The City of Dallas, once a powerful, sophisticated metropolis, began to lose its economic momentum to the suburbs in the 1970s. A number of factors contributed to the decline, but the most physical among them was the erection of elevated interstate highways right through the city center.
In 1964, the predecessor to TxDOT, with the blessing and encouragement of the City of Dallas and the Dallas business community rammed I-30 through the heart of Old East Dallas, leading to decades of decay. In 1971, I-345 was erected, cutting off Deep Ellum and Baylor from downtown Dallas. That same year, I-45 was elevated, destroying the old Spence neighborhood of South Dallas and separating one side of the southern sector from the other. This wasn’t an isolated phenomenon, unique to Dallas. Building elevated highways through cities—usually through the African American sections of cities—was considered progressive. Robert Moses famously led the effort in New York, and he was emulated by highway builders across the country.
Today, cities of all sizes are tearing down elevated highways. San Francisco has removed two. West Oakland forced the removal of the Cypress Street double-decked highway. New York took down the Elevated West Side Highway. Milwaukee have also removed highways, spurring economic growth.
Dallas can do it too.
The Coalition started in an effort to tear-down I-345. We believe that we can rebuild Dallas’ urban core by replacing I-345 with boulevards, and transforming the surrounding 245 acres largely defined by empty parking lots and undeveloped land into a mixed-income, mixed-use neighborhood that will generate jobs, create affordable housing, and improve the quality of life for all of Dallas’ residents. The Coalition’s fight to teardown highway I-345 and revitalize surrounding neighborhoods compelled TxDot to create CityMAP, a comprehensive stakeholder-driven study that analyzed transportation projects through the lens of mobility, economic development, and quality of life.
CityMAP ultimately concluded that tearing down I-345 would not only have a negligible effect on traffic, but it would create 40,000 jobs and generate $2.5 billion worth of development for project costs under $500 million.
What they’re saying: