Which Dallas Neighborhoods Face the Longest Commutes?

Categories: Transportation

CommuteLakeHighlands.JPG
If you had to guess which Census tract in the Dallas area had the worst commute, which would you choose? McKinney, maybe? One of the far-flung Fort Worth exurbs popping up in Denton and Tarrant County?

If so, you'd be way off. The lone spot of dark brown on the Census Bureau's newish commuting map, the melanoma representing nightmare commutes averaging 45 minutes or more, is in Lake Highlands. The typical commute there is 49 minutes.

What gives? Mostly this seems to be the product of small sample size. The Census tract in question -- 78.26 -- is a tiny sliver dominated by the leg of White Rock Creek, DART's Blue Line, and the considerable footprint of the as-yet uninhabited Lake Highlands Town Center.

As of the 2012 American Community Survey, the area contained all of 161 working adults, 15 percent of whom (about 25 total) had commutes of an hour or more. And unlike the Census that takes place every 10 years, the isn't an exhaustive enumeration but a random sample which is why the margin of error on the 49-minute figure is 38. The average commute could be 11 minutes or it could be 87. In other words, basically meaningless.

Expect the commute time to drop dramatically once the population in that area more than quintuples in the coming years.

Compare the Lake Highlands tract with a random Census tract in McKinney. That contains a much larger sample size -- about 3,000 workers -- meaning the average commute time of 24 minutes is far more accurate.

Statistical quirks aside, the most striking thing about the map is probably the north-south (and rich-poor) divide. The Uptown-Park Cities-Preston Hollow corridor has some of the shortest commute times in Dallas County. The South Dallas-Pleasant Grove corridor, by contrast, has some of the longest.

Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.


Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help
36 comments
MikeWestEast
MikeWestEast

If the people in South Dallas have many of longest commutes, then junking 345 is a good thing, right?

txtone
txtone

try needing to be in N Denton by 730 and having to take wrecks into account

J_A_
J_A_

It's about to become hell for anyone taking tollway from 635 to 121

whiteguiltwimp
whiteguiltwimp

Eric Nicholson = "naive white-guilt libtard" personified

thejonesey
thejonesey

Oak Cliff to Uptown is a beating and a half now. Sylvan is still not fully open. Construction on 30. Construction in front of Sylvan 30. Downtown viaduct still jacked up. It's pretty freaking ridiculous.

P1Gunter
P1Gunter

This is shocking to no one that lives in East or Far East Dallas. Unless you work downtown the vast majority of well paying jobs are located in the burbs. That means crossing LBJ. That means traffic hell. I once quit a job simply because it was in Las Colinas, I couldn't take the hour and a half commute every morning. And that was before they tore 635 to hell.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but commutes will become longer and longer as people relocate to the metro area and clog up even more the over-trafficked highway web.  Now that DART has built the spokes on its light rail system, it's time to plan for concentric lines connecting the spokes.

Tim.Covington
Tim.Covington

As has been stated, I think a lot of this reflects people actually living closer to where they work. Many people now work in the suburbs. You throw in school zones, and those commute times will be 20-30 minutes. If everyone still worked in the downtown Dallas area, the commute times for most would be much worse.


As far as the commute times for the poorer areas, I imagine this is caused by 2 things:
1. Less jobs in those areas.
2. More people using public transit to get to work. I have a friend who uses DART to commute to and from work. If he is lucky enough to catch a shift that places his start or end time right, it will take him about 40 minutes one way (usually takes about an hour). On the times I'm able to give him a ride, it 15-25 minutes (depending on traffic and lights). He realizes this and accepts it as part of the cost of not owning a car.

Guesty
Guesty

I believe it.  

1)  Lake Highlands has the worst of 75, and then you still have to find a way east through traffic, stop lights, etc., all at a snail's pace.  Meanwhile, the folks going home to a northern suburb have just hit open highway (all the LH people have just turned off) and are moving at 70 mph. 


2)  Many of the people up north are only commuting to somewhere else up north.  A Frisco to Plano commute is shorter than Lake Highlands to CBD. 

MikeDunlap
MikeDunlap

Good demonstration of how sprawl taxes the working class and poor the hardest. A much larger percentage of their income consumed by transportation costs than is the case for the affluent.

doublecheese
doublecheese

When you give up the false assumption that everyone, or at least the vast majority of people, in the burbs drives to Dallas to work, it's not so hard to believe that those in far flung burbs don't have so much terribly longer commutes.  There's as much suburb to suburb commuting to work as there is suburb to Dallas.  Combine that will easy to access freeways, and you get decent commute times even with greater distance.  Then there's all the people who live in Dallas and commute to the burbs for work.

Rix1
Rix1

When I lived in Dallas, I lived in Lochwood. Commute to Uptown was 20 minutes and never on a freeway. I loved my drive.

roo_ster
roo_ster

@P1Gunter  

Indeed.  I635 is an horrible barrier to north/south movement.

bryanr01
bryanr01

@P1GunterI used to have a 70-mile round trip, driving my motorcycle on the HOV lanes.  I can't imagine doing that when you have a family, though; you would never see them.  

Now, I have a family and I live in East Dallas and work downtown.  When school zones are active in the morning, the commute is about 18 minutes.  Going home at 6:00pm, it's 12 minutes.  During non-peak times, it's 8 minutes. 



fbcx
fbcx

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz I was always a nay-sayer where DART Rail was concerned, then I actually used it for 18 months and I kind of enjoyed it. Like a VERY upscale NYC subway. Then my company moved several blocks further away from the DART Rail downtown stops. A 2 block walk underground isn't the same as 4 blocks at street level here in the winter or summer and the novelty wore off fast, that and DART started talking about charging to park at their North Stations and any monetary advantage looked like it was disappearing fast. Once I started driving again, that was all she rote! But I was shocked to hear Dallas had more rail line mileage than any other major US city (could that be true?). Anyway, you could double it and it still wouldn't be enough to be convenient for a majority of the populace. This just isn't a walking town. It just wasn't laid out that way. Around here for most people it would be like taking the Lexington Ave. train uptown and having to walk across the park to the Upper West Side. Not gonna happen. If you're within reasonable walking distance on both sides, maybe, but anyone who can afford it is gonna drive.

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

@Tim.Covington  

I believe that is the reason why mass transit is basically a flop in this town.  For a lot of people, the time is more valuable than potential economic benefits of using mass transit.

pancakekiller
pancakekiller

@Tim.Covington  That's exactly what it is. I'm a contractor, and when I work in Dallas it's downtown. I briefly lived in McKinney and my commute was over an hour...I lasted 2 weeks before I moved. 

fbcx
fbcx

@Guesty What part of Lake Highlands do you live in East Garland? I live in Lake Highlands and it is 15-18 minutes from my garage to the garage at Fountain Place. I LOVE my commute, sometimes down 75, sometimes down Greenville Ave to Ross. It's a breeze.You couldn't get me to move north of LBJ for anything. Everything worth having is within 5-10 minutes.

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

@Guesty If you're taking 75 to get to CBD from LH you deserve to sit in traffic.  There are a dozen better routes that are quicker and are far less affected by traffic.


chasd00
chasd00

@Guesty  very true, moving East-West in Dallas is a nightmare. Well, it's all a commuting nightmare but East-West is the worst. I wouldn't even know where to begin to address the issue. It seems like there's more drivers on the road every week.


I made a Dallas - Fort Worth commute for 10 years and a Dallas-Southlake commute for 3 but now i work from home. I hear the roar of the highway every morning and feel for you guys.

fbcx
fbcx

@MikeDunlap Dude, do you pay property taxes here? You got a lot to learn. Transportation is a walk in the park.

becoolerifyoudid
becoolerifyoudid

@MikeDunlap Of course the reverse, scarcity of housing leading to higher housing costs also taxes the poor.  The working poor used to pay 1 weeks wages for housing, closer to three weeks now. 

Tipster1908
Tipster1908

@MikeDunlap that is true regardless of what the city form is. it's true in New York City too. maybe it's not the same % of their income, but every other aspect of their lives there is more expensive so the tiniest price increase for MTA feels unmanageable.

WylieH
WylieH

@doublecheese What is it... something like 25,000 jobs disappeared from Dallas County over the last 10 years?  Presumably, they all moved north... to take advantage of cheap land rendered easily accessible by new sprawl roads.  In contrast, the City of Dallas's urban road network and infrastructure is allowed to decay into shambles

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

@bryanr01 @P1GunterLH is kinda isolated, yet close to muh.  I can usually get from LH to Downtown in 20 min rush hour or no.  But Irving, or Central/West Plano are hell.  I seldom cross 75 or LBJ for pleasure, and half my suppliers take me to NWHwy and 35 or 35 and Sandy Lake.  Those drive times vary by a factor of 3 depending on traffic/time of day

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

@fbcx  They said what we have now couldn't be done.  It CAN be done, because it HAS to be done.

fbcx
fbcx

@lftay Not even on a bad day, but I'd bet those 266,000 jobs didn't go far. Can you spell, Richardson, Plano, Allen, Frisco, McKinney, Lewisville, Colleyville, Highland Village, Las Colinas, Southlake?

lftay
lftay

@theslowpath @WylieH @doublecheese  Wow!  Who says Dallas isn't like Detroit?

Now Trending

Dallas Concert Tickets

Around The Web

From the Vault

 

General

Loading...