Week 6: 1 Day 52 Week No Car Challenge

A proud sponsor of the One Day 52 Week No Car Challenge

A proud sponsor of the One Day 52 Week No Car Challenge

Week 6:  DART, oh DART!

Like many of you, last week posed serious public transportation challenges that were at times unpredictable, and at other times bordered on the absurd.  Take one of the worst winter storms of our times and a world-wide event hosting, and you see why the south has a long way to go with having a transportation system the likes of other rival big cities.  This wasn’t entirely DART’s fault, mind you.  Temperatures haven’t been this cold in almost 15 years, and DART didn’t have that much light-rail line back in 1996.  Heck, it had just opened that summer:

June 14, 1996
The first 11.2 miles of DART’s 20-mile light rail transit starter system open on time and within budget, with weekend festivities followed by a week of free rides. Revenue service begins June 24, coinciding with the opening of the CBD West Bus Transfer Center in downtown Dallas.

Yes, DART had to deal with nasty, winter weather since then but let’s give them this one.  However, for some reason their buses don’t seem to like ice and snow at the same time.  A bus couldn’t climb a hill on Sylvan Ave and slide into a car.  Now, this one I’m puzzled with.  I’ve got to assume that it was circumstantial, as northern cities must have contingency plans for icy roads and their buses.  And then there is this one.  A local Dallas Morning News reporter, who writes specifically about transportation issues, and has been car free for 12 years decides this is his last straw!

Hopefully, these hard learned lessons will energize DART’s management to re-evaluate their cold weather plans, and formulate better ones.  You know they have a precedent for doing this.  Remember TX/OU weekend in 2009 after the opening of the first segment of Green line?  They went back to the drawing board and had a better plan in place by the following year.

Just found an article about the CEO of DART apologizing about their performance this past week.  Here’s his apology and a link to the full article:

A special message from DART

We know this week’s unprecedented winter weather caused frustration and aggravation for many of you. We apologize for not delivering the transit service you need, expect and deserve. In spite of long hours and hard work, we let you down. We’ll review our actions and find ways to improve.In comparatively few years we’ve built an extensive regional transit network. Our ongoing challenge and commitment is to operate it at a high level every day and in every circumstance.

To our regular customers, thank you for staying with us this week. To the new customers who were drawn to us as an alternative to driving on icy roads, thank you for trying us. Know that we’re redoubling our efforts to provide a safe, comfortable and affordable trip.

Sincerely,
Gary Thomas
President/Executive Director


Here are a few highlights from Week 5 quotes:

Okay, went car free on Monday, it was warm enough to bike comfortably. But what was interesting was the bike commute on last Friday, when a lady rolled down her window while moving to let me know that I am a “F***ing idiot,” presumably for riding a bicycle down San Jacinto during rush hour.  Lady, its Friday, I don’t need that kind of garbage ruining my evening! JT

Thankfully I got my car-free day outa the way for this week this past Sunday. Nothing notable happened – though I have noticed my legs are getting stronger and I’m going a bit faster now. :) I’m just such a wuss when it comes to the cold…I can deal till it reaches about 35. Urban Pedal

I haven’t been on my bike since Sunday but I went without the car Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. I was one of the huddled masses downtown wondering where the train was…and then wondering if I should get on it. My advice, everyone’s advice maybe…when there is a lot of ice, take the bus. Sleepyhead

Well, I was holding off on posting to see if I had another car free day but nope.. only day sans car (where I actually went somewhere) was Tuesday where I decided to try my mettle on the ice to pick up some lunch. Went fine on the way there but had a monster headwind on the way back and could barely get enough traction on my rear tire to move. Rand M

With the weather this past week, going car-free was pretty easy. What wasn’t easy was my commute home from work on Tuesday. I went into work pretty easy on the DART bus since Where’s My Bus? was working for the bus I wanted to catch, but getting home was another story. I stayed at work till 5 not realizing how bad the streets still were. Silly me thought the city would have things in better shape by evening. Boy was I wrong. There were four buses stuck on the hill coming up San Jacinto and so they had the street shut down. The only DART buses I saw anywhere downtown were stuck in ice. I was worried I was stuck downtown. I hopped a 51 that would get me to CityPlace and saw some 24′s headed into downtown. Finally got on one and made it home safe and sound. I telecommuted the rest of the week so I ended up with 4 car-free days – and I think that Tuesday adventure should count for double!!! BikeMan


16 comments

  1. Ann Daigle · ·

    Please, someone write an op-ed on the situation for the super bowl. How did people get to the stadium? (Why was it built in such a remote place?) Excuse me, no public transit in Arlington?! Is it true the City voted it down? I think any future super bowls should only be held in places that supply high quality, car-free access.

  2. Ann: You’re right on. Arlington is a joke of a city. Backwards planning has brought them to being the largest city in the country without public transit, having voted it down on more than one occasion. Furthermore, Jerry could have cared less where he built the stadium and if their was good public transit or not, as long as he got the money he wanted for it.

  3. Took DART yesterday and today. This morning the doors on my train were a little messed up and they were still running on a modified schedule. I hope they run ice trains overnight so we don’t have a repeat of last week tomorrow.

  4. other northern cities”?? I always thought of Dallas as f a part of the south, even if it is north Texas.

    And yes, Arlington holds the distinction of being the largest city in America with absolutely no public transportation. To visit Six Flags or watch a Rangers or Cowboys game, you have to have a car, which is ludicrous.

  5. Sleepy Head · ·

    I thought I better check in advance in case I don’t get back to a computer…I am taking off on a car-free 5 day vacation of sorts. My kid has an audition in Chicago. After we sorted through the options, we are taking Amtrak. It was considerably cheaper than air fare and a lot safer than a car. We have some experience taking Amtrak up to Norman so we are optimistic about this trip.I will report back in a few days.

  6. Wow – another week of bizarre weather. Am really glad that things are warming up for this weekend. Hate to admit – but the report for the week is pretty lame though. Wednesday took the bus into work and home through the snow. Stayed in the rest of the night.

  7. Rick Titone · ·

    It was a pretty uneventful week for me too. I was car-free Tuesday and Wednesday, but didn’t need to go anywhere as I am still being work-at-home dad to our two new pups. Had to drive most other days for weather or expediency. Hoping for warmer weather next week and a chance to ride my bike more, as the pups are getting closer to ability to stay home alone now!

  8. Well, didn’t do too well this week.. mainly because I lost my month pass (if anyone finds it, let me know 🙂 but I was sans car yesterday so I guess I’m still in the running. But just barely.

  9. Tuesday (8th) was my car free day. Rode the 1.7 miles from home to work in Bishop Arts. We had a meeting on A Safer King’s crossing at the Kessler. I did have to ask a friend to feed my goat at the farm. I just could not make the trip up and down Vilbig on the bike. That trip has been the hardest to do on a bike and has reduced my car free days.

    Andrew

  10. callmemisspriss · ·

    I rode my bike to work and was car-free on Saturday. I had to dress up for work, and made the mistake of wearing platform wedge shoes for an eight hour shift on my feet. The platforms weren’t terribly comfortable while riding, especially on the 6 mile trip home, but hopefully I’ll get used to it. I’m trying to dress as I usually do even when I’m on my bike.
    I love the return to 60 degree days, and am looking forward to the 75208 Be My Velontine ride tomorrow!

  11. Sleepy Head · ·

    We took the Amtrak to Chicago…22 hour trip but it arrived a few minutes early. Got a 3 day pass on the CTA for 14 bucks. It is quite a pleasant way to travel.

  12. Did another all-week commute on bicycle. I’m loving what this is doing for me. I’ve stopped needing my cup of coffee in the morning (replace by endorphins, I suppose.) The trips didn’t seem so cold, so I was shocked to see a cake of ice on the bottom bike when I got to work on Monday. I hear we’re into some better weather, sounds great. 🙂

    Talk to you guys next week!

  13. David Rodriguez · ·

    I know I am a little late but I been out riding. Saturday I rode to Oak Cliff to visit friends by DBU. Today I participated in the Valentine Bike Ride to Oak Cliff from Main Street Garden, then back to Deep Ellum. Perfect time to out riding around, certainly makes up for the days last week I had to drive.

  14. Guess my post didn’t actually post from my phone Saturday night – was a long car-free day. After almost 2 weeks of not riding (Week 5 Sunday to Week 6 Saturday) it was good to be back on the bike. I rode all over NOC running errands. Nothing spectacular. So glad to have beautiful weather again. Looking forward to many car-free days next week!

  15. I did manage to get one day car free in on Tuesday before the weather freaked out the next day. It’s amazing how hard it is to go with a 3 month old in the house. Too little to put in a bike trailer or bike seat. The good news is that my wife and I work at the same place, so we can at least carpool. I’d be willing to bet we could probably go to a one-car family without too much effort at this point.

  16. Took DART yesterday and I scored a great price on a chain wheel & cranks for my grocery bike on ebay! To the cotter pin press!

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