The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) recently announced a new plan called CityMAP which outlines the department’s initiatives to address Dallas’ current and future transportation issues. CityMAP, short for Dallas City Master Assessment Plan, constitutes a change in direction for TxDOT, which has a long tradition of attempting to resolve congestion issues by funding road-expansion projects. After years of mixed results, the department has decided a change in methodology was required.
A major finding emphasized by the report was the fact that many Dallas highways currently function as physical barriers that isolate neighborhoods, making them nearly inaccessible, and severely limiting economic opportunities. The report suggested that removing highways or highway sections, or applying modifications such as lowering highway might help improve access, which could in turn spur economic development.
The study projects that at its current growth rate, the number of drivers will surpass the capacity of the highway system by 2040, despite a number of active highway-expansion projects. Such research, combined with a new focus on urban development, has led to a shift from highway traffic, to city, or urban related traffic. The thought is that making the city more suitable for cyclists or pedestrians would cause citizens to walk or bike with greater frequency, which would decrease the overall number of cars on the road and improve traffic efficiency.
But how will complete abandonment of these highways impact the landowners who lost their property to the original highway construction? Subchapter E of the Texas Property Code may have the solution.
To view the Texas Landowner’s Bill of Rights, click here.