Thursday, April 24, 2014

Wherein the DMN decides to be Lennie; South Dallas is their Puppy

I like my socialism as paternalistic and pernicious as possible.  How about you?

Either today or last night or whenever, Tod Roberson ran a piece for the Dallas Morning News where there were no quotes (unlike D Magazine which bothered to practice journalism), no data, but instead he declared himself the de facto spokesperson for an entire half of the city.

Here are the facts.  Dallas county lost 266,000 jobs from 2001 to 2011 while every other county in DFW gained.  Our single-minded suburbanized transportation overlaid upon the urban core is subsidizing, not only sprawl, but job spillage and disinvestment.  Uptown, the nearest thing to walkable urbanism, is so in demand that few can afford it anymore.  High demand for walkability, very low supply.

We need two mindsets.  Two logics to govern transportation policy.  Urban and otherwise.  Right now we only have the latter.  If Dallas and DFW want to compete long into the 21st century, that must change.

Not only is Dallas losing jobs, but they're getting further away from South Dallas.  So those that can least afford to travel the furthest, must.  See the graphic on average commute times by area.  The wealthiest have the shortest and most convenient commute, which isn't on its own all that surprising.  But that doesn't make it right, just, or fair.

We're subsidizing and coercing car dependence upon those that can least afford it.  Over the past few days, we've looked at South Dallas' current commuting patterns.  Let's go further and examine how they've changed over time.  This is for the entire southern sector.  Everything in Dallas county south of I-30:

This shows that total commutes emanating from the southern sector dropped from 374k to 357k.  Not a huge drop compared to the overall job loss in all of Dallas County.  More important is the shift in average commute lengths.  Let's take a look just at the nets:

Less than 10 miles: -29k
10 to 24 miles:  -7k
25 to 30 miles:  +8k
More than 50 miles:  +9k

Get that?  20.5% of workers from the southern sector now must commute more than 25 miles to get to work.  In many cases this means spending half a pay check just to make a paycheck.  We need to find market-oriented solutions to bringing jobs and investment back towards the center of the city so the entire city isn't commuting up 75, 35, and the tollway to jobs that increasingly ooze northward into a centerless, unsustainable vacuum.

Or, listen to Tod Roberson, he's from the DMN and he's here to help, despite not understanding the transportation/land use dynamic.

In the mean time, let's remember what used to be there before the highway shipped everything we're trying to recreate, jobs, housing, restaurants, theaters, etc. to Oklahoma: