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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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#51 ghughes

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Posted 27 August 2004 - 01:55 PM

But how is "reducing growth" somehow a value?

I must have misunderstood the question, Dismuke. I thought you wanted to compare building roads and schools relative to growth. I wasn't really proposing to use school construction (or the lack thereof) to regulate growth.

And, from my perspective, growth is fine. However I view growth in terms of quality, not quantity. This area can grow nicely without spreading at its current rate. It can grow in density, housing quality, height, etc. The economics of the region favors sprawl because of cheap land, but sprawl is also significantly subsidized by massive road building, too.

Highway expansion into undeveloped land is a sprawl driver. It starts with the planning and mapping process. NCTCOG draws lines on the map and developers buy land around the lines. They put up a few subdivisions, overload the country roads, then start lobbying for highway projects. This is exactly what's occuring in SW FtW.

#52 360texas

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Posted 27 August 2004 - 02:50 PM

Two other ways to reduce highway traffic:

1. Wait until everyone is old enough to retire from the work place. Before I retired I was driving 30,000 a year. Not far.. just from Fort Worth to Grand Prairie each day + a couple of vacation trips. Now I drive about 2,000 miles a year. And I fly out for vacations.

2. Telecommute. My son works with a software company in Amarillo. He lives in Houston. They set him with a 3 to 5 gig fiber optic residential internet connection (common in Houston - costs about $50/mo) and he accesses their Amarillo office virtual private network. Just like being in the office with video conferencing.

And yes, I understand that most people must be at their storefront work place.

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#53 mosteijn

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Posted 27 August 2004 - 02:54 PM

Highway expansion into undeveloped land is a sprawl driver. It starts with the planning and mapping process. NCTCOG draws lines on the map and developers buy land around the lines. They put up a few subdivisions, overload the country roads, then start lobbying for highway projects. This is exactly what's occuring in SW FtW.

Then what's happening in North and Northwest FW? There aren't any freeway plans for that area, besides the ones there, yet it's growing exponentially. Like I've said countless times, if the tollway had never even been mentioned EVER, the rampant sprawl would still exist. The congestion would just be 10 times worse without it.

Keep in mind that once the SW Parkway is constructed, the arterials will still be there. If you advocate arterial expansion and oppose the tollway, you're really being hypocritical, becuase either one is just an addition to capacity. The only thing is, arterials attract MORE commercial activity/congestion than freeways (especially a tollway without access roads). An excellent arterial network might work fine for congestion, but a mediocre one with freeways works at about the same level.

Also keep in mind that while FW has been experiencing it's urban renaissance, growth on the fringes has increased. How do you explain that? Hm?

#54 Dismuke

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Posted 28 August 2004 - 06:52 PM

I think the point is that additional capacity will never solve congestion problems in the long term in an economically vibrant city.

Ok. Then ask yourself why this is the case only with highways and not for any other good or service in our vast economy.

For example, you will never hear telecommunications company executives saying something to the effect of: " Even though our networks are maxed out at certain hours of the day, we are not going to add any additional capacity because all that will happen is people will use it and we will once again be maxed out." You will never hear an American Airlines executive say something to the effect of: "While it is true that we have a lot of frustrated customers who are unable to book flights on our most successful route due to them consistently being sold out, we will not be adding any additional fights to that route because they, too, will eventually sell out and we will be right back where we started."

Such an approach is quite obviously absurd. So how is it that the exact same approach comes across as reasonable to people such as yourself and many others when it is applied to our highways? What is the difference between highways becoming maxed out and telephone and airline networks becoming maxed out?

The difference is pretty obvious: unlike the vast majority of goods and services in our economy, highways are provided by the government - and, as such, they are largely isolated from the forces of supply and demand which prevent similar situations from happening in other areas of the economy.

From an economic perspective, highway congestion is nothing more than just a specific type of shortage - a shortage of available empty spaces on a road. In a free market shortages occasionally occur - but it is always in response to sudden, unanticipated developments such as unanticipated demand or, more commonly, catastrophic events in the supply chain such as crop failures or industrial accidents that force things such as refineries and factories to go out of service. But as long as the free market is allowed to operate, the shortages are always temporary - and the mechanism which ensures this is market prices. Market prices work to eliminate and prevent shortages by rising to a level that simultaneously reduces demand while providing strong incentives for people to resolve the supply problem.

This, of course, is nothing more than Economics 101. Unfortunately, a great many people, including a significant number of politicians, have never bothered to grasp it and often embrace policies that totally ignore it - and when they do, the result is shortages.

For example, the supply of fresh peaches in the Metroplex is quite plentiful at this time of the year - a couple of weeks ago I purchased some really tasty peaches at Fiesta for 49 cents a pound. In January, however, that supply is quite low because they are out of season in North America and must be imported at great expense from South America. Yet, if you have a strong craving for peaches in January, you are probably not going to have a difficult time finding them in local grocery stores though you will probably have to pay close to $4 per pound for them. It is that $4 price that makes it possible for you to enjoy peaches whenever you like by strongly encouraging the vast majority of shoppers in January to instead eat more seasonally plentiful fruits such as apples, citrus and bananas. Imagine if a bunch of Leftist politicians decided to embrace the situation and "do something" about it. They would decry how "unfair" it is that produce companies are "taking advantage" of the fact that peaches are in short supply in January and accuse grocery stores of "price gouging." They would get all worked up about how "unfair" it is that only the affluent can afford to eat as many peaches in January as they do in July while those on the tightest food budgets must give them up altogether. If they got their way, such politicians would impose some sort of price control that would forbid people to sell peaches at a higher price in January than they sell them for in July. If that happened, assuming that anyone even bothered to import peaches under such conditions, you would have almost no luck at finding them on store shelves because, as soon as they were placed out, shoppers would gobble them up as though it were July. As utterly absurd as such a policy would be, that is exactly what some people call for anytime there is a spike in the price of gasoline - and the one time that it was tried in this country was in the 1970s and the result was gas lines. People also call for the same thing in places where rental costs start to go up - and to the degree rent controls have been imposed, the immediate result was a severe housing shortage.

Now, applying such principles to highways - well, here, we are at situation that is even worse than the imposition of price controls because there currently is absolutely NO pricing pressure whatsoever on most highways to enable the forces of supply and demand to operate in order to prevent congestion. Basically, anyone who has an automobile can secure a spot on the highway during peak travel times on a first come-first served basis at no additional cost than at low traffic hours.

Now it is true that, on Metroplex highways, the person who enters the highway during rush hour is going to pay a higher "price" in terms of the time it takes to get to his destination - which, at this point, does create certain supply/demand pressures to encourage people to move closer to work, work off-peak shifts, etc. But notice that this sort of "price" and the resulting incentives to change behavior come into place only after the capacity of the freeway has been maxed out. The current system has absolutely zero supply demand incentives which would work to prevent the freeway from becoming maxed out in the first place. And THAT is precisely what brings about the situation you describe of additional capacity being constantly added and subsequently maxed out.

The problem with the sort of "solutions" the authors of the book you mention seem to favor is that they regard a perpetual state of highway congestion to be the inevitable norm and, to them, the fundamental issue boils down to simply how to deal with it. I disagree.

The only places where you will find other areas of an economy in a similar state of having to deal with chronic shortages and where politicians constantly scramble to "fix" the consequences while ignoring the causes are in socialist countries. Unfortunately, planning for our highway system in this country is largely done on the Soviet model - not unlike how that country "planned" for the construction of new housing units. In the USSR, the number of new housing units to be built was determined by central planning "experts" who decided exactly how many hideously ugly and drab giant boxes crammed with tiny apartments would be built and where. And, because Marxist dogma asserts that people are "entitled" to be provided with housing, only nominal, token rents were charged for such apartments. As a result, they were filled up before they were even built by people who had been on years-long waiting lists. And unlike a home builder such as Don Horton who regards a huge demand for housing as a good thing and a great opportunity, Soviet officials considered it to be a constant burden and a drain on their budgets which could have been otherwise spent on occupying Eastern Europe or propping up some other area of their perpetually distressed economy.

In terms of quality, our government does a far better job at building highways than the Soviets did building apartments - but that is only because we have a highly prosperous semi-free economy capable of generating large amounts of tax revenue and because much of the actual construction work is contracted out to private firms. But in terms of how highways are planned and operated, there is very little difference between the Soviet model and the way we have been doing things - so it is not surprising that we end up with identical results: chronic shortages.

The only way to reduce road congestion in the long term is to reduce the number of trips taken per mile of road.


Exactly! That's why the solution rests with toll roads. Tolls introduce the element of pricing into the equation and, if they are set at the proper level, they will act to encourage people to engage in behaviors which will reduce the number of trips per mile of road long before the highway's capacity becomes maxed out.

The problem is that our system of toll roads - especially here in Texas - has been far from perfect. Unless changes have been made that I am not aware of, in Texas, tolls can only be collected as a way of recovering the costs of building the road. That's why I-30 between Dallas and Fort Worth stopped being a toll road during the late 1970s when it was finally paid for. That is also why the Dallas North Tollway is having to constantly expand northward in order to continue to collect tolls. The problem with this is the fact that the solution to highway congestion is not just merely introducing prices, but rather market prices.

A private company does not merely seek to simply recover the cost of its capital investments and operating expenses - it seeks to obtain as large a profit as possible by charging what the market will bear. That is how market prices are achieved and what must happen if toll roads are to be of help in reducing congestion.

Whoever will be responsible for operating the toll roads will need to set the rate at such a point where it will generate the most revenue without causing the system to be maxed out. Set the rate too low and the road will become maxed out. Setting it too high will discourage people from using it and adversely impact revenue. Somewhere between the two extremes is a happy medium where there is a threshold of how high you can set the price before hurting revenue through a loss of volume - and that is where the price needs to be set. As demand for the road eventaully grows, the additional drivers will end up bidding that price to a higher level - and that is how market pricing will prevent highway congestion.

The big question is this: is the government itself capable of setting such market prices? Is it ethical for a governmental agency to generate a profit? Will government officials be able to resist complaints and political pressure from the general public that the market prices it sets are "too high" causing them to lower them or subsidize them for certain people thus defeating their purpose in the first place? I have my doubts that it can - which is why I think the government should lease such roads out to private operators with the condition that they not allow the roads to be operated beyond a certain capacity.


One way to do this is through walkable mixed-use developement. You rarely hear any one complaning about there being too many pedestrians.


That is one way of doing it. So are things such as rail lines, busses and such. But observe that such things are usually discussed only after the roads have already become maxed out and most of their advocates usually suggest imposing them on people through legislation. What needs to happen is people need to embrace such things before the roads become maxed out - not because they have to but because they want to. That is what market prices can do.

The principle is really simple: I like peaches much more than I do apples. But in January, I eat apples and not peaches because I can get apples 6 for $1 while peaches can be nearly $4 per pound. But at least I have the ability and freedom to purchase peaches if I really wanted to and was willing to pay the necessary price. I have a choice. I wouldn't have such a choice if the government imposed price controls and made peaches impossible to obtain. I would have to eat apples. Likewise, if supply and demand bid up the price of my daily commute to $5 each way, I would have to make a similar choice. I could continue to drive and pay $200 per month in tolls. Or I could take some form of mass transit (which, under such circumstances, would become a profitable enterprise) or I could move closer to work. I would be the one who gets to choose based on what is more important to me - saving money or continuing to live and work where I do. But, under our present system, if congestion continues to increase and extra capacity is not added, I will not even have such a choice due to the length of the commute time.


Like I said, if you really are interested you should check out that book. They make a good case.


I don't know anything about this particular book - but most I have heard of along those lines approach the matter from a collectivist standpoint and blame all problems on the free market. (There are also some books that are written by environmental extremists who are hostile to economic progress as such and regard the mere existence of human beings, let alone their well being and prosperity, to be a problem.) If that is the case with this book - well, I suspect that it would probably end up being a waste of time because all they will be doing is attempting to "fix" consequences by using more of the same poison (i.e. too much socialism and the absence of free market forces) that made the patient sick in the first place. I think the solution that I briefly described here is much more in line with the facts of reality and, if implemented, will actually work - and it will work without a bunch of authoritarians telling us how we may and may not go about living our lives.
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#55 pnewburn

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Posted 29 August 2004 - 10:47 PM

Sweet Jesus, that was a long one. And great use of boldface by the way. I'll just respond to that last sentence real quick since it's getting late and I'm tired.

- and it will work without a bunch of authoritarians telling us how we may and may not go about living our lives.

If by 'authoritarians' you are refering to people who have educated themselves on the subject of city planning and proven through years of experience almost exclusively in the private sector that their ideas are sound, then we'll have to agree to disagree.
I would just like one person who is pushing for this highway to present one example of a similar situation where the new road actually delivered on the promises made by the politicians who wanted it built. I think the notion that this highway is being built to help out the commuters who currently live in SW FW is absurd beyond belief. Even if that were the case, it is far too hefty price for residents in other parts of town to pay so that people in 'scenic' Mira Vista can zip downtown 5 minutes faster. (If they are really looking for ways to save time they could take down all those gates at the front of their neighborhoods. Not having to wait for them to swing open should shave at least a couple of seconds off, right?)
The only argument I can see that has any semblance of logic is that the new highway will open up a lot of new land to development and make a lot of money for large land owners between here and Cleburne. And if those owners in line for their windfall should happen to be certain influencial members of the community, then all the more reason for our local politicians to appease them. Winning elections has become pretty pricey these days from what I hear.

Could someone who has taken economics 101 please explain to me exactly how the free market is being applied in this situation? I was an architecture major and we didn't have to take that class.

That being said, it honestly doesn't bother me that much if the government decides to provide a little stimulus for growth now and then. I think that is absolutely within their domian. It does rankle me a bit though, and I think it would you too Dis, that by only building highways, it is the government choosing (note the bold) what kind of neighborhood we all should live in. When they provide an equivalent subsidy for those who choose (again) to live in more urban environs, I'll be happy. Lets not pretend that what we have is a real choice (bold + italics) when its between three shades of pink brick and two colors of laminate wood in our new 'custom' home.

(Oh, and can we please not judge a book by its cover? or title, as it were?)

#56 Dismuke

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Posted 30 August 2004 - 01:33 AM

If by 'authoritarians' you are refering to people who have educated themselves on the subject of city planning and proven through years of experience almost exclusively in the private sector that their ideas are sound, then we'll have to agree to disagree.

By "authoritarians" I was referring to those who advocate governmental policies which seek to directly or indirectly coerce individuals in terms of where they may and may not be allowed to live and what means of transportation they may or may not be allowed to use. Most alleged "solutions" that I have seen proposed on how to deal with the issue of traffic congestion have advocated just that in some form or another. I mentioned the authoritarian approach because it is the diametric opposite to the solution that I proposed where there would be free market incentives for people to take the necessary corrective steps (including some of the ones you say you are in favor of) on a voluntary basis - before congestion becomes a problem, not afterwards.

I'll just respond to that last sentence real quick since it's getting late and I'm tired.


You are certainly free to respond only to the last sentence and you are certainly free to ignore everything else I say altogether or even attempt to make semi-humorous comments about my use of emphasis (which, by the way, is a perfectly valid and often effective tool for written communication - just as it is in spoken communication)

On the other hand, I have put on the table a theory on the causes of congestion that I don't think you are going to find too many places - and I have proposed a very specific solution to it. On that basis, I think it is kind of sad that you only choose to respond to an incidental, secondary comment that I made and totally ignored altogether the substance of my posting. So if you find some extra time in the next few days, I would be interested in your views on the following:

1) Do you disagree with my premise that the real cause of congestion is that our highways lack the same sort of market pricing mechanism which helps balance supply verses demand pressures in virtually every other area of our economy? If so, then why?

2) Do you disagree with my premise that converting highways to toll roads and allowing the tolls to rise to whatever level the market will bear will prevent road congestion and provide incentives for people to voluntarily seek alternatives such as greater density and other forms of transportation long before we are faced with the capacity of the roads being maxed out? If so, then why?

Could someone who has taken economics 101 please explain to me exactly how the free market is being applied in this situation? I was an architecture major and we didn't have to take that class.


Well, it is NOT being applied in this situation - which was exactly the point that I made in my posting. And it is precisely because of this lack of any free market pricing mechanisms in our current highway system that we have the perpetual congestion that you decry. I made that very clear in my posting. So where on earth are you getting the notion that someone is suggesting that the free market is being applied in the case of Southwest Parkway? The above quote makes me kind of wonder just how carefully you read my posting.

Now, you also bring up:

The only argument I can see that has any semblance of logic is that the new highway will open up a lot of new land to development and make a lot of money for large land owners between here and Cleburne. And if those owners in line for their windfall should happen to be certain influencial members of the community, then all the more reason for our local politicians to appease them. Winning elections has become pretty pricey these days from what I hear.


I think you are probably correct in that a lot of the decisions are being strongly influenced on the basis of political pull. That is another reason to go with the pseudo free market approach that I advocated in my posting. Under my proposal, highways would no longer be built based on who happens to want them and whether those people happen to have political pull. Under my proposal, the only highways that would be built would be those which can economically justify their existence.

It does rankle me a bit though, and I think it would you too Dis, that by only building highways, it is the government choosing (note the bold) what kind of neighborhood we all should live in.


Well, it does kind of rankle me a bit. You are correct in that governmental subsidies of highways kill off the economic viability of alternative forms of transportation. It is also true that the highway subsidy generally benefits suburban residents more than it does urban residents.

If you go back before expressways were built in this area, you will see that there existed a number of private, for-profit transit companies. The "T" for example, used to be a private company. We also had several privately owned commuter rail lines in the area known as Interurbans. At one time, they ran from Fort Worth to Terrell and from Waco to Sherman and the electric trains ran at a speed of up to 70 miles per hour.

Now, many of these lines began to decline and some went out of business due to competition from the automobile several years before the first expressway was built in our area. The automobile is very strong competition to mass transit because it allows its owner far more flexibility than any train or bus schedule can ever offer. But the fact of the matter is that, if expressways had been operated by private enterprise in the same way that the transit companies used to be, they would have competed on a more level playing field. The people who used the expressways would have had to pay the full cost of building and operating them through market priced tolls which I think would have significantly slowed down the migration to the suburbs.

I have no idea what the price of such tolls would have been - but without a government subsidy, it is possible that they would have been high enough that the transit systems could have been able to effectively compete. Unfortunately, it is difficult, if not impossible, to compete against a government subsidized competitor. And, unlike the private transit companies, our local expressways gave away their services for free and did not have to pay taxes. As a result, the transit companies went under and local governments took them over.

When they provide an equivalent subsidy for those who choose (again) to live in more urban environs, I'll be happy.


Well, that is not a solution. That's just more of the same old poison that is causing the problem in the first place. Why not just end the subsidies altogether and move to the market oriented approach that I proposed?


Lets not pretend that what we have is a real choice (bold + italics)


Not only that, you can also do this. (bold +italics+underline). Or even this (bold+italics+underline+color+font size). Kind of fun, isn't it?

(Oh, and can we please not judge a book by its cover? or title, as it were?)


I don't know who you are suggesting has done such a thing - but I sure haven't.

I very clearly stated that I know nothing about the book that you mention. I merely stated why, based on the limited information that you provided about it, I don't think it will be worth my time to read.

In one of your own postings you put up a quote that seems to suggest that the authors regard highway congestion as the inevitable, natural state of affairs and that the issue essentially boils down to how to deal with it. I disagree and consider that to be a very flawed premise which suggests a lack of understanding of the economic nature of shortages (in this case, a shortage of road capacity) That alone makes the book very suspect as being something worth my time. On top of that, something else you wrote made me strongly suspect that the authors of the book are advocates of government planning. If that is indeed the case, then it is definitely a waste of my time because I am not an advocate of socialism and I reject at root the underlying premises which give rise to the entire notion of government planning.

I am not suggesting that there is no value to be gained from reading books with which one disagrees - indeed, sometimes those are the ones you learn most from. But my time for reading is very limited so I have to be extremely picky. I certainly did not judge the book by its "cover" or its "title." In fact, I made no judgment about the book whatsoever. On what basis could I? The only judgment I made was that, based on your description, it doesn't sound like something that is worth my while to make time for.
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#57 ghughes

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Posted 30 August 2004 - 09:23 PM

Dismuke, your proposal for variable rate tolls is on the drawing board around the country. It's made possible by the toll-tags, congestion monitoring, and other technology advances. I was on a privately owned toll road in Orange County, CA a couple of weeks ago, and it had time of day pricing (more at rush hour, less at off peak). But the really snazzy ones will measure congestion on the road and vary the tolls to use price resistance to regulate traffic. As the price rises, more people decide to use an alternate route. I suppose they will need to post the price prominantly before you enter the ramp, to be fair.

Things have changed in Texas regarding toll roads. For example, the North Texas Tollway Authority owns and operates North Central Expressway and the George Bush Turnpike. Over $5 million in tolls from those roads has been invested in preliminary work on the Southwest Parkway. That road's bonds (if it ever happens) will be paid off by tolls. After that, the tolls will be used for maintenance and for other toll projects within the NTTA's operating region. So a.) the tolls never quit, and b.) the income will someday go to other projects (which of course may include extending the SW Parkway to Guatamala. Do you realize how much time a commuter from Huehuetenango could save?).

#58 mosteijn

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Posted 30 August 2004 - 09:41 PM

When they provide an equivalent subsidy for those who choose (again) to live in more urban environs, I'll be happy.

Even if highways are sprawl producers, how would that affect urban growth? In case you haven't noticed, all these projects going up in the central city have all been announced/built amidst unprecedented growth in the suburbs. But, afterall, why on Earth would anyone have any reason to live downtown as long as there are freeways? <_<

And greg, if you're almost never going to use the road, why should you care that the tolls will never be taken away? It sounds like you're showing compassion towards the heathen suburbanites...Oh yeah, and North Central Expressway should be the Dallas North Tollway.

#59 ghughes

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Posted 30 August 2004 - 09:53 PM

A few quick and sharp retorts to Johnny.

(not really)

Arterials are best suited to allowing people to get around "locally" where they live, shop, and in the best of all possible worlds, work and play. But they do not have to be choked with curb cuts and tons of commercial activity. That is just the model we have here and in many other auto-centric urban areas. It's known as strip development and it goes back into the '50's. We see it everywhere. It's characterized by long stretches of commercial activity along major roads with residential behind it (or even empty land). U.S. 377 in Granbury and Benbrook are great examples. They prosper, but look tacky and force people to drive between destinations on the same outing.

But it doesn't have to be that way. With the power of zoning, cities can prevent commercial along some arterials and zone for other uses. Commercial activity can be "squared off" into shopping centers like, for example, Highland Park Village in Dallas. You can walk to it if you live close enough, but if you drive, you arrive, and there's a lot to do before you get back in your car. I hate to say it, but malls work the same way. (For a nice little history of HPV: http://www.hpvillage.com/history.html )

If we get a lot of cross traffic and such off the arterials, then one can make steady progress on them. But don't get me started on service roads.

As to North Tarrant. First word, jobs. Alliance has the third highest job concentration in Fort Worth. Some people choose to live (sort of) near work.
Second word, cheap housing. OK, that's two words. But with the telecom boom in Collin County and North Dallas County, housing became expensive over there and people ended up in Northeast Tarrant. Still sort of close to work, but a lot less costly. And they probably first checked it out on a weekend when the I-820 and/or SR 170 traffic was light. Rude shock on that first commute? And by the way, SR 170 is just service roads right now with the space in between slated to become a freeway. So, yes, that part of the region is still anticipating more freeways, and building for them.

I can't explain the growth on the fringes, or, for that matter, our rate of growth at all. Who ARE all these people?

#60 ghughes

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Posted 30 August 2004 - 09:57 PM

Gosh, Johnny, we're writing at the same time!

I don't care about the tolls on the road being used elsewhere. I was just illustrating how much things have changed in the toll road busiiness. But the Guatamala crack actually refers to the fact that, by charter, the NTTA theoretically must pave every square inch of its territory before its job is done.

#61 Dismuke

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Posted 30 August 2004 - 11:10 PM

I was on a privately owned toll road in Orange County, CA a couple of weeks ago, and it had time of day pricing (more at rush hour, less at off peak).

Wow! I was not aware that any private toll roads existed. That's really neat. Do you remember the name of the toll road? I would be interested in looking up more about it.

But the really snazzy ones will measure congestion on the road and vary the tolls to use price resistance to regulate traffic. As the price rises, more people decide to use an alternate route


That's something that I had never thought of. But it is a very interesting idea. I suspect, however, for most people, the choice will be along the lines of "leave now or later?" as often as it is "which route should I take?"

For example, let's say that my commute home on a weekend when there is little traffic takes only 30 minutes. Let's also say that same commute on free, non-tollway highways typically takes 60 minutes during the week and on days when it is extremely heavy due to weather or Friday night high school football (the commute home from Irving on Fridays in the fall can be an absolute bear sometimes) it can take up to 90 minutes.

Now, if the highway were, instead, one of the congestion regulating tollroads, the pricing would automatically be set so that people could make that trip in 30 minutes regardless of what hour of the day it is. In other words, I would be able to leave at 5:30 and make it home by 6:00 instead of 6:30 or even sometimes 7:00 as I currently do. Lets say the normal 5:30 rush hour toll is $5. Now let's say that traffic is unusually busy one day and the rate goes up to $10 at 5:30. I still have the option of being at home at 6:00 if it is worth the extra $5 to me - and there are occasions when it probably would be worth it for some people such as being on time for a child's school play or an anniversary date with one's spouse. On the other hand, if I didn't want to pay the extra money, I could simply wait at the office until the toll price drops back down to $5. If the price goes down at 6:00 or 6:30, I am really no worse off than I am today in terms of the time I make it home. Unlike today, however, I would actually have a choice to be at home at 6:00 if I really wanted to. And, unlike today, if I took the option of getting home later, I could at least wait in the comfort of the office doing something productive instead of wasting time being stuck in bumper-to-bumber traffic.

I suppose they will need to post the price prominantly before you enter the ramp, to be fair.


Actually, in this day and age, one way of doing it would be to have the current pricing transmitted in real time over the Internet and web enabled mobile phones. Doing something like that would help reduce traffic even more because people could make a decision before they got out of the driveway or parking lot. For example, I am very fortunate in that I do not have to be at work at any specified time each day. So if I looked at my computer or phone before I left the house and discovered that the price of my commute had gone up double what it normally would cost, unless I had something urgent going on at a specific time that morning that I absolutely had to be there for, I would probably just make myself another cup of tea and catch up on some reading until the price dropped back down. That would basically mean one less car on the road thereby taking off the pricing pressure on those who had a much greater urgency to be somewhere on time. And higher daytime weekday tolls in general would also encourage those who don't work (retirees, home makers, etc) to run their errands at off peak times when tolls are cheaper.

That other people are proposing and apparently even implementing such things is very refreshing. Hopefully it is the start of a trend of policy makers beginning to grasp the principles of free market economics and finally starting to think outside the tired, failed paradigm of socialist style central planning.
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#62 ghughes

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Posted 31 August 2004 - 04:58 AM

Here's an article about two private toll roads in CA, but one has since been turned over to the state with the private company still operating it.
http://www.rppi.org/...atollraods.html
And here's CalTrans on the public/private story in general:
http://www.dot.ca.go.../toll/index.htm

The toll roads are demonstration projects and I don't know if they've demonstrated success or not. In the case of one road the state improved a nearby parallel free highway which pulled customers from the tollroad. I think that would show that as long as government is a competitor a private concern will be in an unfair position.

You will note that in the first article it mentions setting tolls to "high enough levels to ensure rush-hour speeds of 65 mph." But they don't do a spectrum like what we've discussed so there are times that they lose customers by having prices too high, I'm sure.

#63 normanfd

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Posted 31 August 2004 - 02:11 PM

Texas used to have a private toll road. The 22-mile Camino Colombia Toll Road between the Colombia Solidarity bridge over the small stretch of the river where Texas borders Nuevo León and I-35 north of Laredo opened in 2000. The $85 million project was designed by Carter & Burgess. The road closed in January when lenders foreclosed. The state purchased the road in May for $20 million with the intention of reopening it as a state-owned tollway.

#64 mosteijn

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Posted 31 August 2004 - 04:05 PM

As to North Tarrant. First word, jobs. Alliance has the third highest job concentration in Fort Worth. Some people choose to live (sort of) near work.
Second word, cheap housing. OK, that's two words. But with the telecom boom in Collin County and North Dallas County, housing became expensive over there and people ended up in Northeast Tarrant. Still sort of close to work, but a lot less costly. And they probably first checked it out on a weekend when the I-820 and/or SR 170 traffic was light. Rude shock on that first commute? And by the way, SR 170 is just service roads right now with the space in between slated to become a freeway. So, yes, that part of the region is still anticipating more freeways, and building for them.

I can't explain the growth on the fringes, or, for that matter, our rate of growth at all. Who ARE all these people?

Well, I highly doubt 170 becoming a freeway for that short little section will promote much of anything, but thanks for at least proving that rampant sprawl will happen freeway plans or not. Alliance resulted in sprawl ten times as fast/worse as the SW Parkway will (if there's any land left, mind you), but I doubt many people will argue that jobs are bad.

People just have the preconceived notion that all highways are evil, and that doesn't have to be the case. The SW Parkway won't even be that big, only 6 lanes inside the loop and 4 lanes outside, and if these developers are truly looking at highway planning before they decide where to build, I think they'll look at the SW Parkway as more of a luxury rather than a convenience to their clients. But that's not going to be the reason they decide to build here, there are a dozen other reasons that come more into play than some line on a paper...

But it doesn't have to be that way. With the power of zoning, cities can prevent commercial along some arterials and zone for other uses. Commercial activity can be "squared off" into shopping centers like, for example, Highland Park Village in Dallas. You can walk to it if you live close enough, but if you drive, you arrive, and there's a lot to do before you get back in your car. I hate to say it, but malls work the same way. (For a nice little history of HPV: http://www.hpvillage.com/history.html )


Isn't that the same exact thing as University Park Village (only historic and much more upscale)?

#65 ghughes

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Posted 02 September 2004 - 06:15 AM

Highland Park Village has all stores facing inward and underground parking. It's also quite walkable. It does not have acres of parking in the middle and acres of parking around it.

But we digress.

From today's Star-Telegram:

"The three cities are battling over land along the route of proposed Texas Hwy. 121.

Joshua contends that Cleburne and Burleson don't want their smaller neighbor to have the land with potential for development. But the two larger cities denied the claim."

Story at: http://www.dfw.com/m...cal/9556664.htm

It's about outward development, folks.

Monday afternoon I had a meeting in the Medical District. Afterwards, I got into my car at 5:05 and arrived at my destination on the south side of Benbrook at 5:35. According to the NTTA's own study, the SW Parkway would have saved me 5 minutes. Still can't find a justification for $60 million from Fort Worth and $250 million from state and federal taxes for 5 minutes.

#66 Buck

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Posted 02 September 2004 - 06:50 AM

I bet those people in Cleburne and Burleson can find plenty of justification for state and federal support!

The question is whether Fort Worth wlll profit if folks in Johnson County can shop here easily and commute to TCU or the Cultural District easily.

I have a little bit of heartburn over underwriting Johnson County development, too. I also want better highway access for Fort Worth folks in that new Parker County development and up northwest.

But generally, I think people are going to choose Cleburne and Burleson no matter what we do. I think it is essential to build some sort of tollway or thoroughfare to bring people from Southwest Fort Worth and Johnson County into Fort Worth.

#67 mosteijn

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Posted 02 September 2004 - 02:59 PM

Still can't find a justification for $60 million from Fort Worth and $250 million from state and federal taxes for 5 minutes.

And I still can't find justification that today's sprawl hurts urban growth.

#68 ghughes

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Posted 03 September 2004 - 06:00 AM

And I still can't find justification that today's sprawl hurts urban growth.

I think both concepts (sprawl and urban growth) have too little definition to allow for rigorous proof of cause and effect. Even if there was a clear definition of sprawl, there are too many variable at work to say that sprawl causes anything by itself.

What can be said, however, is that policies that promote sprawl can have adverse effects on the urban core (i.e. tax structures, spending priorities, etc) because some aspects of policy involve a zero-sum game. I tend to be more concerned with air quality, and again sprawl by itself does not impact air quality. Sprawl that is exclusively automotive dependent (such as ours) will have adverse air quality effects, but if we had all electric cars with high-quality pollution controls on remote power plants, or we all rode bicycles to work, sprawl really wouldn't harm air quality.

As with many other issues, overly broad or vague terms limit discussion quality. For example, questions of "liberal" or "conservative" tend to be like shouting matches whereas good discussion can be had if there is focus on a specific issue like imposing an income tax or the need for reporters to have confidential sources.

#69 mosteijn

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Posted 03 September 2004 - 03:53 PM

"Joshua contends that Cleburne and Burleson don't want their smaller neighbor to have the land with potential for development. But the two larger cities denied the claim."

It's about outward development, folks.

BUT, have you noticed the incredible amount of growth that has already been going on there without the tollway (Johnson County has been growing fast since before it was seriously being proposed). Like I said, there are plenty of other reasons an area can and will grow besides tollway plans.

Monday afternoon I had a meeting in the Medical District. Afterwards, I got into my car at 5:05 and arrived at my destination on the south side of Benbrook at 5:35. According to the NTTA's own study, the SW Parkway would have saved me 5 minutes. Still can't find a justification for $60 million from Fort Worth and $250 million from state and federal taxes for 5 minutes.


What route did you take to get to Benbrook? However, it's not really supposed to benefit that much from the SW Parkway anyways. My commute to school, a mere 6.something miles from my house on Granbury, takes an average of 20 minutes, not including traffic on Forest Park near Paschal. Is 20 minutes too long to go 7 miles? Heck, some days due to traffic it takes me 30 minutes...

Furthermore, it takes me 30 minutes to get downtown (a little less than 10 miles) on a non-rush hour day even if I take the freeway. I wonder how long that commute is for people that do use the freeways during rush hour? Is shaving 20 minutes off their commute (and keeping them living in Fort Worth) not worth spending 60 million dollars?

#70 ghughes

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Posted 03 September 2004 - 05:21 PM

I used I-35 and I-820.

Traffic studies show SW Pkwy making a difference of 5-7 minutes on a one-way trip over existing routes to Benbrook and Cityview from downtown. From Granbury Road area it's roughly the same.

Is shaving 20 minutes off their commute (and keeping them living in Fort Worth) not worth spending 60 million dollars?

There is no indication of saving 20 minutes anywhere. But a radial freeway will allow and encourage people to live in Johnson County, which so far is not part of Fort Worth.

#71 mosteijn

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Posted 03 September 2004 - 05:46 PM

I think I know where the problem is. I bet the "studies" took average time saved, which is quite misleading. I want to see studies for average time saved during rush hour, which is where I got the 20 minutes figure from (it's not official, I was just estimating).

#72 normanfd

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Posted 08 September 2004 - 01:55 PM

In an earlier post, I mentioned the Camino Colombia toll road being taken over from private interests by the state. Apparently, the state has reopened that roadway today.

Star-Telegram article

#73 Thurman52

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Posted 06 April 2005 - 09:09 PM

From this week's FtW Business Press....

Granger challenges Parkway
Michael Whiteley 04.APR.05

Under fire for her vision of Trinity Vision, U.S. Rep. Kay Granger has written a letter questioning the environmental and historic impact of a second major Fort Worth project: Southwest Parkway.

The Republican Congresswoman and former Cowtown mayor wrote Federal Highway Administration chief Mary E. Peters on March 24 and raised questions about the proposed roadway that Peter’s agency officially calls “SH-121T.”



The $325 million toll road and freeway will stretch from Interstate 30 and Summit Avenue in the heart of Fort Worth to Cleburne, with the city responsible for its share of the toll road stretching from I-30 and Summit to Altamesa Boulevard/Dirks Road.

It will travel 15 miles through Tarrant County and then on to Johnson County and could be completed by late 2008.

TxDOT, the city and the Austin consultant hired to shepherd the 22-year-old project through the state and federal bureaucracy, are waiting for the final “record of decision” on the project from Peter’s agency.

That is expected in May. Once delivered, state officials can begin acquiring right of way.

On June 15, North Texas falls under a new set of environmental rules imposed on the nine counties of the region because of failure to meet ozone standards.

Granger, a longtime supporter of the project, declined through a spokesman to discuss the letter, which project proponents fear could extend approval beyond June 15 and trigger review under new federal standards.

In fact, Granger’s letter warns that the project will be subjected to a second environmental review if Peters’ agency doesn’t act by June 15.

Granger asks why planners didn’t apply agency standards meant to prevent damage to historic sites along the new highway and or to the Trinity River trails it will cross.

Granger asks for the information the agency used in “determining how and why this new highway project would not have a negative impact on air quality?”

And she wants to know if the public will have a chance to respond to Peters’ answers before the record of decision is issued.

Granger writes that she’s had an interest in the project for 15 years as mayor and as the representative from the 12th Congressional District. Those discussions involved years of public meetings and involvement by a series of neighborhood groups.

In an interview last fall, Mayor Mike Moncrief said neighborhood opposition to the project appeared to be ending following a series of compromises he says will insure that the limited-access expressway reflects the character of the areas through which it passes.

The environmental impact statement is complete, and the council gave final approval to the project in 2004 after voters agreed to spend $49.5 million of a $273.5 million bond package to help underwrite the city’s share of the road.

Granger said she was writing on behalf of her constituents.

“These constituents represent neighborhoods abutting the project and they have been actively involved,” Granger wrote. “They have questions and concerns that have been asked during the public meetings and in letters, but they need a better understanding ...”

Copies of the letter were faxed to Mayor Mike Moncrief and City Manager Charles Boswell’s office on March 28, according to records obtained by the Fort Worth Business Press.

The letter caused a flurry of phone calls that reached Mike Weaver, the consultant with Austin-based Prime Strategies Inc.; Michael Morris, transportation director for the North Central Texas Council of Governments; and Charles Conrad, deputy district engineer for TxDOT in North Texas.

None predicted in interviews the letter would have a significant impact on the project. Nor could any of the officials involved explain the reason for Granger’s 11th-hour letter.

Boswell said he met with Assistant City Manager Marc Ott, the city’s point person on the project, and other staffers to discuss Granger’s letter.

“I’m talking with the staff, particularly Marc Ott. He advised me that most if not all of these questions have been raised before and, he believes, sufficiently answered,” Boswell said. “The bottom line is he didn’t think there is anything new here.”

“I think on behalf of her people she’s asking the same questions raised back in December,” Weaver said. “ I don’t think it will have a negative impact on where we are and where we’re going.”

Conrad said TxDOT obtained a copy of the letter and reviewed it. He said state highway officials were told the Austin area office of the Federal Highway Administration is drafting a response.

An FHA spokesperson in Washington, D.C. would say only that her agency is aware of the letter and is preparing a response.

The North Central Texas Council of Governments has been a major player in planning the project. Morris, among other things, has tracked its relationship to the air quality of the nine counties considered non-compliant under with EPA standards.

Based on ozone averages recorded in the region over eight-hour periods, Tarrant and its neighboring counties will be subjected to a more stringent set of standards on June 15.

But Morris said the Southwest Parkway meets the old and new guidelines and hasn’t changed as a project since it was compared to existing standards.

“The project is not contingent on this new air-quality analysis, so I believe there would be no impact to the project as a result of the June 15 deadline,” he said.

Significantly, the EPA and federal highway officials measure a road’s impact by two sets of standards. Ozone impact applies across the region. But officials look at specific projects based on their production of carbon monoxide.

That pollution is worst in clusters of stop-and-go traffic on congested highways such as Hulen Street and Bryant Irvin Road. The parkway will run between the two highways as a faster, cleaner, north-south alternative, he said.

He said the project has already passed air-quality muster.

“Emission rates are very high at under 25 miles per hour, and especially in stop-and-go traffic,” Morris said. “They start to go up again at 65 or 70 miles an hour. But it’s a much flatter rise.

“The horrible congestion on Hulen and Bryant Irvin is bad from the standpoint of stop-and-go traffic and hard acceleration,” he said. “The geometrics of (Southwest Parkway) don’t allow for excessively high speed. But people will be shocked at how little time it will take to go from Hulen to downtown.”

No one would comment on the politics behind the surprise controversy. Some involved in the project say they’ve been told that Granger was angered by questions posted by city council members during recent meetings dealing with the $435 million plan to create Trinity Uptown.

With bond money approved by the voters in February 2004, and with the help of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the project would create a bypass channel for the Trinity River north of downtown. In turn, that would carve out an 800-acre island for mixed-use development and a new Town Lake between downtown and the Fort Worth Stockyards.

Granger’s press aide, Pat Svacina, said the letter makes no mention of Trinity Uptown, a part of the 88-mile Trinity Vision project Granger conceived.

But he declined to ask her whether recent opposition by property owners and some council members triggered her Southwest Parkway concerns. He said Granger wouldn’t discuss the matter further with a reporter.

“She stands by her letter,” Svacina said.



Contact Whiteley at mwhiteley@bizpress.net

#74 ghughes

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Posted 11 June 2005 - 07:17 AM

OOPS!
:D
From today's Startlegram:

Cost for Southwest Parkway now pegged at $820 million

By Gordon Dickson

Star-Telegram Staff Writer

Southwest Parkway may cost more than twice the previous estimate and may need to be scaled back, delayed or built in phases, a toll road official revealed Friday.

The parkway from Interstate 30 to Dirks Road/Altamesa Boulevard is now expected to cost $820 million, up from $350 million, said Allan Rutter, executive director of the North Texas Tollway Authority.

Construction was supposed to start soon and be finished as early as 2008. But the tollway authority now believes that it cannot build both the Southwest Parkway and the eastern Dallas County extension of the President George Bush Turnpike as currently drawn, Rutter said.

"We may need to take a little time to get it figured out," he said.

Dallas County officials say it wouldn't be fair to build Southwest Parkway as is while gutting or delaying the Bush turnpike project -- which originally was expected to cost $440 million but now may be $782 million.

"It will not be appealing to people to have their tolls raised to pay for these projects," Dallas County Judge Margaret Keliher said.

Fort Worth-area officials declined to comment.

The increased costs included inflation, increased traffic projections and a more accurate estimate of contingency funds, Rutter said.

The revised cost estimate, which could force Tarrant County leaders to reopen years of discussion about the the parkway's aesthetics, came about a week before the Federal Highway Administration was expected to give final paperwork clearance to the road.

And it came five days before the tollway authority's annual trek to Fort Worth. The agency's monthly meeting is slated for Wednesday morning at the Modern Art Museum.

Southwest Parkway is expected to be a key subject of discussion.

#75 safly

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Posted 11 June 2005 - 08:43 AM

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?

View Post


I've driven it during peak rush, in transit to SA via 377 to 281 S. :blink:

This "problem" can easily be avoided and solved all at the same time. The congestion is due to bottlenecking and light timing for the most part. I encourage the transportation adm. and Tarrant County to seek less costly measures in deterring this 1 negative result of poor planning.

One alternative in mind works wonders in S. California, namely Los Angeles County. Over there out west, they use a timed traffic light (Red to Green) and seperate HOV lane(s) for major highway onramp access in dense areas. Light timing is calibrated for peak and non-peak hours according to LOCAL traffic. Love it, love it, love it. Need more HOV lanes on the Tarrant County highway(s) is another. Have a safe trip! Please send pic's. B)
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#76 safly

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Posted 11 June 2005 - 09:00 AM

Dallas County officials say it wouldn't be fair to build Southwest Parkway as is while gutting or delaying the Bush turnpike project -- which originally was expected to cost $440 million but now may be $782 million.

"It will not be appealing to people to have their tolls raised to pay for these projects," Dallas County Judge Margaret Keliher said.

Fort Worth-area officials declined to comment.


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#77 SouthSideAllan2000

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Posted 16 June 2005 - 12:51 PM

I saw this today on WFAA.com it has an aerial picture of a big field with a bunch of billboards lined up in the middle of it kinda funny, the gray text is the caption for the picture.



Two toll roads take priority in North Texas
05:33 PM CDT on Wednesday, June 15, 2005
By KARIN KELLY / WFAA-TV

The North Texas Tollway Authority met Tuesday to focus on the future of two roads that are vital to future growth in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and beyond.

WFAA-TV
Billboards have sprouted along the George Bush Turnpike extension route before the start of any construction.


In Dallas County, there is the planned eastern extension of the President George Bush Turnpike, and in Tarrant and Johnson counties there is the long-awaited Southwest Parkway. The price tags for both are up tremendously, and now some in Tarrant County worry that its planned toll road might lose out to the one in the works for Dallas County.

The roads through south Fort Worth grow more congested every day, even into Johnson County.

"It's backed up," one driver said. "People drive crazy."

By 2020, the planned Southwest Parkway could carry 66,000 vehicles a day. The eight-mile toll road will run southwest from downtown across the Trinity between Hulen and Bryant Irvin to Dirks Road.

This week the federal government gave the green light to the toll road after 30 years of planning, but now that the cost has more than doubled some worry the parkway will compete with the eastern expansion of the Bush Turnpike.

NTTA chairman David Blair worked to calm any fears about a North Texas toll road rivalry.

"Will Fort Worth be pitted against Dallas in the building? Absolutely not, absolutely not," Blair said.

The George Bush expansion will cost 70 percent more, but it's closer to construction. It will run through Garland, Rowlett and Sachse before terminating at Interstate 30 near Lake Ray Hubbard.

The tollway authority chairman, along with TxDOT, promised funding will be found for both new roads - and the parkway may even be extended.

"Cleburne didn't make a lot of sense two years ago, but it makes great sense today," said Blair.

The cost of concrete, steel and style goes up each year. Many say there's no time to waste.

#78 ghughes

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Posted 16 June 2005 - 10:30 PM

The last time I saw any numbers the NTTA was only putting about $100 million into the SW Pkwy project based on their ability to sell and repay bonds from toll revenue. I'd be very interested to know who is supposed to pony up the added $500 million that has been discovered this week. While the total cost has doubled, if the NTTA is expected to cover the added cost it would represent a 6-fold increase to them. Frankly, I can't see it.

And does it strike anyone as strange that the Startlegram hasn't published any breakdowns of costs or contributions on this? After all, next to the FWISD real estate dealings, this cost jump is the biggest public financial story in quite some time. Where did the increases come from? Who is paying what on the project? With the cost increase, who can be expected to pay more?

Schnurman, where art thou?

#79 360texas

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Posted 17 June 2005 - 07:09 AM

I agree. With out more cost detail, its difficult to understand the source of the increase. It might have been something simple as someone adding on a muliplyer factor of 3% per year for 100 years... OH MY look at the cost increase (sticker shock tactics). I say that number unrealistic at this point. They are only ESTIMATES anyway.

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#80 Thurman52

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Posted 17 June 2005 - 07:12 AM

I guess I am confused and maybe some of you may clarify...

Land Cost went up... the S-T reported the CFW paid for 146acres of land in April "the largest required chunk" I would think most landowner would sell cheap to get frontage of a freeway for development

The state is for the interchanges at 20 and 30 are those now included in the total cost or did the orginal published cost only include the mainlanes

Did they not just recently agree to expand to 6 lanes, that adds costs..

The CFW is using this project a pork barrel to improve roads they should be doing all along.. Hulen St Bridge over Trninty is included in cost of SW Tollway, same w/ many road ext in the Edwards Ranch.

I strongly suspect if you just look at cost of mainlanes, tollbooths etc the cost is more in line with what is expected..

#81 youngalum

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Posted 17 June 2005 - 09:16 AM

Don't forget all the added costs b/c Ft. Worth wanted a unique design that slows traffic, has more trees and green spaces. It is not the same road design as the North Dallas Tollway or George Bush.

Fort Worth officials might design its tollway out of existance. No one too blame but ourselves and Wendy Davis.

#82 ghughes

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Posted 17 June 2005 - 10:31 AM

Fort Worth officials might design its tollway out of existance. No one too blame but ourselves and Wendy Davis.

I would substitute the word "credit" for "blame,'" but otherwise agree. This road was originally supposed to be a "parkway" which, in common English, carries certain meaning. Of course, in newspeak, "parkway" is just part of the name.

Regardless, there are a lot of us who do not want a George Bush Turnpike running through near SW Fort Worth. Frankly, once one gets into the Cityview wasteland it can look like whatever as far as I'm concerned... that area's been trashed already and can't be further damaged. In fact, one might argue that bare slabs of concrete would be appropriate to maintain design consistency. But close in, better no road than a bad road!

#83 Sam Stone

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Posted 17 June 2005 - 12:39 PM

Here's a question for you Greg: Why can't the tollway just extend south from 820? Let the developers and Cityview have their stupid land grab tollway and make it dead end at 820? Drivers want to go downtown, they can get off the highway, or take 820 around to 30 or 35. Has this ever been discussed as an option? Seems like it would be a good compromise.

#84 JBB

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Posted 17 June 2005 - 01:32 PM

I've always wondered myself why that option hasn't been entertained. I assume that little, if any, of the traffic congestion on Hulen, University, Bryant Irvin, etc. inside Loop 820 is made up of people making the trip home to Crowley or Cleburne. As such, I don't see how the toll road does anything to relieve local traffic.

#85 ghughes

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Posted 17 June 2005 - 06:11 PM

The open land inside the loop is owned by Geren and Edwards in various ways. Its value will increase dramatically if the road is built inside the loop.

Outside the loop the road would run primarily though Bass land.

This is not about transportation, it's about development and who profits. As long as all the major players make money, the road has support. If some drop off, the road has less support. That's the political side.

#86 Sam Stone

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Posted 18 June 2005 - 09:16 AM

I've known who the owners were. In fact, I've heard that the Bass land extends pretty deep into Johnson County. But it seems like most of the land inside the loop would be purchased through eminent domain. It's a fairly wide ROW and most of the surrounding land is already developed. I can't see them making much money except for the sale to the NTTA for the ROW, which is a lot of money but is only a one-time sale. Am I right about this? I can see this thing being built 20 years ago and making these guys a mint (as if they hadn't already), but now a good portion of the road is through developed land.

Ever heard the saying, "Downtown for show, Cityview for dough?"

#87 ghughes

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Posted 18 June 2005 - 11:28 AM

Never heard of that, Sam.

There are hundreds of acres beyond what the road will take, and it will change from agricultural use to heavy commercial, office, multifamily and some single family.

But as to development, theland between Vickery and the Trinity River will have a brand-new interchange and a bridge over the river to Hulen/Stonegate. That access will make that land much more developable than it is currently with only a single point of access (unused) from Bryant Irvin.

South of the river there is really a lot of land to be developed. Of course, Bellaire could have already provided access but the city has never pushed it through. And access has been available from Arborlawn or Bryant Irvin. But a freeway? Much better access, much more value increase.

#88 Thurman52

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Posted 19 June 2005 - 09:14 AM

So is Edwards/Geren selling the ROW or donating it b/c of the future value?

#89 Buck

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Posted 19 June 2005 - 05:48 PM

The donation depends on the development potential.

#90 Urbndwlr

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Posted 19 June 2005 - 11:21 PM

I understand how the improved access could enhance the land value of some currently isolated parcels of land. What is less certain, however, is that driving an expressway through a large swath of quiet, virgin forest would enhance its value - even if you only value it by looking at it purely quantitatively - as land that can be sold for residential development. I would argue that the increased pollution and noise would threaten the potential of the Edwards land.

Unless the NTTA and City of Fort Worth are planning on doing something really stupid and building frontage/access roads along this expressway. I haven't seen the plans, but any justification of this project by pointing to enhanced total land value due to the development of frontage roads is a total farce.

Any development along a frontage road simply cannibalizes the business conducted on parallel retail corridors (in this case - Hulen Street). They suck the life out of cities' retail boulevards and place them on the freeways. Brilliant, forward-thinking planning there, right?

#91 ghughes

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Posted 20 June 2005 - 04:57 AM

Elimination of frontage roads from the design was one of the significant changes from original concept.

As to justifying the project:
1) The land owners will reap the benefits while the public pays for the improvements, so the land owners can certainly justify it and,
2) There has NEVER been an effort to justify the project in either economic or in transportation terms. The project has simply been declared to be necessary by people who know absolutely nothing about financial analysis or transportation planning. The elected officials involved have ordered their staffs, who could do analysis, to support the project. Therefore, you will find nothing accomplished by TxDOT, NTTA, NCTCOG, or the City of Fort Worth that demonstrates cost-benefit justification. You will also find nothing from any of those entities that demonstrates that the SH121T corridor is the place in Tarrant County most in need of congestion relief. That is, there is no prioritization based on congestion.

So, if you seek the rational, do not look at this project. I have been through the numbers and have clearly poiinted out that this is indeed a farce. And I have not been alone in doing that. What has been an interesting experience is finding out that rational logic can be ignored in the political arena if it doesn't fit with the appropriate viewpoint. The proponents of the road have simply been able, through political access, to carry the day (so far).

#92 Sam Stone

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Posted 20 June 2005 - 08:36 AM

I actually met with some of the senior NTTA staff several years ago and they told me that this project would create more traffic and congestion.

Elimination of frontage roads from the design was one of the significant changes from original concept.

As to justifying the project:
1) The land owners will reap the benefits while the public pays for the improvements, so the land owners can certainly justify it and,
2) There has NEVER been an effort to justify the project in either economic or in transportation terms. The project has simply been declared to be necessary by people who know absolutely nothing about financial analysis or transportation planning. The elected officials involved have ordered their staffs, who could do analysis, to support the project. Therefore, you will find nothing accomplished by TxDOT, NTTA, NCTCOG, or the City of Fort Worth that demonstrates cost-benefit justification. You will also find nothing from any of those entities that demonstrates that the SH121T corridor is the place in Tarrant County most in need of congestion relief. That is, there is no prioritization based on congestion.

So, if you seek the rational, do not look at this project. I have been through the numbers and have clearly poiinted out that this is indeed a farce. And I have not been alone in doing that. What has been an interesting experience is finding out that rational logic can be ignored in the political arena if it doesn't fit with the appropriate viewpoint. The proponents of the road have simply been able, through political access, to carry the day (so far).

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#93 safly

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Posted 20 June 2005 - 11:57 PM

Agreed on the toll road frontage sucking the life out of city retail corridors BIT. I think this issue needs some more attention or "esplainin to do" from the Cons side of the table. Enough with the Pros, these folks think that FW and the surrounding towns are going to be the next Collin/Plano/ and dallas County triangle, and quickly. LOL! :wacko:

(Whew! HOLD UP! I'm getting light headed and wheezy from all that rollin. :wacko: Hate when that happens.)

Anyways. I would hate for this to be a non issue from OUR elected officials.

Is this a necessary step to benefit FW as a whole? Or is FW trying to equalize itself with our neighbors to the east? :o

Perhaps we can get some Senior NTTA officials to present the "cost justifications" explanation of the SH121T to the Forumers at our next rally. ;)
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#94 JBB

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Posted 27 October 2005 - 09:17 PM

WFAA ran a story tonight that the proponents of 121T can't be happy about. Here's the online story:

Toll increase plan has drivers asking 'Why us?'

10:13 PM CDT on Thursday, October 27, 2005

By BRAD WATSON / WFAA-TV


WFAA-TV
The increase in toll could have some paying an extra $8.00 to $10.00 a month.
The Dallas North Tollway and the George Bush Turnpike are rivers of steel, concrete and cash.

But, the North Texas Tollway Authority said it may need more of that cash for two new projects. And to get that cash, they plan on higher tolls.

The two projects include the eastern extension of the George Bush Turnpike in northeast Dallas County and a new project that includes a separate toll road at Southwest Parkway in Fort Worth.

"Today we may be using some money out of Dallas or Collin," said Chuck Silcox, Fort Worth pro tem. "But tomorrow, Denton, Collin or Dallas could literally be utilizing the profits off of Southwest Parkway."

NTTA is looking at increasing the toll for a one way trip on the Dallas North Tollway from $2.10 to $2.30. For the commuter making a daily round trip over an average 21 work days in a month, that's more than an $8.00 increase.

On the Bush Turnpike, one way could go from $3.00 to $3.25. A daily round trip over 21 work days in that area would mean a $10.00 per month jump.

Finding supportive from toll way drivers wasn't easy.

"This is Dallas," said one driver. "Let Fort Worth pay for Fort Worth."

Another driver also expressed annoyance at the plan.

"I don't go over to Fort Worth," he said.

Those drivers seem to have a political ally in Dallas County Judge Margaret Keliher.

"Since tolls are user fees, they ought not to have to be paying for a project that they are not going to use," Keliher said

Keliher claims Southwest Parkway should be self supporting. But, Silcox didn't agree.

"And to charge a toll that would make it self supporting would make it astronomical," he said.

But Keliher said there has already been a plan that has proven Silcox wrong.

"Robin Hood hasn't worked for education, and Robin Hood isn't going to work for transportation either," she said.


#95 safly

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Posted 28 October 2005 - 01:37 AM

QUOTE
Keliher claims Southwest Parkway should be self supporting. But, Silcox didn't agree.

"And to charge a toll that would make it self supporting would make it astronomical," he said.

But Keliher said there has already been a plan that has proven Silcox wrong.

"Robin Hood hasn't worked for education, and Robin Hood isn't going to work for transportation either," she said.




TOTALLY AGREE WITH THA JUDGE. Thanks for making that point LOUD AND CLEAR Mr. Wilcox. If there was ever a more reason to scrap it all, Mr. Wilcox has just made it PERFECTLY CLEAR.


Great point about "Robin Hood".
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#96 ghughes

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Posted 28 October 2005 - 05:07 AM

It's actually "Silcox" rather than Wilcox. But other than that... rotflmao.gif

As I was discussing with a fellow free-market thinker the other night, the cool thing about toll roads is that the marketplace actually determines whether the project is justified. In other words, if enough people will pay enough to finance the road, it can be built. If people won't (as is the case with SW Pkwy) then it won't. The exception here is that public funds ($400-500 million) are planned as a subsidy from taxpayers that won't be using the highway. And now NTTA is planning further subsidies from the Dallas & Collin County folks?

What a riot!

#97 JBB

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Posted 28 October 2005 - 09:19 AM

QUOTE

Early in the story:

"Today we may be using some money out of Dallas or Collin," said Chuck Silcox, Fort Worth pro tem. "But tomorrow, Denton, Collin or Dallas could literally be utilizing the profits off of Southwest Parkway."

Later in the story:

Keliher claims Southwest Parkway should be self supporting. But, Silcox didn't agree.


This was the funniest part of the story to me. If the project is never self-supporting, can it ever truly turn a profit?

#98 safly

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Posted 28 October 2005 - 10:20 AM

"FORKED TONGUE" that Wilcox, ehhh I mean Silcox. biggrin.gif

That is hilarious. And it is "ON THE RECORD" Funny. rotflmao.gif

I'm available for PR, if the price is right, and if they could sustain profits for paying my DEMANDING rate. biggrin.gif
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#99 John T Roberts

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Posted 12 November 2005 - 08:02 AM

I couldn't find this article in the online version of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, so I will paraphrase it.

The North Texas Tollway Authority is now considering building the Southwest Parkway as a toll road all the way to Cleburne. The original plan was to have tolls to be paid only on the stretch from Altamesa Blvd. (now Dirks Road) to I-30. The southern 15 miles from there to Cleburne would have been free. Also being considered is setting the toll high enough to help pay for a commuter rail line from Cleburne to Fort Worth.

#100 mosteijn

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Posted 12 November 2005 - 10:55 AM

Here's the link to the online article:

http://www.dfw.com/m...ws/13150950.htm

Sounds interesting, using tolls to pay for commuter rail...are there similarly funded projects elsewhere in the country?

Also, why so much FW spite from Dallas and Collin? Sure some of the tolls on their roads would go to help pay for FW's road (and other Dallas-area projects), but isn't building projects in other parts of the region the point of a regional tollway authority? Last time I checked, Fort Worth was a part of the Dallas/Fort Worth region. I know some people will say "so what?" because they don't particularly want another limited-access highway in Fort Worth, but putting tollway opinions aside, what if this was regional transit funding, or urban design funding? Would it not seem a bit unfair?




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