I should probably know that when a blogger begins by saying, "Today I vent about ...", that I should quit reading then and there. But how can I resist when the blogger is a member of The Dallas Morning News editorial board (Rodger Jones), and his subject is pedestrian access to the DART stations in Richardson? Jones vents that he can't easily walk from his residence west of US 75 and Renner Rd to the PGBT DART station. There are no sidewalks (yet). I can't tell exactly who Jones blames for this, but it's some combination of the City of Richardson, NTTA and DART.
After the jump, does he have a point?
Of course Jones has a point. Look at an aerial view of the PGBT DART station. It's surrounded by 300 acres of undeveloped land. It's a long hike across a muddy field or on the unpaved shoulder of a freeway to get from Renner Rd to the PGBT DART station. It's been that way since the station opened and it'll likely be that way for a few more years to come, until planned development of those 300 acres is a reality.
Still, even though Jones has a point, I have no sympathy for Jones's rant. Jones makes it sound like there's a failure in planning here rather than just impatience on Jones's part for those plans to come to fruition. Jones fails to mention the big plans moving forward to develop that land. I can understand impatience at the slow pace of development, but it's irresponsible to fill a blog post with a rant about not being able to walk to the DART station without telling readers more about what's planned to rectify that. It's much better than a sidewalk along a freeway.
I also fault Jones for failing to mention his alternative route. Renner Rd is approximately halfway between the PGBT DART station and the Galatyn DART station. There's a paved trail through the beautiful Spring Creek Nature Area from Renner Rd to that Galatyn DART station. Jones ought to take it more often. It's a slightly longer walk, but it might soothe his soul and cut down on his need to vent.
Regular readers know there is no bigger champion of DART, of trails, of pedestrians, of transit-oriented development, blogging in Richardson than me. Jones should find me a natural ally in his desire to improve pedestrian access to DART stations. But I can't help reading his rants as "old man yells at cloud" crazy. As something Andy Rooney might write, amusing in a cranky kind of way, but not serious. Worse, Jones's rant is counter-productive. His closing question, "Why have we invested billions in the DART system if we make it hard to get to?" suggests he's really not interested in improving pedestrian access to DART at all. It's as if he's really interested in rolling back DART. And then he'd have nowhere to walk to at all.