Ask John Neely Bryan Anything You Ever Were Too Lazy to Google

All disputes resolved, all secrets revealed.

John Neely Bryan, Our Founder
John Neely Bryan, Our Founder

Greetings, friends, enemies, frenemies, trolls and troublemakers, hoodlums and saints, the blessed and the damned alike.

My name is John Neely Bryan. You may remember me from such things as having operated a ferry across the Trinity River ages before any of those new-fangled bridges were built, for being a log-cabin enthusiast, and also for having founded what is now the ninth-largest city in the United States of America. So, yeah, I’m kind of a big deal.

Though I have long since passed into the ether, I’ve kept a watchful eye on my beloved Dallas. The good folks at D Magazine, in their estimable wisdom, therefore knew I was best qualified to helm this new effort on their web log. In this space today and in the weeks to come, I shall address all manner of your questions and concerns. Need personal advice? Curious about some aspect of life in this city? Want a dispute adjudicated? Too lazy to Google something? [email protected] and ye shall receive. (Space and my patience permitting.)

If you’re wondering how a fellow who died in 1877 is able to speak fluently in the modern vernacular, to receive electronically mailed dispatches, and to post material onto the informational superhighway, well, you’d be surprised at how tricked out my place here is. I’ve got premium cable, plus Hulu and Netflix. I don’t have Amazon Prime, because I don’t have much need for the free two-day shipping, but I’ve heard really great things about Transparent, so I may need to cave on that one too. Point is, I’m hip to the modern jive.

So, wassssup? Where’s the beef?

 

Question: Why is it illegal to bike in a crosswalk if you are adhering to the crossing signals? You are similar to a pedestrian in that you do not have a hunk of metal protecting you from injury if hit by a car. And if you are not crossing when the red hand is still, why is it against the law? — Alicia K.

The short answer is that bicycles are a menace. If the good Lord had intended man to ride on two wheels he wouldn’t have given him feet. He would have given him wheels instead of feet. Understand? I’m saying, instead of having tarsels and metatarsels and the accompanying muscles, blood vessels, and skin at the bottom of your legs there would be some form of circular rollers, probably made out of rubber.

But since federal leadership apparently has no problem subverting the will of the creator, and has thus far been unresponsive to my requests for a constitutional amendment outlawing them, these contraptions continue to remain legal. The state of Texas leaves it up to local municipalities to determine whether bikes can share spaces generally intended for the purpose of walking, such as sidewalks. Within the city of Dallas it’s perfectly legal to ride your two-wheeled death machine right alongside pedestrians (See Vol. 1, Chapter 9 of the city codes) — except for in the central business district. Which is strange because downtown is precisely where I most often see bikes on the sidewalk, especially those sneaky Jimmy John’s deliverymen, trying to navigate around the restrictions of the neighborhood’s many one-way streets by putting innocent walkers at risk. Why must we pay for their insolence and their sandwiches?

At any rate, anywhere bicycles can ride on the sidewalks, they’re free to ride in the crosswalks as well, so long as they yield to people on foot. I verified this fact with the Dallas Police Department. Which means the premise of your question is flawed, and therefore you’ve thoroughly wasted my time.

Next!

 

Question: What’s the defining difference between a Dallas suburb and a city? Lake Highlands, Lakewood, Addison, Richardson — cities or suburbs? I just don’t know. — Pedro A.

Where to begin? Let’s start with the Latin. The English word “suburb” is ultimately derived from the roots urbs, meaning “city,” and sub, meaning “no-way no-how not-nearly-as-good-as.” A “sub-urb” therefore is a territory far inferior to a city but with all the pretensions of civilization besides.

Most of Dallas’ suburbs confuse the issue by referring to themselves, in their capacity as independently incorporated municipalities, as “cities.” That’s one of those cultural jokes that’s been told and retold so many times as to have become meaningless. The “town of Highland Park” is among the few exceptions with the decency not to pretend to be anything other than what it is — a definitively inferior enclave.

Now, the insult couched within your question is truly breathtaking, as you’ve lumped together grand neighborhoods of the great city of Dallas (Lake Highlands and Lakewood) with the prefab, cookie-cutter, ersatz cities that are Addison and Richardson and their ilk. You’ve failed to mention what dark corner you yourself call home, but based on this query I demand that you relocate to one of these outlying burgs and save yourself further embarrassment, since you’re clearly not capable of appreciating all that it means to be a Dallasite.

That, or learn where you live, dagnabbit. This is a good rundown of Dallas ‘hoods. Pretty much anywhere else is sub-urban.

 

Until next time, I remain your most humble servant.

John-Neely-Bryan-signature

 

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