for a variety of other reasons and just factored commuting into the package. But maybe there was a miscalculation?

#19 ghughes

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Posted 12 August 2004 - 04:52 AM

You know, it's going to be built whether anyone likes it or not, so I say we should be happy that at least it's going to have landscaping

If it must happen, then yes, I certainly want it to look nice and to be a pleasant drive. I may be fighting it, but I know I'd use it on occasion.

But as far as it being built... consider that the TIF proposed by the city to fund land purchases is not only illegal but contrary to the state constitution. Either our city leaders don't know that (which is certainly likely) or they're betting that nobody will challenge it in court. :D

And then... anyone notice that the environmental impact statement is already over a year late? The draft was embarrassingly badly done. The foundation of the thing ran directly contrary to rulings of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals by analyzing the project in parts rather than as a whole. It also did not consider issues that have been clearly established over the years. It only did a hand-wave at air quality impacts. In a nutshell: the project has every possibility of failing the environmental tests.

So I'm not really sure it will be built.

#20 mikedsjr

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Posted 12 August 2004 - 07:42 AM

I personally would rather the highway not be built. I think it will provide the wrong type of sprawl to this part of the region. Also, this is a highway leading into a great part of the area: the Hill Country. I am not a major fan of seeing Targets, 5 gas stations Walmart, Sams Club, 2 home depots, 10 suburban shopping strips, another gigantic mall, etc. laid out with the back drop of the Hill Country. I prefer the Hill country look country than like a suburb.

#21 AdamB

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Posted 12 August 2004 - 08:53 AM

just keep in mind... before we go up we have to go out.. this is how most cities work! There is still way too much open land in FW!

#22 mikedsjr

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Posted 12 August 2004 - 10:45 AM

just keep in mind... before we go up we have to go out.. this is how most cities work! There is still way too much open land in FW!

I know that growth is inevidable and I don't have a problem with it. I realize that its good for "economic" reasons. But for a new person to the Fort Worth area, I personally would like to see "the West" stay "wide open spaces". Living in the North Dallas area all my 36 years, I am ready for the world around me to be more "naturey", if that is a word. That's one reason I move to where I did in Fort Worth. I'm close to the DTFW area, and basically have the countryside right at my fingertips, though I realize its not for long. But I am going to enjoy it while I can.

#23 mosteijn

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Posted 12 August 2004 - 12:18 PM

Fort Worth's ratio of freeway lane-miles to arterial lane-miles is double the average of cities its size. I interpret that as meaning we have too few arterials since the freeways are about right to somewhat undersized. Arterials, properly designed, can really carry a lot of traffic and do it well. Unfortunately we tend to view arterials as commercial strips so they get clogged with curb cuts.

I don't know, I personally would rather see a few big freeways rather than an extensive network of massive, ugly arterials. I hate how Fort Worth's arterials are all curvy, 6 lanes, and have massive medians (although there could be worse things than the median) because those are very hostile towards urban developement. Although, we have a long time before the inner ring suburbs get bad enough to gentrify and urbanize, so maybe we can fix the arterials by then.

Oh yeah, and that kind of brings me to the sprawl issue. It is my beleif that a city must have 2 things in order to densify: a) physical growth limitations (think Hong Kong or San Francisco), and/or :D mass. Look at Chicago, for example. There's nothing stopping it from sprawling out miles and miles into the rest of Illinois (which it does), yet it has a lot of dense, inner city neigborhoods. Granted, a lot of them were built back in the day when cities were the place to live, but Chicago now has enough mass in it's metro area to support dense developments in the core.

So, it may not sound logical, but I think if Fort Worth ever wants to truly densify the central city, it should continue to promote as much growth as possible in the suburbs. The only thing we should be doing better is planning for densification to eventually happen (NO CUL-DE-SACS!!!). In our case, if the suburbs stopped growing, I think the fragile developments going on in the central city would cease.

Just some thoughts.

#24 normanfd

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Posted 12 August 2004 - 05:18 PM

Not only are there not enough major arteries, but there are not enough bridges over either fork of the Trinity west of University or east of Beach.

#25 AdamB

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Posted 13 August 2004 - 08:19 AM

a lot of the infrastrucute is already there for rapid development in the more rural parts of FW. Can you imagine the tax base that could be created... I would really like to see someone come in and start to buy up the land in North FW and start building neighborhoods that rival Colleville, Keller, Flower Mound, Southlake, etc. The FW residents cannot handle much more of a tax burden... WE HAVE TO EXPAND THE TAX BASE!

#26 Urbndwlr

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Posted 23 August 2004 - 12:08 AM

Johnny,

I live downtown. I occasionally travel out on Bryant Irvin south of I-20, and I acknowledge there is some traffic saturation there. I do not believe the traffic saturation justifies the construction of a very expensive highway. By many other city's standards the traffic in the I-20/Bryant Irvin intersection is not that bad. We can't expect the traffic volumes in Fort Worth to remain like those in Wichita Falls forever.

I would, however, have less of a problem with the roadway (and most other new highways/freeways) if they were toll roads. Why? Charging the users (i.e. drivers) of the road for use of it is the only way to allign the benefits of the road with the costs of the road. The entire community shouldn't have to pay for this road - it should be funded almost entirely by tolls.

We have a legacy of a rural mindset around here (and in many other parts of the US) - too many people want to live in the country, work downtown, and spend no more than 10 minutes commuting between the two. In a small town that model works fine, but it doesn't scale well into a larger cities. Fort Worth is experiencing those growing pains now.

One other thing to remember: sprawl has several costs in addition to infrastructure - more distance traveled = more fuel burned = more air pollution. We have a problem around here in large part due to the amount of driving we all do. The shapes of our cities play a large role in that problem.

#27 Urbndwlr

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Posted 23 August 2004 - 12:47 AM

[i]Look at Chicago, for example. There's nothing stopping it from sprawling out miles and miles into the rest of Illinois (which it does), yet it has a lot of dense, inner city neigborhoods. [/QUOTE] - Johnny

Johnny,

Why did Chicago achieve that high density prior to the development of its sprawling suburbs? How about Boston? Charleston?

The reason is that the available transportation systems didn't enable people to quickly, conveniently commute into the city from the suburbs (except along mass-transit lines). The result: cities built around pedestrians, not cars.

By constantly relieving the inconvenience of traffic conjestion by throwing up new highways out into the countryside, we deny our cities the chance to organically develop into more dense environments.

For example, a man moves to FW and takes a job with a downtown law firm.
He is willing to commute up to 15 minutes each way. He would like to live in an apartment. He comes across the Cityview area and thinks the apts along BI are acceptable, but learns that his commute time would be 25 minutes, so he decides to look closer in toward downtown. He rents near downtown.
Now multiply this story by several thousand (including homebuyers).

The market for redevelopment and new, dense development in the central city is bolstered by all of these people who find it more convenient close to their jobs. A higher percentage of people choose to walk to work. Some more ride the busses or are eager to support new streetcars. This scenario does not deny anyone their right to live in the country - they can live out on the edge of town if they choose. If they do so, they will just have to suffer the inconvenience of living far from their jobs.

It is ridiculous to assert that the rest of the communty should foot the bill to build a freeway to someone's house in far SW FW because their commute takes too long, when that person bought their house fully aware of how far it is located from the center of the city.

#28 mosteijn

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Posted 23 August 2004 - 04:17 PM

Johnny,

Why did Chicago achieve that high density prior to the development of its sprawling suburbs?  How about Boston? Charleston?

The reason is that the available transportation systems didn't enable people to quickly, conveniently commute into the city from the suburbs (except along mass-transit lines). The result: cities built around pedestrians, not cars.

By constantly relieving the inconvenience of traffic conjestion by throwing up new highways out into the countryside, we deny our cities the chance to organically develop into more dense environments.

So now that it is easy, shouldn't everyone live in the suburbs then? I'm saying that the reason why cities like Boston, Chicago, and New York, for that matter, can sustain NEW developments in dense neigborhoods is because they have a large metro area to pool from. Perhaps a better example to illustrate this would be Houston. It gets beat up on for sprawling so much, yet it's experiencing an extraordinary amount of inner city, dense development. Why? It isn't on an island or in a valley, but it has enough mass to support density.

Think of it as a ratio: for every 10x amount of sprawl, you have x amount of urban development. Thus, if you have 100x amount of sprawl, you should have 10x amount of urban development. I just hate it how no one beats up on New York for having a lot of HIDEOUS suburbs, just because Manhattan is the poster child for urbanity, then critize cities with metro areas 10 times as small for sprawling so much (which I know you didn't do, but I'm just saying).

It is ridiculous to assert that the rest of the communty should foot the bill to build a freeway to someone's house in far SW FW because their commute takes too long, when that person bought their house fully aware of how far it is located from the center of the city.

So, why should the rest of the city have to pay for the Trinity River Vision when the people moved downtown knowing full well there isn't a lake there already? Why should the rest of the city have to pay for a new playground at a park when the people who want it knew full well that the equipment was old? Why should the rest of the city have to pay for a grocery store downtown when people moved there fully aware there wasn't one there already? Hm, starting to sound a bit selfish, aren't I?

I'm sorry, but I don't buy that line of thinking. You're saying everyone should just deal with the long commute or move downtown, huh? First of all, the commute down here didn't use to be that long, but now it's gotten longer due to congestion. I'm sure a lot of people moved here when the commute wasn't bad, but now it is and it ISN'T THEIR FAULT.

And, I would love it if everyone decided they want to move to the central city, but that's unrealistic for many reasons (the top one being that the type of neigborhoods similar to those in the suburbs inside the loop are WAY too expensive for many of the people that woud move there to continue living decent lives).

#29 Urbndwlr

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Posted 24 August 2004 - 12:50 AM

You're saying everyone should just deal with the long commute or move downtown, huh? First of all, the commute down here didn't use to be that long, but now it's gotten longer due to congestion. I'm sure a lot of people moved here when the commute wasn't bad, but now it is and it ISN'T THEIR FAULT.

- Johnny

My point is that when people knowingly accept jobs and purchase or rent homes great distances from the other, it is not the responsibility of others to spend a great deal of resources to resolve this inconvenience. It isn't everyone's right as a US Citizen to have a guaranteed traffic-free commute.

Actually, the conjestion is caused by commuters, so if you are going to assign responsibility, it should land squarely on the shoulders of the commuters themselves. Look, it wasn't exactly a secret that SW Fort Worth was going to become developed-out. No homebuyers down there should be suprised by the fact that the prairie around there is getting developed. In fact, it has probably developed more slowly than expected in the mid-80s when Mira Vista and City View were launched.

I'm not simply pushing an agenda to lure more residents downtown. My point is that the costs of commuting should be alligned with those who consume the benefit (the commuter who gets the benefits of travel). If people in SW FW feel that conjestion is out of hand (and those elsewhere in the city don't, then the users of the road should pay for it).

Have to go to bed, but I look forward to discussing this more w/ you later.

#30 mosteijn

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Posted 24 August 2004 - 03:57 PM

My point is that when people knowingly accept jobs and purchase or rent homes great distances from the other, it is not the responsibility of others to spend a great deal of resources to resolve this inconvenience.  It isn't everyone's right as a US Citizen to have a guaranteed traffic-free commute.

Distance isn't all of the equation. The first people to but houses far away from their jobs might not see that much of an increase in their commute times, because congestion is minimal. As more people move in farther and farther, the first people's commute times increase, because congestion has also increased. Now they're left with basically four options:
a.) move closer to their job
b.) find a new job closer to their residence
c.) deal with the commute time, perhaps get up earlier
d.) give up and leave town

Choices a and b would most likely prove difficult, becuase if the person is having long commute times to downtown, their going to be hard pressed to find a nice neighborhood they can afford, and the job market is hard to predict, so you never know if you can get a job close to where you live. Choice d isn't the best thing for Fort Worth, I mean, it sucks to loose population. Choice c works the best for the person, but it will hurt the environment (more than a non-clogged freeway) and put a lot of stress on their daily life. There's probably a lot of people in Fort Worth facing this problem, and it should be the city's job to take care of it's citizens, whether it benefits every single last taxpayer or not.

I'm not simply pushing an agenda to lure more residents downtown. My point is that the costs of commuting should be alligned with those who consume the benefit (the commuter who gets the benefits of travel). If people in SW FW feel that conjestion is out of hand (and those elsewhere in the city don't, then the users of the road should pay for it).

It's not like the rest of the city is paying for the whole thing and the citizens of SW FW aren't paying jack squat. They're taxpayers too, so they're paying just as much tax dollars for this project as everyone else. The total taxpayer portion of the entire project is only about 25%, and let's just pretend about 10% of the citizens of Fort Worth will use it often. That means the rest of the city is only paying about 22% of the TOTAL cost, and they can use it whenever they want to, too. Plus, the people that use it often will have to pay tolls, so it's not like the rest of the city is giving us Southwesterners a free gift we don't have to pay for at all...

#31 ghughes

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Posted 24 August 2004 - 10:05 PM

The tolls (meaning the ones who use the road) will cover less than 1/4 of the cost (~$60 million) of the proposed road. Taxpayers (local, state, and federal) will pay over 75% (over $250 million). Don't get into the cost side of this thing, Johnny, it just isn't a safe place for a proponent. :smwink:

It really does boil down to how we spend our time and money, though. I paid more per square foot on my house in the central city than if I lived in the 'burbs. I did not expect a subsidy for my choice. Those who choose to pay less for their square footage on the outskirts should not expect a transportation subsidy either.

There are plenty of affordable good houses with short commutes to downtown. Likewise to the mid-cities and other job centers. Buying a house in far south Fort Worth, where there are few jobs, does not entitle anyone to special consideration. I mean, if the current job goes away, there's little chance that a SW Fort Worth location will be more useful for the next one.

#32 normanfd

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Posted 25 August 2004 - 12:36 AM

With all due respect, Johnny, you sound like those property owners in the north end of the county who are trying to keep the state from extending badly needed arterials or are upset that the city may wish to annex them. They claim they were attracted to their homesites by the area's "rural nature." In TARRANT COUNTY? IN DENTON COUNTY? Have they no sense of geography or demographics? People who truly choose rural lifestyles do just that by living far away from cities, and they do that after a careful consideration of the economic impact of their decision..

#33 mosteijn

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Posted 25 August 2004 - 03:43 PM

The tolls (meaning the ones who use the road) will cover less than 1/4 of the cost (~$60 million) of the proposed road. Taxpayers (local, state, and federal) will pay over 75% (over $250 million). Don't get into the cost side of this thing, Johnny, it just isn't a safe place for a proponent. :smwink:

Yeah, but the people paying the most directly are going to be the taxpayers in SW Fort Worth who pay the most tolls AND their taxpayer share of the total cost. Taxpayers from Houston, San Antonio and the rest of Texas are paying to maintain our freeways (as well as theirs), just like we are paying for someone else's new freeways and maintainance. 75% might be the total, but FAR less than that are citizens of Fort Worth.

To suggest that the people of SW FW who want this freeways should have to pay for it almost entirely out of their own pocket is extremely unfair and selfish, since the taxpayers of SW FW have been paying for other people's freeways for 40 years and have yet to see their freeway come to life. That's like me saying "I don't think it's fair for me to have to pay for your street to be repaved, so I think all the rest of you that live on the street should have to have special taxes levied on you or you have to pay tolls to get into your driveway,"...does that really sound fair to you?

Oh and norm, I don't think I follow you. Are you talking about the part where I gave 4 choices? Because I was referring to someone who, say, moved to Wedgewood (a suburb) and now has a longer commute because of people who, say, moved to Candleridge. I'm not talking about them loosing rural atmosphere or anything, just longer commute times.

#34 normanfd

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Posted 25 August 2004 - 06:50 PM

The Southwest Tollway will make today's congestion seem like a picnic as you'll have Candleridges popping up all the way to Cleburne.along it. That's why it shouldn't be built. Another thing I hate about the tollway is it will be another barrier to development along the Clear Fork. All the railroad tracks between Vickery and the north bank of the Clear Fork have kept neighborhoods on the West Side from enjoying the river. Now the tollway will keep South Side residents from having easy access to the river as well.

Wouldn't it be nice if there were mid-rise apartments and condos overlooking river parks with green space, playgrounds, and more courses for rowers and kayakers? Instead, the hike and bike trails presently along the river will become noisy and smog-choked from both the railroad yards and the tollway along both banks. I can't repeat it enough that with the tollway we are making the same mistake Dallas is making along the Trinity.

As for your "d" option above, I don't think that will work for most people. The remarkable thing about Fort Worth is how moderate housing prices are in most of the neighborhoods close to Downtown. Most cities that have thriving downtowns have seen central city prices become so unaffordable that they have lost any sense of diversity. Most cities that have affordable central city housing offer it in crime-ridden, economically depleted neighborhodds like central Detroit. Fort Worth seems to have somehow found a middle course.

#35 mosteijn

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Posted 25 August 2004 - 08:39 PM

The Southwest Tollway will make today's congestion seem like a picnic as you'll have Candleridges popping up all the way to Cleburne.along it. That's why it shouldn't be built.

I'm getting mixed signals from the opposition, some say it's going to be horribly underutilized and others say it will increase congestion unimaginably. Make up your minds already! :smwink: I think it will end up a compromise, well used but not clogged.

Another thing I hate about the tollway is it will be another barrier to development along the Clear Fork. All the railroad tracks between Vickery and the north bank of the Clear Fork have kept neighborhoods on the West Side from enjoying the river. Now the tollway will keep South Side residents from having easy access to the river as well.

Wouldn't it be nice if there were mid-rise apartments and condos overlooking river parks with green space, playgrounds, and more courses for rowers and kayakers? Instead, the hike and bike trails presently along the river will become noisy and smog-choked from both the railroad yards and the tollway along both banks. I can't repeat it enough that with the tollway we are making the same mistake Dallas is making along the Trinity.

Nope, the tollway's alignment inside loop 820 would put it on the north side of the river close to the railroad tracks (which as you said already block the way) which aren't going anywhere. The South Side residents have had their access blocked by the crappy suburban stuff on Hulen already.

There's going to be plenty of room between the trails and the roadway, and now that there's going to be some decent accesibility, I think the chances of good development are upped by the construction of the tollway. I think strip malls will keep their distance, since they won't have frontage roads or easy visibility.

The remarkable thing about Fort Worth is how moderate housing prices are in most of the neighborhoods close to Downtown.

Not the nice ones...those are all overpriced. My family wanted so bad to be able to get a house that would fit our size needs for our price range, but upon research, we came to the conclusion that no house existed in a neighborhood we would have liked close to downtown. And "close" is a relative term, you can be talking about distance or commute time, both are very different.

#36 Urbndwlr

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Posted 25 August 2004 - 11:33 PM

Norm's right. The SW Tollway will only offer a temporary relief from traffic conjestion. The initial ease of accessibilty from Downtown to Dirks Rd and Far SW Fort Worth will increase homebuyer and developer interest in developing that land rapidly until it again reaches a point of inconvience (saturation).

And Johnny, I understand your position about the duty to fund each other's transportation costs, however the nation and the state of Texas are shifting to more locally and toll funded roadways now. The existing roads, like it or not, are sunk costs. Going forward, it makes sense to allign the costs and benefits of new highways as much as possible.

It is a very bad habit for us to begin to treat state and federal funds as "free money" because it comes from a greater pool. That money comes from other tax payers, and we should treat their money as we would treat our own locally.

I can think of tons of other places where those funds could be put to use (education, creation/improvement of green spaces, additional crime prevention, etc)

#37 Dismuke

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Posted 26 August 2004 - 03:11 AM

I am a huge fan of toll roads in general and I think they are a much more rational way to fund expressways - provided that the savings are passed along to us in reduced taxes. Otherwise, they have the effect of being nothing more than another tax increase.

There is another reason to be in favor of toll roads: if the tolls are set at the proper level, they introduce at least some element of a pseudo-marketplace approach to traffic congestion. By "proper level" I mean that, when the demand to use the road exceeds its capacity, the toll be set at a rate high enough to reduce that demand so that the road flows at a proper capacity.

For example, in our area, most of the highways that are not under construction or repair flow pretty well during off-peak hours. So during those hours, there may not even be a need to charge any tolls at all. However, during rush hours, a toll structure could be established. For example, a two-tier structure might look something like this: Mornings: 6:00 AM - 7:00 AM, 9:00 AM - 10 AM - Lower Priced Toll; 7:00 AM - 9:00 AM, Higher Priced Toll. Afternoons. 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM, 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM, Lower Priced Toll; 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM Higher Priced Toll.

This is really no different than what a movie theatre does with its ticket pricing. You want to go to a movie on a Friday night? Well, so do lots of others. As a result, you are going to pay more to see the same movie on Friday night than you would if you went Tuesday afternoon. Imagine if all movie theatres were like roads in that they were owned by the government, funded by the taxpayers and they were open to all at no additional cost on a first come first serve basis. Well, good luck trying to even have a chance of getting in on a Friday night. A price is the mechanism through which a free market rations a scarce commodity on a strictly voluntary basis. Higher Friday night movie prices encourage some people to either catch the show during off-peak hours or wait for the movie to come out on DVD or cable - which means that those who really want to see a particular movie on a Friday night are likely to be able to buy a ticket.

That same sort of voluntary rationing needs to be available for commuters as well. There are jobs where a person simply must be there at 8:00 AM. There are other jobs such as manufacturing where the work can usually be done at any hour of the day. With the sort of toll system I propose, those who must be somewhere at 8:00 AM will be assured a spot on the road without having to creep along in bumper to bumper traffic - though it will come at a price. Because paying such tolls will be an added expense for workers, companies that require an 8:00 AM start time will be at a competitive disadvantage when trying to recruit talented employees, unless they are willing to pick up the added cost in the form of higher pay or expense reimbursements. This added labor cost will have the effect of encouraging companies to offer alternative start times whenever it is possible to do so. The higher priced tolls might also encourage some people to carpool or seek other forms of transportation - which I don't have any problem with so long as people do it voluntarily and not as a result of the government shoving it down people's throats as some have advocated.

Now, there is a certain ethical issue when it comes to converting existing roadways to toll roads. The taxpayers have already paid for them and I think a valid case could be made that they have a right to use them without having to pay a toll. But, at the very least, any new lanes that are added to such roads could be opened on a toll basis.

As to the question of whether Southwest Parkway is "needed" - well, I guess it depends on who you are. If you live in Cleburne and work in downtown Fort Worth, then heck yes it is "needed." But I certainly have no "need" for the thing. In fact, I could make the case that what is "needed" is a tunnel with a road that runs in a straight shot from my house to the parking lot of my employer in Irving with no additional entrances or exits to keep the amount of traffic to a minimum. You might not "need" it - but I sure do! See the problem inherent in determining whether something is "needed"? Needed? By whom?

When it comes to providing goods and services, the free marketplace does not take "need" into consideration so much as economic viability. If something is economically viable, then it is assumed that it is also "needed." On the other hand, things like nice strong FM radio signals devoted to 1920s and 1930s music might be very much "needed" by hardcore fans such as myself - but since it is not economically viable, my "need" must sadly remain unfulfilled. To me that is the only proper standard by which to judge whether Southwest Parkway is needed - and the best way to do that is to not only make it a toll road, but also make it a private, for-profit, toll road - assuming it is even built at all. Here is my proposal on how to do that:

Instead of building the highway, TxDOT would instead merely buy the right of way for Southwest Parkway and other routes to surrounding areas that might be needed in the future. TxDOT should by this land decades in advance when it is still available at relatively low prices. During the years the land sits empty, TxDOT could generate at least some revenue on it by leasing it out for other purposes such as agriculture or even commercial uses with the provision that the lease can be terminated upon TxDOT giving a certain amount of advance notice.

Once such right of ways are acquired, rather than building and operating a highway, TxDOT would simply make it available on a 100 year lease to any private enterprise that has the interest in building, operating and maintaining a for-profit toll road on it. There would be a few strings attached - but they would be minimal. For example, if a road is not built and operating within a certain amount of time after it has been granted the lease, it and any improvements that have been made will revert to TxDOT which would make it available for someone else to complete If the road company fails to maintain the road, it would also revert to TxDOT. The road company would also be required to reimburse local governments for any cost of enforcing traffic laws on the road above what is taken in through traffic tickets. In instances where a toll road happens to be the only route between two locations, TxDOT or local governments would be able to built a for-free road parallel to the toll road - but no more than one lane in each direction in rural areas. In more developed areas where the toll road runs down the route of an existing for-free road, the toll road company would be required to maintain the existing number of lanes of the roadway in the form of a for-free service road. In other words, motorists will always have at least the same number of for-free roads at their disposal as existed before the toll road. Also, the toll road company would reimburse TxDOT through a certain percentage of toll revenue for its cost of acquiring the right of way. Other than that, the toll road companies would basically be free to operate and charge whatever tolls the market will bear. In order to make building roads attractive to investors, I would have such companies totally exempt from all forms of taxation - in other words, 100% of whatever is left over after all the bills are paid is theirs to keep.

Now, here is the advantage I see in building Southwest Parkway using this approach: Since cost of the road would be 100% funded through private investment, it will not be built until there is substantial evidence of its economic viability - which will help reduce the huge burden on our economy caused by economically unjustified government projects. In other words, the road would be built in response to existing demand and not the other way around. Also, the ability of the toll road company to raise its prices as demand for the road grows will have the effect of putting a break on the areas it serves from growing beyond the capacity of the road to serve it. In this respect, a private toll road would lead to smarter growth - "smarter" as defined by the marketplace and not by the utopian social engineering "visions" of politicians and environmental zealots. Above all, such a road would end the practice of residents of the central city and even from other parts of the country having to subsidize "sprawl." Unlike many here, I do not have any problem at all with sprawl. If people wish to live in outlying areas, that is their business and nobody else's. But I have a huge problem with forcing taxpayers to subsidize sprawl - which is what governments have been doing for decades by building beautiful wide highways out in the middle of nowhere long before it would otherwise be economically viable. It has basically been an indirect form of corporate welfare for developers and owners of outlying real estate.

If such an approach were to be used on Southwest Parkway, I suspect that the segment between I-20 and downtown Fort Worth would have a semi-decent chance of eventually attracting interested investors. I suspect it would take much longer for investors to express interest in building a road from I-20 to Cleburne. Now, if Cleburne area land owners and business leaders decided that they wished to raise money to form a toll road company on grounds that such a road would benefit their city and enhance the value of their real estate - well, they would be free to do so. I would, however, forbid any governmental entity from being granted a TxDOT lease to operate a toll road as doing so would basically take us back to where we are at today. Finally, if nobody felt that Southwest Parkway would attract enough traffic to yield a return on investment - well, that pretty much proves that it wasn't really "needed" all that badly in the first place and it will remain unbuilt.

There is one other thing I would have TxDOT do under my proposal. Once they acquire right of way, I would have them reserve a portion of it for a commuter rail line which would be privately operated on terms similar to the toll road. When and if such a line becomes economically viable, private investors will step forward and build it. If it is not economically viable - well, it shouldn't be built for the exact same reason why nobody is going to be converting a local FM frequency to 1920s and 1930s music anytime soon.
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#38 mosteijn

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Posted 26 August 2004 - 04:51 PM

Norm's right.  The SW Tollway will only offer a temporary relief from traffic conjestion.  The initial ease of accessibilty from Downtown to Dirks Rd and Far SW Fort Worth will increase homebuyer and developer interest in developing that land rapidly until it again reaches a point of inconvience (saturation).

Sorry, wrong again. That land will develop to saturation with or without a freeway, and without one, traffic congestion on B.I., Hulen and Granbury will be UNIMAGINABLE. By the time the first portion of the tollway (downtown to 1187) would be finished (sometime around 2009) there will be contiguous development all the way to 1187. Don't beleive me? Fort Worth's suburbs are now about 1 mile from Crowley, and growing rapidly. In the last 3 1/2 years, the SW suburbs have advanced about 1.5 miles. Give them about 6 more years, and they will close the gap. Not to mention if Crowley started growing northward, just as fast, the time it would take for the two to meet will be cut in half.

Keep in mind that this is not only putting strain on the arterials down here, but also on I-35 and the Loop. That congestion would also be reduced (albeit not as dramatically on the arterials) by constructing the tollway.

Now, look at the Dallas North Tollway. I rarely if ever hear of congestion on that thing, which goes through the most congested portion of Dallas all the way out to Frisco, and soon all the way to Celina. The reason? I beleive Dismuke, perhaps indirectly, said that tolls are a somewhat effective way of curbing congestion. Many people don't like to use tolls, even when convenient. However, if the tollway is succesful in taking people off the arterials (which I'm sure it will be), then both the arterials and the tollway will be congestion free, which is good for everyone.

#39 ghughes

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Posted 26 August 2004 - 05:29 PM

Yes, the suburbs are growing... along Hulen. And it might predate your arrival there, Johnny, but Hulen was extended beyond Columbus Trial and then the suburbs followed. Prior to that there was a two-lane country road and almost no development. But it's important to note that the development followed the road.

Other than that, there is very little development in that part of the city... .until you go over to Bryant Irvin where the same thing happened beyond Cityview... first the big road, then the development.

Yes, these areas will all eventually develop. But new roads and highways accelerate the development. Plus, they direct the development along their path. So when the city decides to build SW Pkwy, it also charts a large amount of residential development. The main problem going in the direction of the SW Parkway is that there are no job centers out there. While our political "leaders" cry crocodile tears over air quality, they are proposing to encourage people to live farther from work.

#40 mosteijn

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Posted 26 August 2004 - 05:52 PM

Yes, the suburbs are growing... along Hulen. And it might predate your arrival there, Johnny, but Hulen was extended beyond Columbus Trial and then the suburbs followed. Prior to that there was a two-lane country road and almost no development. But it's important to note that the development followed the road.

Other than that, there is very little development in that part of the city... .until you go over to Bryant Irvin where the same thing happened beyond Cityview... first the big road, then the development.

I beg to differ. I moved down here almost 2 years ago, and at that time Hulen was under construction from Columbus to Cleburne. However, large portions of Hulen Heights had already been built, with people moving in by the dozen. If I remember correctly, several new subdivisions begain construction at about the same time the Hulen expansion OPENED. The road came at the same time as the development, and the development would have happened road or not.

Look at this map, see the suburbs along Granbury? They're growing equally as fast and have been for years (in fact a new one just popped up a few blocks from my house). Granbury is still a two lane country road. Development will happen, big road or not. If you have a non-congested road, the people that live in those developments can actually get to where they're going, though.

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It doesn't matter the speed new developments spring up, either, since when suburban land is built out it's built out. That's it, no more. Unless someone decides to densify Candleridge or something, the same number of commuters moving in will use the roads with or without a tollway regardless of how fast they move in. By 2009 if all the land is already built up, and then they build the tollway, where do you propose that these developers rush to build their developments in SW FW?

#41 ghughes

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Posted 26 August 2004 - 07:18 PM

Where to build? Why, in that big empty space on the east side of the lake! Where SW Pkwy will go.

You will see development match road expansion, of course. But the road expansion is on the books for several years before it happens, and the developers are on to that. They pay attention to city councils and regional planners and buy and develop in concert with road plans. I look at roads and other projects from the conceptual stages, not just when the concrete cures. And developers have the same view.

#42 mosteijn

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Posted 26 August 2004 - 08:03 PM

Where to build? Why, in that big empty space on the east side of the lake! Where SW Pkwy will go.

You will see development match road expansion, of course. But the road expansion is on the books for several years before it happens, and the developers are on to that. They pay attention to city councils and regional planners and buy and develop in concert with road plans. I look at roads and other projects from the conceptual stages, not just when the concrete cures. And developers have the same view.

I said if all the land inside 1187 was built out, where do you think they're going to develop? I wouldn't be entirely surprised to see this happen by 2009, tollway or not.

And what, would you rather have the city stop expanding roads and see the population growth decline dramatically? Cities sprawl, they have for centuries. If the city stopped sprawling all of a sudden, we would lose a great deal of momentum, even in the inner city.

#43 AdamB

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Posted 26 August 2004 - 09:10 PM

I am with you Johnny... I hate to think of a FW that is all develped out 25 years from now and then we are moaning about not having adequate roads, etc.

#44 ghughes

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Posted 26 August 2004 - 09:38 PM

Fort Worth won't develop out... the restrictions are New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Mexico. And the roads aren't adequate now, according to some.

What's lacking in the SW Pkwy promotion is any plan that keeps us from continuing to be like LA. Build, spread, congest. Big deal. This has all been done before and we do the same thing with our heads in the sand. But maybe that's what is desired.

I suppose it's too much to ask that we actually learn from the experience of others.

#45 mosteijn

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Posted 26 August 2004 - 09:41 PM

Or maybe it's too much to ask that a city can have both suburban AND urban development.

#46 pnewburn

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Posted 26 August 2004 - 10:30 PM

Johnny, you are right that the land will develop to saturation whether or not the highway is built, so why build it? If you do nothing, the new subdivisions will continue to pop up until the traffic congestion becomes so bad that it begins to affect home values. And when builders can no longer get a good enough return they will build elsewhere.
If you build the highway it would bring temporary relief to the current residents, but when you add all the cars from the new subdivisions that would surely spring up down the line, the traffic on the new freeway will soon become as bad or worse than the traffic in the area before the highway. These people will of course want the freeway expanded, which will provide them with 5 - 10 years of relief.
There is a book called "Suburban Nation: The Rise of Sprawl and the Decline of the American Dream" that makes this seemingly counterintuitive argument that adding lanes inevitably adds congestion using empirical evidence from around the country gathered over the last 50 years or so. To paraphrase the author's argumnet, "the level of traffic which drivers experience daily is only as high as they are willing to endure. How crowded a road is at any given moment represents a condition of equilibrium between people's desire to drive and their reluctance to fight traffic... the state of equilibrium of all busy roads is to have stop-and-go traffic."
It's a pretty convincing argument and answers a lot of points you bring up. If you're really interested I suggest you look it up.

#47 Dismuke

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Posted 26 August 2004 - 11:14 PM

Johnny, you are right that the land will develop to saturation whether or not the highway is built, so why build it?  If you do nothing, the new subdivisions will continue to pop up until the traffic congestion becomes so bad that it begins to affect home values.  And when builders can no longer get a good enough return they will build elsewhere. 
If you build the highway it would bring temporary relief to the current residents, but when you add all the cars from the new subdivisions that would surely spring up down the line, the traffic on the new freeway will soon become as bad or worse than the traffic in the area before the highway.  These people will of course want the freeway expanded, which will provide them with 5 - 10 years of relief.

Hmmmmm. Let's take that exact same logic and apply it to another governmental body that usually has to struggle to expand and keep up with growth in rapidly growing suburbs: the public schools. Here goes:

Johnny, you are right that the land will develop to saturation whether or not the extra classrooms are built, so why build them? If you do nothing, the new subdivisions will continue to pop up until school overcrowding becomes so bad that it begins to affect home values. And when builders can no longer get a good enough return they will build elsewhere.
If you build the schools it would bring temporary relief to the current residents, but when you add all the little kiddies from the new subdivisions that would surely spring up down the line, the crowding in the new schools will soon become as bad or worse than the classroom overcrowding problem in the area before the new schools were built These people will of course want additional classrooms added, which will provide them with 5 - 10 years of relief.


That sounds kind of silly, doesn't it? So please tell me how highways are somehow different.
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#48 ghughes

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Posted 27 August 2004 - 04:18 AM

Granted, you might reduce growth by not building schools, but roads provide physical access so have more impact. That is, holding all other factors constant, if it's too difficult to get there it isn't as valuable as if you can get there easily.

But one aspect of comparison is certainly on the mark: bad or no schools reduces property values just like bad or no transportation will.

#49 Dismuke

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Posted 27 August 2004 - 10:27 AM

Granted, you might reduce growth by not building schools,

But how is "reducing growth" somehow a value?

If you go to a place such as Mississippi, you will find have a difficult time finding anyone there with grounds to complain about the alleged "problem" of growth. Is that what we want our area to be like?

I understand, and even largely agree with, the points that have been made about providing taxpayer subsidies to "sprawl." But that doesn't change the fact that growth, as such, is good and that adquate roads are necessary.
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#50 pnewburn

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Posted 27 August 2004 - 12:43 PM

I think the point is that additional capacity will never solve congestion problems in the long term in an economically vibrant city. Look at LA, Houston, Altlanta for examples. The only way to reduce road congestion in the long term is to reduce the number of trips taken per mile of road. One way to do this is through walkable mixed-use developement. You rarely hear any one complaning about there being too many pedestrians.
It is also worth noting that LA has stoped building new freeways and is instead focusing on increasing density, while Atlanta has added more miles of freeway per capita than any other metro in the last 20 or so years, and as a result, drivers there must travel more vehicle miles, and spend more hours commuting than any other place in the country.
Like I said, if you really are interested you should check out that book. They make a good case.




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