You’re the North Texas Tollway Authority, so I get that you’re unlikely to walk a lot to clear your head. But as a minimal driver, I get plenty of walk/think time in.

I was re-reminded recently of your debacle in trying to put a useless tollway down the Trinity River – an automotive Schlitterbahn if you will. As I recall, no one seemed to want it except those who were building it and raking a profit from its operation. Not your finest hour.

But the other shoe no one really talks about is the fact that you were planning to mortgage your soul of tollways and their future revenue generation to secure the funds to pay for it (the part state and fed wouldn’t cough-up).  As I recall hearing, NTTA uses existing tollways and future tolls as “collateral” for more toll roads.  Fine, nothing unusual there.

But that “soul” seems to still be mortgageable. I have a better idea than sending it down a river.

When I think of the petroleum industry, I see them scrambling to ditch “oil” for the less burn-y “energy” just like another greasy business woke up one day as KFC. Both realized they were too narrowly defining themselves in unsustainable language. It’s time for NTTA to broaden its horizons too by replacing “tollway” with “transportation”.

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Dallas does everything big — including commutes.

According to a new Apartment List study, examining commuter data from 2005 and 2016, one in 45 commuters in the Dallas metro are “super commuters,” traveling 90 or more minutes to work each day, and the prevalence of super commuting is on the rise. The share of Dallas commuters who are making super commutes increased from 1.8 percent in 2005 to 2.2 percent in 2016, a 22.3 percent increase.

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Having a car can be expensive — beyond monthly car payments, there are costs associated with insurance, gas, oil changes, repairs, and parking. Even if you own a car, public transit is a great alternative means of commuting. You can avoid sitting in traffic and save on paying for parking in downtown Dallas. We’re featuring great apartments that are just a short walk from the closest DART station. These apartments will make your daily commute a breeze!

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Atlantic Cities Uber

 

(Photo: The Atlantic Cities)

Update: Here’s an online form to write to your city council person and tell them to leave Uber alone! http://www.ci.dallas.tx.us/forms/mcc/MCC_Mail_Form.htm

Living in a city has a lot to do with transportation. You want to get from A to B in the most convenient, safest way possible. In NYC, Boston, Chicago, and LA, you have tons of choices, including catching a ride from any of the hundreds of cabs that circulate through these cities.

So, what’s the problem? Well, try hailing a cab in Dallas and your question is answered. It is impossible to find a ride unless you call a cab dispatcher, and with more bars and restaurants popping up in downtown, and greater density in Uptown and the Park Cities, we need a way to find a ride when we are carless or shouldn’t otherwise drive. Public transit increases accessibility and desirability of urban areas, and Dallas just doesn’t have enough of it.

Uber ScreenThat’s why I really like the idea of Uber. In the age of smart phones, we have a serious need for a smart company such as this that connects a person desiring a service with a service provider, especially considering our dearth of public transit options and the lack of cabs in our growing urban core. It fills a gap left between light rail, bus service, and cab companies when it comes to ease of use and accessibility. Also, the guys who run Uber are ridiculously smart, using trip data from their app to discover trends that will help the company adapt and develop strategies. Brilliant stuff. Imagine what they could learn from Dallas …

What does Uber do? The service, which launched in Dallas a year ago, dispatches a car to your location via a smartphone app and GPS coordinates. Obviously, this irritates cab companies, but let’s be serious about one thing — Uber is serving a group of people that weren’t using cabs. And asking City Hall to cut Uber out of the equation, as this story from the Dallas Morning News suggests, is ridiculous.

Cab companies should compete with Uber in the new market the company has created for itself. Likewise, they shouldn’t be able to create a city-sanctioned monopoly in an urban area that already suffers from a severe lack of public transportation options. People obviously want Uber, as well as more accessible transit.

What do you think?