Friday, May 14, 2010

On the DART Green Line

A while back I was asked by writer Zac Crain about Fair Park and the DART Green Line for D Magazine. I had not yet seen the article until now. Here is the link. And here is my quoted excerpt:
“Eventually the Green Line and all of DART will have a positive effect on the city that most people can’t even fathom yet,” says Patrick Kennedy, an urban planner and designer who runs the website Carfreeinbigd.com. “While it may not seem like a worthwhile extension to hop on DART to Fair Park now, it is likely that we are thinking about Fair Park’s current state rather than its potential.”

What Kennedy means is this: Fair Park is not just the State Fair, and it’s not the bars on Parry and Exposition avenues. Maybe Fair Park turns into a year-round entertainment complex. Maybe more bars and restaurants open. That is not irrelevant, but it’s somewhat beside the point. The station at Fair Park—and the same goes for the other current and future stops along the Green Line—is not meant to make it easier for people to get there. It’s meant to make it easier for them to stay there. Kennedy says that the new transportation options, along with low land values and the city’s interest (and investment) to keep crime down, make these stops prime candidates for resurgence. More local business. More residents. More life. The density every city planner dreams of.

“Perhaps thinking about Fair Park as a destination is what is holding back the area,” Kennedy says, gently correcting my original thesis. “We need to think about it as a point of origin for DART riders, as a new, safe, affordable, urban neighborhood where riders live and get on DART to ride to other places. Once it becomes an origin, then it becomes a destination for others because it is already a more interesting, vibrant, and unique area.”