Killing Public Transit

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  • Member since
    February 2016
  • From: Texas
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Posted by PJS1 on Friday, July 20, 2018 4:53 PM


Whats there to see and do in downtown Dallas on a Weekend? 

If you are planning a first ever visit to Dallas, I would book a hotel downtown.  There are lots of choices.  The rates tend to range from $135 per night to more than $400. 

I like the downtown La Quinta Inn.  It is an old, refurbished hotel.  The rates are somewhere around $150 a night on most weekends.  It is within easy walking distance of Union Station, where you can catch the light rail to numerous points around the Dallas area.  On Saturday you can ride the Trinity Railway Express to Fort Worth, but not on Sunday.

Dealey Plaza is within easy walking distance of the LQ or most of the downtown hotels.  There you can get a trolley tour of Dallas that will include most of the city's highlights.  The cost is somewhere between $35 and $50.  The trolley – not to be confused with DART’s streetcar - is really a bus dressed up to look like a trolley.  You can book a ticket on-line or you can get the hotel to get one for you.  Or you can buy ticket at curbside.  Google Dealey Plaza tours for more information!

Next to Dealey Plaza is the School Book Depository, from which Lee Harvey Oswald killed President Kennedy.  To this day it draws large crowds.  If you want to know more about the Kennedy assignation, a visit to the museum is probably worth the money. Google the Sixth Floor Museum for more information and ticket prices. 

Dlink, which is a free bus operated by DART, is good way to see most of the interesting sights in and near downtown Dallas.  It also goes to the Bishop Arts Center in Oak Cliff, which appeals to many younger people because of its trendy shops and restaurants.  Unlike the trolley, however, Dlink is not narrated, so if money is not an issue, I would take the trolley tour first.

The trolley tour and Dlink go past the Perot Museum of Nature and Science.  If you are into science, it is outstanding.  It is as good as any museum of its kind that I have seen.  

From just south of Union Station you can catch the Dallas Streetcar over to Oak Cliff and onto the Bishop Arts Center.  Union Station, by-the-way, is a good spot to watch trains.  Large numbers of BNSF, UP and DGN trains rumble through the station day and night.  Moreover, if it is on time, the Texas Eagle calls at Dallas at 11:30 am and 3:20 pm.  

It is 109 degrees today in Dallas.  So, unless you really like hot weather, I would not visit Dallas in July and August.  The best times are usually April, May, June, September, October and early November.  

I lived in Dallas off and on for more than 33 years.  It is one of my three favorite cities in the world; the other two being Melbourne, Australia and San Diego.  But it is not the best tourist city in Texas, although many of my friends will take me to task for saying so. 

San Antonio is a better city for tourists that want to get a flavor of Texas multi-culture history.  The Riverwalk, Alamo, Mission Trail, parks, and restaurants are very good.  If I were coming to Texas for the first time, I would only spend one or two days in Dallas.  Then, assuming you are a train buff, I would take the Eagle from Dallas to San Antonio and spend a few days there.  

Rio Grande Valley, CFI,CFII

  • Member since
    June 2002
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Posted by daveklepper on Saturday, July 21, 2018 11:36 PM

However, if one's railroad interest extends to Light Rail, one day extra in Dallas would cover the DART system.  What what I gather, much has a lot of the flavor of the old interurban lines  including the old Texas Electric.

Regarding my choice of  a piece to play on the Myerson Concert Hall organ, the Star Spangled Banner is a much tougher piece to learn and play accurately, and I did not wish to make mistakes.

I guess oI could have done a good rendition of the "Halls of Monazuma" but didn't think of it.

  • Member since
    February 2016
  • From: Texas
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Posted by PJS1 on Sunday, July 22, 2018 12:34 PM


However, if one's railroad interest extends to Light Rail, one day extra in Dallas would cover the DART system.  What what I gather, much has a lot of the flavor of the old interurban lines  including the old Texas Electric. 

Except for the Orange Line, DART’s light rail system was laid out on former railroad rights-of-way.  It was the only cost-effective way to build it.  The former interurban right-of-way between Dallas and Sherman was pretty much taken up by U.S. 75, which is Central Expressway in Dallas.
Building the light rail along former railroad rights-of-way meant that it does not go where most of the people lived or live.  This is one of the reasons why a significant percentage of its load depends on connecting buses.  Which raises a question.  Was light rail in Dallas the optimum solution to a transportation problem, or was it a solution chasing a problem? 

Rio Grande Valley, CFI,CFII

  • Member since
    June 2002
  • 15,234 posts
Posted by daveklepper on Sunday, July 22, 2018 1:10 PM

It is much more difficult to be productive, to read a newspaper, to work on one's laptop computer, to actually write, on a bus as ccompared with a rail vehicle.

And you can review my comments about the 25,000 riders/weekday breakpoint between a bus service overall being more economical, inlduing first costs, as compared with light rail.  I think DART measured up with each line having more than 25,000 riders/weekday. There are modern streetcar lines and ligh trail lines do not, however.

Why has there not been a concerted effort to develop housing and employment centers right at the light rail stations?

Also, extending one's visit to Dallas, if you can take in a concert at the Myerson and visit one of the very best USA art m useums, by all means do su.

The Fisk organ at the Myerson is probably the finest concert hall organ in the USA and even ranks with the wonderful Mormon Tabernacle organ as one of dozen finest in any venue.  And the acoustics of the Myerson can be adjusted, naturally and without electronic asist, to better approximate a large cathedral than other concert halls.  (Concrete doors open up reverberation chambers for added room voiume.)

  • Member since
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Posted by charlie hebdo on Tuesday, July 31, 2018 11:37 AM



PJS1 For a substantial number of DART's riders, taking the bus or train has had no impact on the number of cars on the road.  They are too poor to own a car.  According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 22.9 percent of the people in Dallas live below the poverty line.  

Another reason public transit is necessary! 


True.  I am not arguing against public transit.  I rode a subway, bus, or streetcar to and from work for more than 40 years.  But I was a rarity among my middle-class peers.  Especially in Dallas!  And away from New York City.
Most people in Dallas, as well as throughout Texas, who can afford a car prefer to drive as opposed to ride public transit.  The numbers make it perfectly clear, even in communities like Dallas, which has the largest light rail system in North America.  
If one wants a realistic glimpse of DART, he needs to ride the system at many different times during the day and the night over a year.  Not just to the State Fair of Texas or the American Airlines Arena! 

Observe your fellow passengers!  Look out the window at the cars on I-35 or U.S. 75.  Observe the empty spaces in the DART parking lots.  Then get a copy of the DART Reference Book and look up the numbers. 

For all of the money spent on the light rail system in Dallas, it carries a very small percentage of the people in the Metroplex; it even carries a relatively small percentage of the people in the communities directly served by it.  Was it a good investment?  It seemed like it at the time; in retrospect there may have been better options.  But it is what it is!

Two points:

1. Texas thinking (Dallas Metroplex specifically) is not representative of that of the entire US.

2. Decent public transportation can provide access to employers, including for poorer people without a car who want a (better) job.  This is a major factor for people staying trapped economically in the US.  It has become difficult, however, because development/expansion starting after WWII, in most US metro areas, was based on getting to work in a car.  The process of making mas transit work will thus be costly but is one of several necessary structural changes in our nation. 

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