Dallas City Council Member: Adding Highway Lanes Is Pointless

Dallas City Councilman Scott Griggs says additional car capacity won't solve Dallas' congestion problem. Photo: ##http://transportationblog.dallasnews.com/archives/2012/04/another-downtown-highway-is-po.html## Dallas Morning News##

Scott Griggs.

We’ve written about the seedy good-old-boy network in Texas that, with naked self-interest, has lobbied for and built more, more, and MORE highways, even as public budgets and household pocketbooks struggle under the burden.

So it is with great admiration today that we recognize a voice of reason out of the Lone Star state: no, not Pedestrian Pete — Dallas City Council Member Scott Griggs.

Griggs set himself apart by criticizing plans to ram through a major new highway in downtown Dallas — which would add to the existing roster of six.

Rodger Jones at the Dallas Morning News’ Transportation Blog interviewed the self-styled “progressive pragmatist” this week:

Building the Trinity parkway would merely guarantee another congested highway, he said. “I’m not a supporter of the toll road.”

Several times Griggs referenced the phenomenon of latent demand — i.e., that free-flowing lanes attract cars like ants to a picnic. “Wherever you build, people will go.”

He said that makes it folly for central Dallas to try to build itself out of traffic gridlock.

“We are so addicted to the automobile,” Griggs said. “Adding lane capacity is like an obese person buying a bigger belt and saying he doesn’t have a weight problem.”

The key to tortured traffic is to balance out transportation among the various modes — car, trains, buses, walking, bicycling, etc.

“We’ve seen in city after city that people will use those choices,” Griggs said. “We need balanced capacity, not added capacity.”

Well said, council member!

Elsewhere on the Network today: The Transport Politic reports on the political balancing act that goes hand in hand with transit expansion in Atlanta. Mobilizing the Region reports that there’s a development boom going on around stations for the new busway planned for Connecticut. And Google Maps Bike There defends cyclists’ right to ride two abreast.