| From The Dallas Morning News- 1-15-15
by Roy Appleton
‘We don’t want this’
The meeting, organized by Dallas City Council members Scott Griggs and Dwaine Caraway, attracted about 80 people. Nineteen of them took turns standing before Nguyen, microphone in hand, to challenge project assumptions and plans.
“We don’t want this. We don’t want these tollways here. Not in Oak Cliff,” said Juanita Lozano, drawing an “amen” and applause from the crowd.
“You’re creating a system where people with means can zip from one end of this area to the other while they wave at the rest of us on the sidelines,” said Michael Amonett.
Others targeted the highway widening and the project’s necessity.
“Where will you get the additional land you need?” asked Alicia Quintans, who lives near I-35E and observes its daily traffic flow.
“There’s maybe two hours of the day when traffic is jumbled up on I-35,” she said, “and I don’t understand why we’re building these toll lanes for two hours of the day.”
After cynically thanking the project staff for “the use of our giraffe in your logo,” Bill Evans, the Dallas Zoo’s chief financial officer, said adding toll lanes to I-35E would make travel to the zoo more difficult and have “an adverse impact on the city of Dallas.”
Stan Aten blamed the highways’ congestion on “that [roadway] mess downtown.” He called for more focus on mass transit and for highway builders to “think cost effective,” as fuel-efficient vehicles cut into fuel-tax revenues and more young adults make do without cars.
“You need to be rethinking how you’re doing it,” he said, “not thinking about widening a road and hoping people use it.”
One speaker asked if the project had to go forward at all, or if it could be “turned off.”
“The no-build alternative is still out there,” said Dan Chapman, a vice president for the project’s design firm, HNTB.
Core questions remain.
“Can you tell me who wants this?” asked Judy Pollack. “Who is going to benefit? Who is going to make the money?”
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