Not too long ago, the City of Dallas was on an urban high, hoarse from singing the praises of Klyde Warren Park, the Perot Museum of Nature and Science and — to some extent — newly minted bike lanes. But old habits die hard.
The city's focus has quickly shifted back to driving, the least friendly mode of transportation for urban development. As reported by WFAA, Dallas plans to convert five one-way streets to two-way traffic in an effort to ease driving woes. This will cost the city an estimated $900,000.
Dallas' plan to create more two-way streets is counter-productive to its efforts to enhance urban living. Yes, driving in downtown Dallas is difficult for the first-timer. So is navigating New York City. That doesn't seem to stop people from venturing into Times Square.
Driving is the most expensive, least environmentally friendly way to travel. Why should it also be the most convenient?
Let me be clear: I'm not against changes that make travel easier; I am against changes that incentivize driving over other methods of transportation.
It is the most expensive, least environmentally friendly way to get from point A to point B. Why should it also be the most convenient?
Yes, some people will always drive. But many more do so simply out of habit and because the infrastructure seems to favor it. My first year working downtown, I commuted from Irving by car. But I soon found the pain of parking, traffic and one-way streets to be more trouble than it was worth.
I started taking the TRE and DART, and, after a few hiccups, actually reduced my commute in both time and cost. As if that weren't enough of a reward, I'm also a lot more knowledgeable about the city's layout.
Suddenly, I'm not just darting in and out of parking lots. I'm walking a block from the train station to my office, maybe grabbing a cup of coffee along the way. True, I walk to lunch because I have to, but I also enjoy it. And I've discovered a number of locales out of sheer happenstance.
Serendipity is easier to come by on two feet than four wheels, and so is a connection to the city. I may sleep in Irving, but five days a week I live in Dallas.