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Dallas Addresses Transit-Dependent Poverty

In Dallas poorer people often rely on transit, a familiar pattern throughout the United States. But when car ownership grants access to opportunity, this can be a problem.
March 18, 2015, 9am PDT | Philip Rojc | @PhilipRojc
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In car-friendly Dallas, poverty often means lack of access to the dominant form of transportation. Brandon Formby reports on the conditions people like Artis Frnak face daily. From the article: "A car could provide faster access to a better job, but loan payments, maintenance and insurance would eat away at salary gains. So it makes more financial sense to Frank to live near a DART bus line and find work close to public transit."

"That's how life goes along the poverty line in car-centric cities like Dallas, whose 20th-century growth birthed highways that became developmental skeletons for suburbs where the middle class have fled for decades. Left behind is an urban core with housing and socioeconomic problems — and infrastructure built for cars that many poor people can't afford."

For many poor city-dwellers, a car is prerequisite to advancement. "[Resident] Gaddis' car isn't about getting around quicker in the life she has, though. It's about improving her job prospects. She plans to enroll at Remington College in Garland so she can be a medical assistant. Using public transit to juggle education, child care and work would be too cumbersome."

The city's Neighborhoods Plus development report [pdf] outlines its current efforts to address these disparities. The Neighborhoods Plus plan will approach transit planning by gathering data on individual area needs. The goal is to make multiple mobility options available to residents. 

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Published on Friday, March 6, 2015 in Dallas Morning News
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