Interesting, isn’t it, that the Morning News just happened to have a huge package of information about Dallas traffic being 5th-worst in the nation on what appears to be the fourth consecutive day of Trinity tollroad coverage? I didn’t see any mention of the tollroad in this package (although I have to admit I scanned, rather than read, the lengthy story, sidebar and graphics). And there’s no question that traffic is becoming worse here, and who really wants to waste 58 hours a year in traffic (according to the story, that’s what Dallas drivers are doing).

Of course, all of this bring to mind the issue of density vs. urban sprawl. Years ago, this area opted for sprawl, and Flower Mound, Plano and Rockwall can thank us for that decision to build new roads allowing people to (at one time) more quickly enter Dallas for employment and then just as quickly exit (with their tax dollars) to go home to the suburbs. But now that things are becoming congested to an epidemic level, let’s think about the solution before just knee-jerk building another road, toll or otherwise, to make it easier for the suburbanites to get home.

If we intelligently — and I do say intelligently rather than haphazardly — encourage more dense development in and around the center city and in and around some of our established neighborhoods, more drivers can be like you and me: Most of us aren’t wasting 58 hours a year in traffic, because we live relatively close to our offices. That wasn’t an accident, either: I don’t want to live in my car, so I chose to move close to where I wanted to work. And that was before it became an economic decision with high gas prices. If we don’t build more roads to the suburbs, many other people will make that same decision, too; not necessarily because they want to give up their envelope-sized suburban lots for the postage-stamp-sized lots here, but because they’ll grow tired of paying a fortune in gas to suck fumes on the road every day.

It’s time to re-evaluate the sprawl vs. density discussion. Now.

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