Community Design Fort Worth, a nonprofit collective of planners and designers, is pushing the Texas Department of Transportation to do something revolutionary with its plans to widen Interstate 30.
The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is conducting a corridor study of 12 miles of Interstate 30 between Interstate 820 and Chisholm Trail Parkway with the potential to widen the freeway for promised safety, mobility, and congestion benefits.
According to an article by Sandra Sadek for the Fort Worth Report, advocates hope the project could offer a chance to reconnect neighborhoods historically severed by the freeway.
“Since its creation 70 years ago, Interstate 30 West has divided Fort Worth’s mostly white and affluent neighborhoods from its racially diverse and lower-income neighborhoods,” writes Sadek. “Now, with the Texas Department of Transportation’s proposed expansion and work on I-30, Fort Worth advocates hope to use this opportunity to join communities previously separated by the interstate and create opportunities for economic growth across the city.”
State departments of transportation are infamous for promising congestion and safety benefits from freeway expansion despite a lack of evidence to back up their claims. TxDOT is responsible for one of the most infamous examples of a failed freeway widening, with the Katy Freeway in Houston.
The advocates described in the source article, however, are aware of those limitations, and are calling on TxDOT to innovate their freeway planning approach.
“Urban planners are looking at highways across the entire country, and seeing the impacts that that car-centric approach had for building those, not taking into consideration other users,” says Community Design Fort Worth Executive Director Ann Zadeh, as quoted in the article. “Now people are saying, ‘What can we do to do this better going forward?’ You live and learn and hopefully, you don’t repeat things that brought on negative consequences and take the opportunity to do better when you know better.”
“The $1.8 billion dollar project is split into two phases, with the first recommendations to be announced in early 2023,” adds Sadek for a benchmark to monitor the project moving forward.
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