Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Gentrification is, in fact, a slow process.

***Originally posted March 22, 2010***

When I first moved to East Dallas, I noticed the plethora of taco restaurants, sub-par condition of the roads, and how slow these Mexicans drive.

More often than not, I'd be trapped behind a slow car with a PiolĂ­n sticker and I'd very nearly claw my eyes out as passersby on bikes passed us by.

But after about a year, I understood that the streets are small, the lights change with frequency, and there's no fire I need to get to. In fact, driving slower will save your tires in neighborhoods whose roads are neglected, and you can make left turns without fear of getting plastered onto the houses and bars that line the avenue.

Now, when driving, I quietly mouth to motorists: "slow down, white man!"

In the suburbs where six lane streets with wide medians define the course of traffic, it is necessary to maintain a high level of speed to 1) keep up with traffic 2) not get caught in bad traffic light timing 3) cover large distances between destinations. On top of that, more traffic lights are needed because left turns are so difficult, for example when exiting a strip mall.

In conclusion, though Knox-Hendo has become a popular destination for weekend party-goers, the neighborhood still belongs to the residents, the majority of whom are mexican who have a tendency of keeping to the speed limit and below. The question then becomes: when gentrification is complete, will these small streets retain their ease of driving, or will the white people insist on drag racing and tail gating?

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