This is member-exclusive content
icon/ui/info filled
Opinion

Is Joppa on the path to public transportation and a pedestrian bridge? We hope so. This article has
comments enabled.

The neighborhood’s residents need services and respect.

In sports, celebrating a victory often is best delayed until the final whistle. However, some victories are so special, so hard-fought and so deserving that cheers are warranted every step of the way.

Joppa, a community founded by freed slaves in the shadow of downtown Dallas, had lost its main route out of the neighborhood when Union Pacific Railroad closed a portion of Linfield Road. The route was hardly for the faint of heart; residents had to cross nearly a dozen train tracks to enter or leave the community. With that treacherous path closed, pedestrians were stuck with the equally unacceptable option of walking across a bridge built solely for motor vehicles.

Joppa received some good news this week — a promise from the Dallas City Council to set aside $500,000 for free, “on-demand” transportation provided by Dallas Area Rapid Transit until a safe pedestrian bridge is built over the Union Pacific Railroad’s tracks. Now, we expect DART to do the right thing and approve this temporary solution before the end of the year.

Residents had expected a safe pedestrian bridge out of their neighborhood in exchange for allowing the railroad to close the road and build a new bypass track to its railyard. The bridge hasn’t materialized, in part, because bureaucracies move on timetables that can leave behind the immediate needs of residents.

In Reckoning with Joppa, a heartbreaking and tragic account of how Dallas was this neighborhood’s worst advocate, Dallas Morning News architecture critic Mark Lamster spoke truth to power and now Joppa is no longer out of sight and out of mind.

The next steps are pretty simple. Build the pedestrian bridge as quickly as possible. Lamster reports that Union Pacific has agreed to pay $1 million for the bridge and the city, state and federal agencies are picking up the balance of the $8 million price tag.

Finally a sense of urgency exists. And that must continue as the construction project moves through engineering, bidding, council approval, environmental review, public hearings and other procedural requirements.

The history of Joppa is stained by insensitive urban planning, racism and a general reluctance to invest in impoverished communities. Joppa’s residents live within the borders of Dallas. They need services and respect, and to be treated not as an afterthought, but as a community whose needs have gone unaddressed for decades. And that begins with public transportation and a pedestrian bridge.

Got an opinion about this issue? Send a letter to the editor, and you just might get published.

Dallas Morning News Editorial. Dallas Morning News editorials are written by the paper's Editorial Board and serve as the voice and view of the paper. The board considers a broad range of topics and is overseen by the Editor of Editorials.

editorialboard@dallasnews.com @dmnopinion

Your voice matters.

Perspective

Get smart opinions

Editorial and commentary from op-ed columnists, the editorial board and contributing writers from The Dallas Morning News, delivered three days a week.

By signing up you agree to our privacy policy