Leading Off (12/6/10)

1. With today’s opening of the new DART Green Line, Dallas now offers the largest light-rail system in the United States, but ridership levels are still below places like Atlanta and Houston. There are a myriad of explanations for why Dallas-area residents don’t take public transit, but one of them wasn’t mentioned in the DMN article, only implied. In the piece, Mockingbird Station is cited as the “only station where significant mixed-use development has taken place.” My question: what about the Cityplace Station, which sits mere steps from the continually expanding West Village development? Or the Park Lane development which sits across the street from Park Lane Station? The omission, I believe, is indicative of a transit culture that doesn’t know how to see pedestrian connections between stations and services, and therefore considers public transit not useful (this is not aided, it must be said, by the fact that connections are often not architecturally obvious).

2. When discussing education, students often don’t have the chance to the take the floor in the public debate, which is why I found this forum on improving African-American students’ performance interesting. Some of the student feedback:

“Unfortunately, our kids feel that it’s wrong to be smart in class and do their work,” said Monterrio Jones, a Samuell High School senior. “Let go of the act of racism or saying, ‘She’s not teaching me because I’m black.’ No, we need to stand on our own two feet like our ancestors who did it with all odds against them.”

[Devaughdric] Ross said he’s a straight-A student, despite being raised by a single mother who died last year.

“Will I stop here? Will I let these battles, these heartaches, these struggles keep me down? Which I refuse to,” Ross said.

3. The Cowboys won again, finishing off the Colts in an exciting overtime victory that meant nothing.


  • tom in dallas

    I have traveled to other cities through the years and taken full advantage of the public transportation that was available. New York, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, and Washington D. C. all seem to have the density to make public transportation the most logical option with lots of destination spots convenient to transit stops. I think Dallas will have to grow into using transit-meaning no parking places for cars. I do know some people who took advantage of the Free Transit Day Sataurday and stayed over in Carrollton’s downtown and had dinner at Babe’s Chicken. It may not be Times Square but it is a start.

  • Steve

    My train this morning was jam-packed as usual, and probably 30 to 40 percent of people in my office downtown happily take Dart everyday. The issue is density, of course.

  • PeterK

    “Some of the student feedback:”

    out of the mouths of babes comes the truth

  • PR

    This is Texas. We like freedom and wide open spaces and we don’t like crowds. Sitting on a bus or rail car confines us. Public transportation doesn’t give us the ability to, at a moments notice, jump in our car and run an errand or meet a friend crosstown for lunch.

  • cbs

    so you mean to say if we expect more out of kids (be they black, white, brown or green), they will perform better? I thought we were suppossed to simply lower the bar for all so everyone felt better about themselves.

    Go for these young adults for standing up for themselves.

  • heelsoftar

    How do you build rail and not start with the airport?

  • Doug

    #1 Or maybe people just prefer driving their own car to being herded like cattle.

  • My fiancee takes the DART from Cityplace every morning at 7:15. She says it’s a ghost town. I walk out of my building every morning and see people driving their cars from Uptown to downtown. A few tips:

    1. Walk! It’s not that far.
    2. Take the trolley! It starts its rounds at 7 am, and is free. Win/win.
    3. Walk, then hop on the DART. How many of us really need our cars every day downtown?

    Part of the problem is the relative inexpensiveness of parking downtown. Other cities (DC, New York) charge exorbitant fees for parking, forcing people onto public transit. Just a thought.

  • PR

    “Part of the problem is the relative inexpensiveness of parking downtown. Other cities (DC, New York) charge exorbitant fees for parking, forcing people onto public transit. Just a thought.”

    That’s a thought. If the government wants to control what you do, they should just hit you in the pocketbook.

    No thanks! I like my freedom.

    And you are right, it is not that far to walk from Uptown to downtown or even City Place to Uptown. But in the middle of July at 5PM, it is still humid and hot as hell.

  • I was wrong. there is a remote possibility of the Cowboys making the playoffs. Green Bay and the Eagles have to lose out, but they play solid teams so that isn’t 100% unlikely, and the rams, bucs or seahawks have to finish 8-8.

    So the Cowboys are alive, though they have a very weak pulse.

    Sorry for the misinformation.

  • gwyon

    PR, you’re still free to drive. But it shouldn’t be the anyone’s responsibility to provide you free land to park your car wherever you want to go.

  • sam

    The rail doesn’t go all the places where large groups of people work besides downtown-Las Colinas, the Tollway, 635. Should go to the airport, the Ballpark, Cowboys Stadium, even malls like the Galleria. With the population projections, traffic is only going to get worse in the next 5-10 yrs.

  • PR

    Gwyon, There is no free land to park. Your place of business pays for that right as part of their rent or owners of private property charge you to park in a spot for an hour, day or week.

    People who support charging high fees to park in downtown to push more people to use public transportation should watch out for unintended consequences. If parking costs skyrocket in Dallas, you may find more and more businesses look at other areas to operate (Addison, Richardson, Plano, etc).

  • Tom

    @sam – It’s been tried – Arlington voters keep saying no to public transit.

  • tinkerbell

    When I moved to Dallas 21 years ago from the north, I was shocked there wasn’t a train running between Dallas and Ft.Worth – right down the middle of I-30. there should be a train that makes stops all along the way between the two cities, with plenty of parking near the stations. There should also be a train that follows the entire loop of 635/35, etc. You get the idea. If you could start up in north Dallas, switch trains downtown and end up at a Cowboys or Rangers game, wouldn’t that be awesome? Or, to the airport? Can’t be done right now. Sad.