Urbanism

Dallas: The City That Hates Pedestrians, Pt. 8

White Rock Lake is a great place to walk, run, or bike. As long as you drive your car there first.

White Rock Lake is a Dallas treasure, which is not an original thing to say. People know this, and those same people can be found making good use of the White Rock Lake Trail on any remotely nice day. Going to White Rock Lake to walk, run, or bike is as quintessentially Dallas as being forced to drive everywhere, including to White Rock Lake to walk, run, or bike.

Because unless you have the good fortune to live right by the lake, or near the Santa Fe Trail, getting to White Rock by foot or bike is not a pleasant experience. (A commenter points out that with the opening late last year of the Mockingbird pedestrian bridge, you can also reach White Rock from the Katy Trail, after crossing over Central at McCommas.) A reader sends in the below photo of Garland Road, just northeast of White Rock. This intersection, the reader notes, happens to be near a Richardson Bike Mart, the Dallas Arboretum, storefronts for retail and restaurants like Barbec’s and Hypnotic Donuts, and an entrance to the trails at White Rock. Good luck walking to any of these places.

Enjoy your walk on Garland Road. Courtesy photo.

There are, as this reader and your eyes will tell you, no continuous sidewalks along Garland Road, “much less lighted and protected crossing at WRL access areas.”

Another angle. Courtesy photo.

This has the overall effect of making White Rock Lake something of a closed system, cut off from many of the neighborhoods that surround it. You can’t even get to the Arboretum from the White Rock trail that skirts immediately around the botanical garden’s perimeter. There is no trail access to the garden in the back, and the Arboretum’s front entrance is, as previously mentioned, on a sidewalk-less stretch of Garland. You can’t stop and smell the flowers without paying for parking.

All bad enough on foot. Now imagine trying to navigate this in a wheelchair, and start to feel really incredulous about how this city is designed.


Send your photo evidence of Dallas hating pedestrians to [email protected] For more in this series, go here.

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Comments

  • Bob Dobbins

    As an area resident, I can tell you the lack of access to the Arboretum is intentional. Ron Swanson runs the place. There is no cash money in people walking by or smelling the flowers…so it isn’t tolerated. There is money in parking garages and parking on the actual flowers outside the park is cool with them to. Save yourself some money and just go to Rubials. Sorry for the rant.

  • Thunder_Butt

    Alex, have to add that with the mockingbird pedestrian bridge addition, you can also access the lake from the Katy Trail fairly easily. You do have to cross the 75 access road at McCommas, but that sounds worse than it is. After that, you just jump on the Ridgewood Trail and get off at Fisher road down to the lake.

    • Alex Macon

      You’re right, I forgot the Mockingbird bridge. I’ll update that line.

  • JohnyAlamo

    That bottom picture, with the bike rider, does not tell the whole story. There is a Chick-fil-a right there and a lot of car traffic has to mix with those riders and pedestrians. All it takes is for a little road rage and someone is going to get hurt, or worse.

  • StreetQueso

    Try getting to 711 across Garland Rd to get some gatorade after a 3.5 hour training run and hope you get to live another day!

  • Bob Loblaw

    Most people in Lakewood can’t get to the Park without walking in the street or on some muddy trail which has formed over the years. Even on Lakewood Blvd., the sidewalk just ends two houses before the Park. Coming from Lakewood Hills, White Rock Road has no sidewalk at all. Nor does Winstead. Nor do many other streets in Lakewood. Worse, the City does not always require sidewalks even for newly built houses. On Santa Barbara, virtually all of those homes have been torn-down and rebuilt–with no sidewalks. It’s insane. If there is room for a road, there is room for a sidewalk.

  • PaulSims

    Garland Road is a State Highway, which, from my understanding, complicates pedestrian improvements from the city’s side.

    I can report that after much prodding, my colleagues on the Park Board agreed to fund a sidewalk from White Rock Lake Trail/E. Lawther Drive to the Arboretum entrance along Garland Road. This project was added to our most recent bond program, which the residents approved. Surveys and design should begin soon.

    • JohnyAlamo

      The old street, Gaston parkway follows along the north side of Garland Rd. from The Arboretum to the fire station. I am not sure whether the city or Txdot has contol over the green areas in the pics above, but that area would be easy for a sidewalk to be installed.

  • Alex Macon

    Mike, the White Rock trail is mentioned three or four times in this post.

  • Alex Macon

    Oh but you probably mean the White Rock creek Trail, my bad. You’re right, trail access to the lake is better from the north.

    • John L

      In summary, access to the lake is good from north (WRT* and connector trails), south (SFT*) and west (RWT* and Lakewood neighborhoods). Not the east. Lake habitues know this and, in fact, they know that White Rock Lake is the most connected ped/bike destination in the City of Dallas. It is not car dependent as you claim.

      So, Alex, have you personally explored the lake? It looks like you have some outdoor homework.

      * Alex – These are the initials for City of Dallas trail names. You’ll find them on clearly marked signs on all Dallas trails.

      • Alex Macon

        I don’t know John L, I think there’s room for improvement. Particularly coming from the residential parts of Lakewood to the west, where there are a number of streets without sidewalks.

        And the east side of the lake is big! If the most connected ped/bike destination in the city of Dallas is basically inaccessible on foot from the east, that’s pretty damning of ped/bike connectivity everywhere else in the city.

        I could certainly benefit from more time outdoors in general, and exploring the lake in particular! I usually come at the lake from the south, via the “SFT,” but I will take your advice and try some other angles of approach in the future.

        • John L

          I realize you have been given a targeted assignment here within a important business agenda for the magazine, but I respectfully ask that you act as your our own Devil’s Advocate before hitting “publish.” This series of posts is an interesting idea and you don’t want your stories to become a parody to fit your narrative.

          • Alex Macon

            Not sure what most of this means, but thank you for your feedback.