Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Rodger Jones Knows What Women Think

If you tuned in this morning expecting to read my reaction to President Obama's State of the Union address, you're out of luck. I learned yesterday during the day that no one waits for the president to actually give his speech anymore before giving a rebuttal. Now, it's the practice to give a "prebuttal" before even hearing what the president has to say. It's too late for me to do that. That train has left the station, so to speak. Now since we're on the subject of trains...

I can't tell if Rodger Jones, of The Dallas Morning News, is just obtuse or is stubbornly attempting to mislead readers in his ongoing campaign to disparage Richardson's DART stations.

This is not a new topic for Jones (e.g., see here and here). After the jump, his latest criticism.

Jones regularly complains about the lack of sidewalks to two of Richardson's DART stations. Admittedly, one of them, at the Bush Turnpike, is surrounded by undeveloped land. But there are plans for development that will meet Jones's demands and more. Jones's complaints amount to little more than impatience that development of that land wasn't completed yesterday.

The other DART station, at Galatyn Park, has the most attractive path to the north that any urban dweller could ever hope for -- the Central Trail, which connects to the Spring Creek Trail and the Renner Trail. Reading Jones's regular potshots against Richardson's DART stations, you might think those trails don't even exist, or if they do, one would never consider using them for anything other than a Sunday stroll in the woods. Here's his latest dismissal:
From the Galatyn station they will have to either walk on the grassy shoulder of the service road or through a nature trail, which is dark at night.

This walk would not be a problem for lots of people, but not women wearing heels and not women who mind the dark after the sun goes down.

How about if men don't presume to say what would be a problem for women? I could just as easily say that "women who mind the dark" probably won't be walking at night whether or not the sidewalk is lighted. And "women wearing heels" already decided when they got dressed that morning that they wouldn't be doing much walking, day or night.

Jones admits that "this walk would not be a problem for lots of people" (presumably including lots of women), so why does he keep dismissing it? Not only do lots of people not mind this walk, they love it. Why does Jones insist on wanting to walk along the service road of a superhighway, paved sidewalk or not? That's more dangerous than a walk on any nature trail. In fact, the greatest danger is probably right at the station itself.

I have nothing against Jones's goal of improving pedestrian access to DART stations. But I have a lot against his constant whining on the subject, which has revealed no shortcomings that aren't already in the planning stages, and which ignores the good that's already in place.


Nathan Morgan said...

Walk a mile to the station on a dark and lonely trail. That's nice. Especially in bad weather. The Galatyn Park DART station has no parking. And, the hike across acres to get to Renner or Arapaho is little more forgiving. Still, not a bad deal for a few hundred riders willing to endure the adventures in public transportation.

glbeach said...

People in New York City, Chicago, and many, many metropolitan areas around the world ride the subway, the 'el' the 'tube' and so on - both women and men - in real winter weather.

One thing I've noticed about these wizened urbanites is that many wear walking, jogging, or running shoes for their daily commute and carry office shoes with them - or better yet, leave office shoes at the office. While this will not eliminate any lack of lighting, it can address taking a walk longer than from the parking lot to the door. With respect to lighting - save for a brief time during the winter it is light from early in the day (light enough to go bicycling prior to work) until after many or most leave the office.

Studies show these people generally walk several miles per day more than citizens in the chubbier cities of Houston, San Antonio and the Metroplex.

Personally I believe part of the issue is the simple change in mindset of the society from one that drives to one more willing to utilize public transportation. In essence, the facilities are fine, it is the mindset that needs work.

Mark Steger said...

Gary, thanks for the feedback. As you say, it's a mindset thing. People in many cities have it. People in north Texas don't, at least not yet.

To be fair to Rodger Jones, he has the mindset to walk. And he does walk. It just bugs him that he can't walk along a paved sidewalk on the service road of US75. There are alternatives that don't even require him to walk in the woods (that trail system has a spur that runs alongside Routh Creek Parkway). But he's fixated on walking that freeway service road, perhaps because it's the shortest route.