Monday, July 10, 2017

Crocodile Tears

From his perch in a downtown Dallas skyscraper, D Magazine's Peter Simek gazes northward and professes to see all that's wrong in Collin County. Too many people. Congested roads. Crowded schools. Cheap apartments. All caused by a focus on economic growth based on a car-centric infrastructure. Simek could have shifted his gaze downward, but didn't. It's not like Dallas's own lack of growth has been the magic formula for fixing potholes.

Now I don't live in either the City of Dallas or Collin County. From my own vantage point in Richardson, I see shells being lobbed over my head. And like shells in real wars, some are on target and others widely miss their mark. All do more damage than offer constructive criticism. Just because I'm feeling cranky today, let's look at the shells that landed wide of their mark.

Let's start with his take on Addison, also not my home. Simek offers Addison Circle as an exception to the bad planning in "the rest of Collin County." Except Addison is not in Collin County. It's in Dallas County. Simek criticizes cities that have not contributed sales tax to public transit. What he doesn't mention is that Addison isn't one of them. It has been contributing sales tax to DART public transit, year after year, decade after decade, and when it finally appeared to be close to getting light rail itself, via the Cotton Belt line, the City of Dallas packed the DART board with new members dead set against funding the Cotton Belt. That act of war against the suburbs to the north was cheered on by, wait for it, Simek's own D Magazine.

All of which makes this bit of advice from Simek sound particularly smug:
But if DFW wants to succeed in the long run, some real planning is necessary — planning that can look holistically at the region and consider how to steer jobs, density, investment, and growth in a way that serves the area’s long-term interest and sustainability, and not planning that turns each city and suburb into a little fattened fiefdom competing against all the others.
Source: D Magazine.
Physician, heal thyself. D Magazine, champion of holistic planning for north Texas? Sure it is. When Peter Simek criticizes "little fattened fiefdoms competing against all the others," he's talking about the path the City of Dallas has chosen to take. Instead of taking potshots at cities like Addison (note I said "cities" not "suburbs") that understand the downsides of urban sprawl, Simek should be seeking common ground. As long as D Magazine chooses to make this a city-vs-suburb war, then when Peter Simek says, "I feel for the residents of Collin County," he's shedding crocodile tears.

1 comment:

Mark Steger said...

There is some sense in Simek's piece. I've said some of the same things myself. But make no mistake. Simek and D Magazine are no friends of the suburbs, as Simek pretends to be in this piece. Don't trust snakes. Our region's problems can only be solved by coordinated action but D Magazine is at war with the suburbs.