Musings on Jeff Speck's Walkable City, accompanying my blogs for client RobertsDay as we traverse the USA in search of great places.

I'm having a quiet laugh to myself and I just needed to share it. A few blog posts ago I wrote about my eerie experience walking around Dallas - or attempting to - shortly after reading the first half of Speck's book, Walkable City. I'm now at Dallas Fort Worth Airport, waiting for my increasingly delayed flight to Fort Walton Beach, and I've read Speck just a little further, and have now reached this. It's so good, I'm going to quote it. But first some background.

Speck says that many of the low-quality-transit cities studied in a recent report are perfectly poised to waste transit dollars, and that coincidentally, Dallas presents an instructive example...It's been spending bucket loads to create the US's biggest light rail system.] A few billion dollars later, apparently a greater percentage of Dallas residents are driving to work than at any time in the past quarter century...

The simple fact is that Dallas and its suburbs are almost completely lacking in neighbourhood structure. As a result, you get off the train, and...? The likelihood you can walk to any destination of utility is preposterously slim.

Downtown, only a few of the system's stations could be said to provide anything resembling a quality pedestrian experience, and that experience doesn't last long, because very little of downtown Dallas is truly walkable. Simply too much of it consists of over-wide streets carrying high speed traffic along treeless sidewalks flanked by blank walls and parking lots.

OK, I'm not a planner, but it's nice to know that what I thought I was observing last night, wasn't a figment of my layperson's imagination!

AuthorAmanda Falconer