Monday, September 28, 2015

Spencer Jack's Dad's Dallas Grave Visit Took Me On A Walking Tour

A week or so ago Spencer Jack's dad, my Favorite Nephew Jason, was visiting historic sites in the historic city of Philadelphia.

Whilst Jason did his touring he text messaged a time or two to his Favorite Uncle D. That would be me. One of those messages said, in part....

Not only did I see Benjamin Franklin's grave today, I saw Dallas's grave. Are you aware of who the city of Dallas is named after?

Well, I guess I have always assumed Dallas was named after a guy whose last  name was Dallas. But, I Googled "Dallas" to see if I could find who this Dallas person was. Soon I found myself reading the Wikipedia article about Dallas. The Wikipedia article made no mention of who or what Dallas is named after. But reading about Dallas led me to an interesting website that analyzed the walkability of towns all over America and Canada. The major cities have blurbs describing them, along with Walk Score, Transit Score  and Bike Score.

That is the graphic for Fort Worth you see above. The information blurb for Fort Worth was sort of pitiful compared to other towns blurbed....

Fort Worth is the 42nd most walkable large city in the US with 741,206 residents. Fort Worth has minimal public transportation and does not have many bike lanes. Fort Worth is a Car-Dependent city. Most errands require a car.

The blurb for Dallas was a lot less pitiful....

Dallas, Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex — it’s the biggest landlocked region in the US. Things are big here, as you’d expect from Texas. There’s blues and BBQ here, but there’s also art at the Dallas Museum of Art, history at the African American Museum, and all kinds of culture — dance, theater, and live music.

Dallas is improving its transit with a light rail line that serves downtown and Oak Lawn, two of the more walkable districts. The Trinity Railway Express connects Fort Worth with Dallas’ DART light rail system at Union Station, with a stop near DFW, the international airport.

Dallas is the 23rd most walkable large city in the US with 1,197,816 residents. Dallas has some public transportation and does not have many bike lanes. Dallas is a Car-Dependent city. Most errands require a car.

The entry for Austin is as pitiful as Fort Worth's, but with Austin deemed  more walkable than Fort Worth...

Austin is the 34th most walkable large city in the US with 790,390 residents. Austin has some public transportation and is somewhat bikeable. Austin is a Car-Dependent city. Most errands require a car.

The blurb describing Houston was also not pitiful, and, apparently, Houston is slightly easier to walk in than Dallas....

Houston has sparkling new high-rises, historic architecture with wrought iron balconies, parks and museums, and plenty of shopping. It’s the fourth largest city in the US. The Johnson Space Center is in Houston, and the Rothko Chapel, a serene facility housing the work of one the masters of American Art.

In Houston, you’re inside the Loop (Interstate 610) or inside the Beltway, or out in the suburbs. There are five main business districts, two Chinatowns, and day trippers think nothing of heading to Galveston on the Gulf Coast. Houston is a commuter’s town, you may find a walkable neighborhood but most likely still have to drive to work.

Houston is a Car-Dependent city. Most errands require a car. Houston is the 22nd most walkable large city in the US with 2,099,451 residents. Houston has some public transportation and does not have many bike lanes.

I have walked  in many of the towns ranked by the Walkscore people. I was surprised Portland was not considered to be more walkable than Seattle. I was not surprised  to see that Fort Worth is the least walkable  of the big Texas towns. If I remember right I have complained a time or two about Fort Worth's sidewalk shortage.

You can  go to the Walkscore website to see which is the most walkable town in America, along with how other towns rank.

Below is the blurb for Seattle. I have walked more in Seattle than any other big city in America....

Seattle is rapidly becoming a world-class walkable city. SoundTransit’s new light rail line connects the city and to the airport. People are relocating to Seattle for jobs at companies like Amazon, Microsoft, and Starbucks.

Seattle is ringed by the Olympic and Cascade mountains and surrounded by Lake Washington and Puget Sound. Seattle neighborhood architecture ranges from single family homes in Wallingford to high-rise downtown apartments.

Seattle is the 8th most walkable large city in the US with 608,660 residents. Seattle has good public transportation and is somewhat bikeable. Seattle is Very Walkable. Most errands can be accomplished on foot. 

I agree, Seattle is very walkable, with wide sidewalks, all over town. But, you would not catch me riding a bike in downtown Seattle. Too hilly, too many people, too much traffic, way too much going on which would render riding a bike in that zone to be scary. Seattle has a lot of paved bike trails, though. The Burke-Gilman comes to mind.

I think Walkscore shortchanged Fort Worth in the Bike Score department.

I have rolled my bike wheels in downtown Fort Worth many times. It is not scary to do so. And Fort Worth has that Bike Share program that seems to be working. I thought that was another sure to fail Fort Worth thing. I was wrong. And Fort Worth has a lot of miles of paved bike trails, called the Trinity Trails, along the Trinity River. One can roll ones wheels from the east end of Fort Worth to the west end on the Trinity Trails.

Fort Worth definitely earns its low Transit Score of 19. The Fort Worth public transit system is terrible.

A few weeks ago Mr. Ed had to use the Fort Worth bus system to get from Berry and I-35 to his abode, about 8 miles to the east. Mr. Ed had to take a bus a circuitous route with multiple stops west, eventually reaching the downtown transit center, switch to another bus to head back east to another transit center, then switch to another bus to get to his final destination.

Over two hours to go eight miles is rapid transit in Fort Worth. It would have been faster for Mr. Ed to walk home....

1 comment:

Steve A said...

Walkscore is pretty worthless. My house in Ocean Shores got a score of 0. I guess my dog and I must have died yesterday when we attempted to walk to Ace Hardware and back. We are not allowed into the IGA Grocery next door since he isn't a service dog. Likewise, I guess I'll have to stop my daily morning bike ride for coffee.