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Old 07-23-2007, 05:23 AM
 
17 posts, read 57,051 times
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I currently live in France and am considering relocating to Dallas along with my young family. From speaking to various people who have visited Dallas I understand cars are the preferred means of getting about & walking is uncommon. Is this true or an unfair stereotype? Taking this further do people spend a lot of time outdoors in Dallas? For example are the following activities popular:
- family walks around the neighbourhood
- walking to the local shops to pick up a few essentials
- children playing at the local outdoor playgrounds
- parents walking their children to the local school
- having dinner at home outside
- children spending most of their time at home playing outside in the backyard
Thanks.
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Old 07-23-2007, 07:17 AM
 
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I live in Plano and my answer would be "yes" to most questions.
We take walks around the neighborhood, and so do our neighbors. Or we take our bikes around the neighborhood. We have Arbor Hills Nature Preserve nearby, that is a nice place to go to.
I don't know about walking to local shops, maybe... They are close though. We've walked to go the movies, that is fairly close.
There are parks with playgrounds around the neighborhood, kids will be there playing, unless it is too hot or raining outside.
We are within walking distance to school, there are many children walking to/from school.
I would like to have dinner outside, but the back yard is full of mosquitos. So we moved the table into the enclosed sunroom and we keep the window open... Oh, and the fan is turned on!
Children play in our backyard, but not as much as I imagined. It gets hot and again, those mosquitos... If you have a pool in your backyard it's perfect though.
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Old 07-23-2007, 07:18 AM
 
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I forgot to add that we moved here a year ago.
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Old 07-23-2007, 07:40 AM
 
Location: Plano, TX
485 posts, read 1,191,289 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markdo View Post
I currently live in France and am considering relocating to Dallas along with my young family. From speaking to various people who have visited Dallas I understand cars are the preferred means of getting about & walking is uncommon. Is this true or an unfair stereotype? Taking this further do people spend a lot of time outdoors in Dallas? For example are the following activities popular:
- family walks around the neighbourhood
- walking to the local shops to pick up a few essentials
- children playing at the local outdoor playgrounds
- parents walking their children to the local school
- having dinner at home outside
- children spending most of their time at home playing outside in the backyard
Thanks.

1. In our neighborhood many of the families walk the neighborhood in the early evening. That's one of the things we really loved when we chose our neighborhood.
2. My kids have been known to ride their bikes to Blockbuster to pick up a game or movie, and stopping by Subway on their way home. However when we need something it's typically last minute and we drive.
3. Our neighborhood is in a sense built around the elementary school and many of the kids walk to school, many parents accompany their younger kids on that walk.
4. We love to eat outside by the pool depending on how hot it is. This year has been nice in that respect, however the mosquitos and flies have been particularly excessive this year.
5. My youngest son spends most of his time outside, either out front playing with friends or out back swimming or playing hockey and/or basketball on our sports court.
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Old 07-23-2007, 08:03 AM
 
Location: Lake Highlands (Dallas)
2,395 posts, read 7,469,916 times
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I live in Dallas proper (Lake Highlands area - aka N.E. Dallas - we live between Abrams and Skillman and between Church and Walnut Hill). We are a very short bike ride from the White Rock Trail, where I see lots of families riding their bikes. It's about a 3 mile bike ride to White Rock Lake - which is chock full of parks and open spaces.

I also see lots of people (both with and without pets) walking the neighborhood. Several neighborhood parks within walking distance. At the Recreation Center - which is about a 10 minute walk from our house, there's a nice park and a "spray park". The spray park is quite fun - lots of fountains for kids (or adults - my wife and I have gone there) to splash in and get wet. At this same park, there are several BBQ's and picnic tables around so you can have lunch/dinner without having to go home. At this same rec center - there's a pretty decent outdoor pool. Kids under 12 cost $1; adults cost $2 and its open from 1pm until 6pm. We don't have a pool (don't want the maint), so we use the rec center.

In 3 years, we will have a DART rail (commuter light rail - public transportation) stop within 1/2 mile from our house (developer just closed on the property). It's going to have a mixed-use facility with retail, residential and office space, so it will be wonderful to walk to.

Other than the local, outdoor stuff, there are some really fun areas within a couple hours drive. You'll definitely want to take your kids to Dinosaur Valley. There's a camp ground and a creek that comes through the park. The creek bed is full of dinosaur foot prints. It's very neat. Pretty good hiking trails with even some "rustic" camping places for people that want privacy/quite while camping (and are OK with packing in your own food, water, tent, etc - it's great for testing out backpacking gear before doing longer trips).

As far as walking to the store for a few essentials - I would have to say that is uncommon.

Driving to work is obviously a requirement, except for a few lucky souls.

My wife and I went to Paris last year and absolutely love it there. It is VERY different than DFW. Obviously, Paris is far more pedestrian friendly and has a much more developed public transportation system. As a trade-off, DFW housing is affordable ($100-150/sq ft is quite common place - compared to $800+/sq ft of Paris). Gasoline prices here are going to be shocking - we pay about $3 per gallon. This is quite possibly the reason we are a more car-based society, but there's a strong undercurrent for developing public transportation, but that can't happen overnight - it takes time and money to develop such a system.

As far as where to live - I am a big fan of quality of life. You'll find a lot of people here polarized about where they live and will build that area up as if it's the best thing since sliced bread. My advice is this: live 15-20 minutes from work and spend your time with your family instead of commuting. There are many employment centers in DFW and many nice areas within 20 minutes of those centers. Hope this all helps!

Brian

Last edited by lh_newbie; 07-23-2007 at 08:34 AM..
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Old 07-23-2007, 08:19 AM
 
1,005 posts, read 3,246,752 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markdo View Post
I understand cars are the preferred means of getting about & walking is uncommon. Is this true or an unfair stereotype?
This is true but I don't think it is unfair. DFW is an area built for individual car traffic, this can't be denied.
Walking is uncommon but of course not totally unknown. But If I compare DFW with the French cities that I have been to (Paris, Niece and smaller towns along the Côte d'Azur), DFW appears to be void of pedestrian life.

Quote:
Originally Posted by markdo View Post
- family walks around the neighbourhood
This is very possible. Essentially all neighborhoods have nice, rather wide sidewalks. People do walk the neighborhood but don't expect bustling crowds. It mostly feels solitary.

Quote:
Originally Posted by markdo View Post
- walking to the local shops to pick up a few essentials
Totally depends on the neighborhood. I'd say it is very uncommon, especially in the suburbs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by markdo View Post
- children playing at the local outdoor playgrounds
If it isn't too hot.

Quote:
Originally Posted by markdo View Post
- parents walking their children to the local school
Sure, if the school is close to the home. But usually people either drop off their kids in their SUV ("Soccer Moms") or the kids take the bus.

Quote:
Originally Posted by markdo View Post
- having dinner at home outside
Backyard BBQ is very popular. Probably not for dinner but it is a favorite weekend activity for many.

Quote:
Originally Posted by markdo View Post
- children spending most of their time at home playing outside in the backyard
Thanks.
Most of their time? Probably not. In the summer it can get just way too hot to enjoy the backyard.
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Old 07-23-2007, 08:24 AM
 
1,005 posts, read 3,246,752 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lh_newbie View Post
You'll definitely want to take your kids to Dinosaur Valley. There's a camp ground and a creek that comes through the park. The creek bed is full of dinosaur foot prints. It's very neat. Pretty good hiking trails with even some "rustic" camping places for people that want privacy/quite while camping (and are OK with packing in your own food, water, tent, etc - it's great for testing out backpacking gear before doing longer trips).
Next to Dinosour Valley is also the Fossil Rim Wildlife Center, which looks like a miniature version of the Serengeti. Very cool.
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Old 07-23-2007, 08:49 AM
 
Location: Lake Highlands (Dallas)
2,395 posts, read 7,469,916 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by galore View Post
Next to Dinosour Valley is also the Fossil Rim Wildlife Center, which looks like a miniature version of the Serengeti. Very cool.
We could fill several pages of cool places for kids in TX within driving distance.

One of the things I really think is cool is in Grapevine. The historic "Tarantula" train gets "dressed up" several times per year - once as "Thomas Train" and once near Christmas as the "Polar Express".

Of course there's The Schliterbahn (spelling?) near New Baunfels - an amazing water park, but that's a 5 hour drive. Closer to home is Six Flags (amusement park). Six Flags has a water park also, just down the street from the amusement park (name escapes me).

Downtown Dallas has the Dallas World Aquarium. It's very cool - especially the penguins (stinky, but still cool). Fort Worth has some amazing museums and Dallas is building one of the largest Arts districts - over $300 million of mostly private money. Right there, in front of the Arts District, a park is being built over the sunken Woodall Rogers Expressway to connect the Arts District to the Uptown area. Uptown resonates with many European folks as it's much more their style - definitely the best urban/pedestrian area in DFW. Lots of people walking, shopping and eating. Not as much of a family oriented environment as it is a young professional scene.

Anyhow, I hope this helps to explain some of the neat things to do in the DFW area. I know Dallas much better than Fort Worth, so my explanations are definitely more toward Dallas proper.
Brian
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Old 07-23-2007, 09:58 AM
 
6,585 posts, read 21,965,887 times
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I live in Dallas proper - Far North Dallas. I take a walk every night. There are a few others who also take walks. We have a city of Dallas hike and bike trail nearby that we can use or you use the sidewalks and walk around the neighborhood. The hike and bike trial is nothing pretty. It's in an easement of electrical towers and it does't get mowed enough. The Katy trial hike and bike trial closer in to town is much nicer.

The heat and mosquitos keep most people inside during the summer. If you have a swimming pool then that's better. You have to keep moving or underwater to avoid the mosquitos.

Walking to shops. It's possible, I guess. There are some shops within walking distance of my house but it's risky because there just aren't many walkers around. It's mostly cars and it can get scary walking along a busy street. I don't know anyone that walks to shops.

A few parents do walk their kids to school. I don't because I drop off and then go straight to work.

I have always taken my son to playgrounds. There are other kids there although most are from other countries. One playground we like because it has a creek running through it has mostly Middle Eastern people there. Another park is mostly Hispanic. There's isn't any interaction between my son and their kids (language barrier, perhaps?). Sometimes we just walk to the elementary playground nearby although we are often the only ones there except for teens trying to be "alone." Most kids don't go to public playgrounds though. Whenever I ask my son's friends if they want to go, none have ever been.

It seems the trend is today to create fabulous backyard play areas for kids with expensive playground equipment, swimming pool, trampoline, basketball hoop and have the kids stay home and play and the parents don't have to watch them.

Dinner outside? No way. Mosquitos.
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Old 07-23-2007, 11:05 AM
 
Location: Lake Highlands (Dallas)
2,395 posts, read 7,469,916 times
Reputation: 1033
I would agree that it seems like people build a back yard oasis in the upper/middle class neighborhoods. Also, a friend of mine uses one of these mosquito misting systems that use fine misters with a diluted Crisanthamum (spelling?) extract to kill off mosquitos. It costs about $200-300 per year for the solution for a normal back yard, but allows you to eat and play outside without the mosquitoes or other flying pests. My wife and I are seriously considering installing one when we get around to remodeling the back yard. I want to say they cost $2-4K for the installation of the system - but haven't gotten a hard quote for one. Something to think about!

Brian
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