Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Dallas 1, CarFree Guy 0

So a couple of days ago, I decided to try and get my golf swing back into order (as shown here when I could actually hit some decent shots) with the company tournament looming. Hey, the Three-time defending long drive champ's gotta defend his crown, si?

So I decided to head to the only driving range within reach for a guy living in DTD without a car, which is the Hank Haney Cityplace Golf Center at, where else, CityPlace. Shown below in Bird's Eye by Microsoft Maps.

It's a bit of an odd experience, and a humbling one to be hitting directly at CityPlace Tower, listed by Emporis at 560 feet tall.

But, that's not the point of this post, which is actually how did I get there without driving? Had I driven, it would be straight up Pearl, right on McKinney, drive a mile or two and blammo, I'm whacking golf balls.

A trip, including fetching a car from a parking garage, that I would estimate to take about 12-15 minutes, mostly due to all of the traffic lights and 6 pm congestion that occurs on McKinney Ave. It probably would've been fine and I'm certain something about the drive or traffic would've annoyed me. The only costs would've been the minimal amount of gas and whatever derivative of the monthly parking ($120 in my building/mo.), ownership (or lease), and maintenance.

So, instead of lugging my entire bag, I grabbed four clubs and decided to try taking the trolley up to CityPlace, from one end of the line to the other. Walking through town carrying golf clubs inspired a few looks as if the short bus had spilled over and we were on the loose running amok through town.

The map below shows the journey from points A to B to C and the time alotted at each point. Total time = 30 minutes, no expense, and not a bad experience at all.

The return trip was another story. Leaving the range, I couldn't quite tell if there was a trolley at the CityPlace station down the road, so I decided to start walking the line until I saw one. Eventually, without seeing anymore trolley cars along the way, I decided to sit and wait at a point where cars are going both ways along McKinney.

From there, I then witnessed two going the opposite way. That's not supposed to happen. Having lived in the area for 2.5 years and riding the trolley to work every day during that span, I knew the routes well enough that whether two or three (during "rush" hour) cars were running they should all be equally spaced. Well, apparently not when I needed it.

It's mandatory for any form of mass transit (to compete) to be reliable. And reliably on time. Certainly I could have walked, but I ordered the biggest bucket of balls they offer and was exhausted. I equate the helplessness to being locked out, something I know all too well.

Special shout out to a drunk former roommate that didn't know the difference between locking the dead bolt and the regular lock one night while I was at work until 3 am...and my current roommate, my mutt, which did the exact same thing, apparently of the same intellect.

The return trip = nearly an hour, free fare, and oodles of frustration that nearly ended in me rampaging thru the city smashing everything I could with a 5-iron.

You won this one Dallas, but the CarFree guy isn't ready to give up just yet and give in to auto-dependency. He's got solutions...

In hindsight, I better means of transpo probably would've been to take the DART, which only would require me to time the schedule and know the return time before hand to minimize any waits at stations, which I would estimate to be little more than a 15-20 minute adventure and a dollar fifty for fare.