"Tracks of My Tears," by Jim Schutze, July 23
Rails to the Future
I found Jim Schutze's article on DART to be informative, as his articles usually are.
The subway that he describes certainly sounds like a better solution than another surface track going through downtown. The only problem I have with the article is the dumb-ass statement, "DART has emerged instead as DART lite—a system of beefed-up trolleys, rather than trains." It is supposed to be a light rail system. Granted, it is not on par with NYC, but the statement leaves the impression that it is some sort of hick-town transportation system.
DART reliably transports tens of thousands of passengers a day and is largely on time—at least that is my experience. You can travel more than 25 miles north to south in about one hour, which seems like a long time versus a car, but if there is an accident on the freeway, one hour seems like no time at all.
By the end of 2012, I will be able to go from Rowlett to Love Field without taking the freeway. By the end of 2013, I will be able to go from Rowlett to DFW without taking the freeway. I am sure that there is much to criticize about DART—some of the decisions that the article points out as well as the rather high per-mile expansion costs. Overall, however, I believe that what DART is doing is taking Dallas County toward the future.
Lastly, I would like to relate a DART experience that I had this Sunday night. A Red Line train had broken down in the subway section going from Cityplace Station to Mockingbird Station. A Blue Line train came up behind the Red train, as scheduled, and to resolve the situation the Blue train coupled with the Red train, thus making the Red train functional and it was able to continue with its scheduled stops. This took a Blue train off-line, but the next one came along as scheduled. The point of this story is that the DART staff handled the unforeseen circumstance well, reducing the downtime for the Blue Line as much as possible. The situation was handled in a very professional and timely manner.
Stephen Potter, Rowlett
You're probably right, Jim. It's the Dallas mindset. Cities like NYC and Toronto have huge cultural advantages when it comes to mass transit, not the least of which, council members, mayors [and] powerful business people have more than likely at some point, for some length of time, relied on mass transit in their lives. The myths of the rich Wall Street exec riding the train still represent a powerful cultural stereotype that acts as a counterweight to the kind of stigma Dallasites have when it comes to mass transit.
The result of all this is that, yes, our systems are being heavily influenced from top to bottom by people who will never, ever use light rail for more than a press event. This is why, instead of emphasizing solutions that would work for citizens OF MEMBER CITIES getting to work or getting around town on the train, they can even begin to think that one of the major objectives of our mass transit system is to support places built for tourists. The best solution is to build an alignment similar to the line you've made out here and then a trolley line to the hotel from one of the stations, even if it's short. Good luck to anyone who cares enough to try to convince the whozits in Dallas to think long-term.
Jay from Dallas, via dallasobserver.com
"Slumming It," by Dave Faries, July 23
Customers Always Wrong
Get a life. I am sure the place [Rathbun's Blue Plate Kitchen] would not be packed like it is ALL THE TIME if the food was as you speak of. I have been there two times and have had two great meals and told them they should enter the Caesar salad in a contest. It is awesome. Get over writing about the customers. What does that have to do with anything? I work in Preston Center, and everyone I know loves it. Go write a gossip column.
Dana from Dallas, via dallasobserver.com
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"Critics' Pick: Tool," by Brian Bardwell, July 23
What a tool
Wow. It's not often I see writing in the Observer that so clearly misses the mark. Congratulations on that, but in the future, I'd advise you to write about something you actually know about. Hacking out inane (to borrow your word) tripe like this only wastes the paper's resources, and we, as readers, really like the fact that the DO is free. So, knock if off already, would ya? Thanks.
Eddie from Fort Worth, via dallasobserver.com