Commuter rail and DFW's transportation futureSorry about the late start to the blog this week. A little tip from me to you: if you can avoid it (and we couldn't), don't have multiple guests stay at your house while simultaneously having your foundation repaired, especially if such repair involves multiple large holes in your living room floor. Trust me, chaos will result.
Moving on, I came across this op-ed from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram on the future transportation options being explored for the DFW Metroplex. They are in the same hyper-growth boat as Houston (actually a bit faster), expected to grow from 5m in 2000 to 9m by 2030. Much of the article talks about the multiple routes Trans-Texas Corridor 35 might take coming up from San Antonio and Austin: west around Ft. Worth, east around Dallas, or right up the middle to DFW airport. Local leaders seem to want all three, and get the state or others to pay for it. Good luck with that. If they get it, Houston should demand the state essentially build the entire Grand Parkway, including connections to the port and IAH.
They seem to have a heavier emphasis on regional commuter rail than Houston, which, as I have said before, is a dangerously flawed strategy in sprawling metros with multiple job centers like Houston and the Metroplex - and the DFW job centers and residents are even more dispersed than Houston. They seem to have the same unsound logic routinely seen with commuter rail network plans:
- The belief that a suburban city connected to the rail network is the same as the employers and residents of that city being connected (even if 90%+ of them are more than a half-mile from the stops).
- The belief that because two points are connected by the rail network, people will make the trip, no matter how many transfers, waits, walks, and slow trains are required or how poorly the trip times compare to using their cars, or even a point-to-point HOV express bus for that matter.
Many local elected officials would like a more reliable, ongoing funding source such as a dedicated sales tax to finance expanded regional rail transit. But some statewide elected officials and legislators have balked at supporting legislation to enable that.No kidding. Maybe they see the folly? Even though it's a tad harsh and out-of-character for me, I think I'm going to have to blatently rip off a Clinton campaign slogan that should become the rallying cry for transit agencies everywhere:
"It's the door-to-door trip times, stupid."