LBJ Express earlier today released a video on facebook which clearly shows cars going the wrong way on the clover leaf ramps at “the completed interchange at 635 LBJ and Dallas North Tollway.”
This is so blatant that I have to ask if this is even the right video! Not only does the video clearly show cars going the wrong way but there do not appear to be any substantive changes to the current interchange at 635 LBJ and DNT. Maybe this is the “before” video, but if so then where is the “after”?!?
Further, if this is the actual “finished” video I have some other issues as well.
First, clover leafs (video problem aside!) are CONGESTION MAGNETS. The P.E.’s (Professional Engineers–its a professional designation the folks at TxDOT and Texas A&M are quite proud of, you know) know this. They admit it. They even point out that they teach this at Texas A&M University College of Engineering. They TEACH what causes congestion. Supposedly they teach THAT it causes congestion. I have not been informed by the #2 at TxDOT yet if they actually teach what MITIGATES (reduces) congestion. Only that they have this little green, two-volume that shows what CAUSES congestion. Progress, right?
Clover leafs are the four full-circle ramps leading from the north-south to the east-west road. Northbound to westbound, westbound to southbound, southbound to eastbound and eastbound to northbound. You can literally get on the cloverleafs and do this little “quatro-360,” although I’ve never actually tried it. I imagine it would probably cause a lot of incremental congestion having some dolt out on a clover leaf drive-by.
The problem with clover leafs is that, if you imagine driving through this intersection in any direction, you will see cars backing up in the right lane to exit onto the clover leaf to get on the other freeway. Unfortunately, at the same time these cars are getting over into the right lane to exit, there are other cars that are entering the freeway from the entrance ramp clover leaf. Remember–entrance ramp precedes the exit ramp–new traffic enters the freeway before exiting traffic departs. Equals congestion each and every single time. Always. Clear?
I even entered a report to the Sunset Commission and the Texas Legislature stating this would be the case–congestion would NOT be reduced on this or any of TxDOT’s “new” designs. So, suffice to say, I told you so. Sorry, Texans–I tried. This was all pre-Tea Party, though, and most of the rest of you were still pleasantly, blissfully “asleep,” to borrow your own terminology.
Then there’s the Managed Lanes in the new design. These are the lanes in the middle of 635 that act as a “tollway inside of a freeway.” Clever, really. These are acting as a way to quite literally profit from traffic congestion. Think about it. If you have ever driven 635 LBJ between Central Expressway and I-35 E Stemmons, where is the worst section of congestion? Between Preston Road and Midway Road, right? Centered on…the intersection of 635 LBJ and Dallas North Tollway, right?
So let’s see. We don’t change the clover leafs. We add Managed Lanes, which incidentally do not reduce congestion! Yet we expect 635 will have a lower level of congestion? Umm…not. Not in this lifetime.
The things that needed to be done in order to truly reduce congestion are not being stressed. They are being de-emphasized because if we actually reduce congestion then Managed Lanes won’t work. How do Managed Lanes work? Simple. Congestion on the free lanes pushes more drivers onto the tolled, Managed Lanes. Higher congestion, higher traffic count, higher toll rate equals more revenue equals…wait for it!…more PROFIT!!
So get used to that terrible, congested drive on 635 LBJ–its not going anywhere. Nothing has changed.
If you don’t believe me, just watch this video. They can’t even get the traffic going the right direction on the clover leafs.
Incidentally, after the video was released LBJ Express responded to its own post and pointed out that, “There is one loop that traffic is going in the wrong direction. Sorry and rest assured, that won’t be the case when we are done.”
Well, isn’t that reassuring? And actually, its on ALL FOUR clover leafs. Not just one. Brought to you by your friendly, neighborhood Department of Transportation.