Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Two Roads Diverged on Renner Road

Richardson Trail Map

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Source: Robert Frost.
Say you live in Richardson in an apartment on Renner Rd, west of Central Expressway, and you want to get to the DART station. Say you don't want to drive your own car. What would your trip be like?

After the jump, follow me.

First, if your apartment is on the north side of Renner Rd, you'll have to cross the street. There, you can catch DART's UT Dallas Shuttle (Route 883) that makes regular trips down Renner Rd and takes you right to the Bush Turnpike Station. Done.

But say it's a nice day and you want to walk. You should still cross to the south side of the street. There, you'll find the Renner Trail running right past your apartment. It's one of Richardson's 40 miles of paved trails. Follow it to the east towards Central Expressway. There are crosswalks and traffic lights to let you walk on Renner Rd under Central Expressway to get to the other side.

Not excited about going through that Renner Rd/Central Expressway intersection on foot? I wouldn't be either. Luckily, you'll find another option. Richardson has created a trail loop that crosses under the highway completely isolated from all motor vehicle traffic. It's a bit longer to follow the loop than to use the crosswalk, but it's your choice.

Once on the east side of Central, you have another choice. You can go north to the Bush Turnpike station or go south to the Galatyn station. The Bush station is a little closer, but it's surrounded by undeveloped land. There is no sidewalk yet. Galatyn station is a bit farther away, but you have a wealth of ways to get there. Renner Trail intersects the Spring Creek Trail and the Central Trail. The Spring Creek Trail is a meandering walk in the woods. Central Trail is a direct line south towards Galatyn station. Much of it goes along the new Routh Creek Parkway. Whether you take the Spring Creek Trail or the Central Trail, you'll eventually have to cross Glenville Rd. It's the only grade level street crossing you'll have to navigate since you crossed Renner Rd outside your apartment. Luckily, it's lightly traveled and there's a four-way stop at Routh Creek Parkway. From there, it's a straight line on another paved trail through the small Galatyn Woodland Preserve to Galatyn Park, past the Renaissance Hotel and Eisemann Center and right to the DART station.

But, if you insist, on Renner Rd east of Central, turn north instead of south. Walk along the Central Expressway access road towards the Bush Turnpike station. Put your life in the hands of traffic whizzing by at 70 mph. Whine about NTTA not putting in sidewalks along the freeway shoulder to make your walk marginally safer. Or make a bee line cross country through the undeveloped private land, getting your shoes muddy if it's been a wet spring. Whine about private landowners not putting in a sidewalk across their open field for you. Whine about DART not buying and developing the land around their stations themselves. Whine about the City of Richardson not using eminent domain to take the private land to lay down a sidewalk. Whine about the City of Richardson not getting the private developers to move a little faster on breaking ground for the massive transit-oriented development being planned for this area. It'll eventually solve your need, but how many years are you expected to walk south instead of north anyway?

We all want it all yesterday. Whining about it doesn't add anything to the discussion. Nevertheless, don't just whine privately. Make a video of your whining, upload it to YouTube, and use your job with the big city's only daily newspaper to link to it online, where few readers are Richardson locals who know the full story. Don't let your readers know that you had a choice. Don't tell them about the route you chose to ignore, south where everyone else finds some of the area's best walking trails. Don't tell them that you chose to walk north where no one expects you to walk (yet). Don't tell them the long-range plans for your route. That's the future. Whine like whining will make tomorrow come faster. It won't.

You chose to take the road less traveled. That has made all the difference. My apologies to Robert Frost, who didn't whine about his own choice.

1 comment:

Mark Steger said...

Council member Steve Mitchell knows the answer to the question, "How many years are you expected to walk south instead of north anyway?" It's two.