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Old 04-12-12, 11:15 AM   #1
TP_Mantis
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Dallas Suburb - which to choose?

Looks like we might be relocating to the Dallas area from Tucson. I will miss the climbs.

So which suburb do you recommend.

Wife and I are 32 and our son is 8 (plus 2 dogs)
Want to stay around families
Want a good group to ride 40-100 miles on the weekend
Will likely be travelling to DFW for consulting type stuff so i dont want to live on the road
Will rent initially but then buy in the $150 - $200k range
Good schooling important (especially for special needs - mildly autistic)
Access to DART? If its convenient I will take it, if not i will drive.

Thanks
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Old 04-12-12, 11:21 AM   #2
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Plano seems to be sort of the cycling hub of the area. But it's all pretty variable. The farther you get out of town, the better the riding.
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Old 04-12-12, 02:33 PM   #3
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Fort Worth.
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Old 04-12-12, 03:58 PM   #4
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I like Euless. Its near the airport, close to the TRE commuter train line, and has a good school. My son has aspergers and their programs are good.

Its far enough from Dallas, but still in the middle of everything, to me.

Anywhere in the H-E-B or Grapevine area is pretty nice. Plenty of nice houses in that price range, too.
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Old 04-12-12, 04:27 PM   #5
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i like euless. Its near the airport, close to the tre commuter train line, and has a good school. My son has aspergers and their programs are good.

Its far enough from dallas, but still in the middle of everything, to me.

Anywhere in the h-e-b or grapevine area is pretty nice. Plenty of nice houses in that price range, too.
heb???
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Old 04-12-12, 07:54 PM   #6
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heb is Hurst - Euless - Bedford

I like Fort Worth but would not want to commute to Dallas or DFW airport often from here.
I do most of my riding in sw parts of FW and outlying areas - Weatherford, Aledo, Benbrook.

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Old 04-13-12, 03:59 AM   #7
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heb is Hurst - Euless - Bedford
Yep. Hurst, Euless and Bedford are three smaller cities that combined their schools into one district.
They have a wide variety of students and many great programs for special needs kids. The autism specialist is awesome.
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Old 04-17-12, 11:21 AM   #8
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I'd vote Plano/Frisco areas.
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Old 04-17-12, 11:33 AM   #9
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A couple of other considerations. I remember a friend saying "Everyone thinks their schools are better." With that in mind, you might check with the districts on specific programs that you're looking for.

I don't have that much experience with the different cycling clubs, but Fort Worth seems to have the edge there. Mainly because they have one club, while the Dallas area is broken up among several (or that's the impression I get.) If you're into serious racing, you might check with specific local clubs to see what their rides are like and choose accordingly.

I work in the H-E-B area and haven't really seen much to commend it for cycling.

I think the references to the airport assume you meant "DFW Airport" rather than DFW area in your original post. If you're flying far away, get close to DFW Airport. If you're flying closer in, you're just as likely to be flying out of Love Field.

The Trinity Rail Express comes from downtown Dallas over to Fort Worth. It's slower than the DART lines, with less frequent trains. Especially avoid a commute that requires you to use BOTH of them. I work in Euless, live in Garland, but I still commute faster by car than I could by DART alone, much less the combination. All other things being equal, less commute time means more family and cycling time.
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Old 04-17-12, 11:40 AM   #10
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but Fort Worth seems to have the edge there. Mainly because they have one club, while the Dallas area is broken up among several (or that's the impression I get.)
Not so much anymore. I belong to the FWBA, which is probably the one you are referring to, but there is also the Manly Bulge Bicycle Club (race oriented), Lockheed Martin Rec Area club (open to non-Lockheed folks as well), FWMBA (Off-road). There is also the Lone Star Cyclists, (which is actually located in Grand Prairie, so they get to both sides of the fence.) There are also some regular groups that are not actually clubs, such as the Night Riders (fun bunch, there!). I'm sure I've overlooked a few.
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Old 04-17-12, 03:14 PM   #11
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The Trinity Rail Express comes from downtown Dallas over to Fort Worth. It's slower than the DART lines, with less frequent trains. Especially avoid a commute that requires you to use BOTH of them. I work in Euless, live in Garland, but I still commute faster by car than I could by DART alone, much less the combination. All other things being equal, less commute time means more family and cycling time.
I live in Irving, off of Irving Blvd, west of Loop 12. I'm 4 blocks from the South Irving TRE station, and I work in Downtown Dallas. Since my wife and I only have one car, I currently have 3 options for commuting to/from work (other than biking):
  1. DART Bus Route 63
  2. TRE to Victory, Green Line to Akard Station
  3. DART Bus Route 408 to Medical Center Station, Green line to Akard Station
The 63 bus picks me up 2 blocks from home & drops me around the corner from work about 35 minutes later. Going home it picks me up at the same spot & drops me 3 blocks from home, again in about 35 minutes.
I missed my bus the other day & either had to wait 45 minutes for the next one, or I could walk the two additional blocks to the TRE & take it. The single-ride ticket cost $3.75 (my monthly DART pass only covers DART buses & trains). I had to wait 15 minutes for it (20 minutes after the bus would have picked me up had I not missed it), and only had to wait 5 minutes at Victory for the Green Line train. I got to work 7 minutes later than usual, which was still 15 minutes early.
If I were to take the 408/Green Line, I'd have to catch it before the 63 arrives, and I'd get to work 15-20 minutes late. Going home, if I miss the first 63 bus, it's faster to wait the 45 minutes for the next one than it is to walk to Akard & take the Green Line/408 by a full hour.

It's faster for me to take the TRE/DART method, but it's more expensive. A local 31-day pass is $65, and allows me to ride any DART bus or train. To be able to ride the TRE in addition to DART I'd have to pay $100/31-day pass. Single-ride DART fares are $1.75, while a single-ride TRE fare is $3.50. It was cheaper for me to pay the $3.50 yesterday & get to work 15 minutes early than it would have been to take the next bus and arrive 30 minutes late.

My point is that TRE/DART commuting combinations aren't necessarily bad or slower than other methods. Yes, I could drive to/from work faster than the bus will get me there by about 5-10 minutes, but parking Downtown would run me about $60-$100/month, depending on how far from work I want to park, plus vehicle maintenance. By the time I'd park & walk the remaining few blocks to work, it would have been faster to take the bus. Plus I can sit & read on the bus while listening to tunes on the iPod & not get stressed out by traffic, & the people watching is incredible.

Also, the DART Orange Line is about to be open to Beltline in Irving/Las Colinas in a month or three, and will be expanding to D/FW airport in 2014.

As for the OP's question, I've lived in North Dallas, Mesquite, Richardson, Uptown, The Cedars, Downtown, & now Irving. If I had to choose one based on cycling, I'd choose Irving (lots of parks w/ trails/paths, beginnings of bicycling infrastructure). I don't have children so I can't help you with the schools question, although if I did, I'd either go with Richardson, Highland Park, private schools, or homeschooling.
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Old 04-17-12, 04:22 PM   #12
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The City of Allen is outstanding, and if you look on the east side of town, 150-200k can find a very nice home. Bicycle commute to the Parker DART station is 4-6 miles, which is 20-30min. Downtown is 44 min from there by DART train.
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Old 04-17-12, 04:40 PM   #13
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I live in Plano. We've got two outstanding resources for group rides: PBA and Richardson Bike mart.

There are also 3 easily accessible bike shops: Performance, Plano Cycling and.... Richardson Bike Mart. RBM is the local equivalent of Mecca for cyclists.

There are about 20-30 miles of MUPS in Plano. Our trails come really close to connecting to the Dallas system. I can ride from my house to downtown Dallas (30+ miles) almost exclusively on bike paths.

Plano/Richardson is also one of the few places where I have seen "Share the road" signage. Oh yeah, the city council also just passed a 3 foot passing law.
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Old 04-18-12, 07:01 AM   #14
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There are about 20-30 miles of MUPS in Plano. Our trails come really close to connecting to the Dallas system. I can ride from my house to downtown Dallas (30+ miles) almost exclusively on bike paths.
I read an article in the Startlegram just a few days ago that talked about some new bike trails that were just opened in the Bedford/Hurst area. They said eventually they want to connect them to the Trinity trails, with an ultimate goal of one day having a "veloweb" reaching across the DFW Metroplex. Probably talking several decades in the future on that dream, though.
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Old 04-18-12, 07:53 AM   #15
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well I need to put a plug in for the Frisco area. Commuting to the airport (DFW) is a breeze
since the 121 project finished up. Yah it's a toll road but the access road is almost as fast
and the traffic/lights are not too bad. I work about a mile from the airport and drive that route
daily, about 23 miles each way.
That said there is almost no public transportation up this way, I figure it would be about 15 miles
bike commute for me to get to the Parker Road DART station, maybe more.
Cycling in Frisco is big, there isn't a day I don't see at least a dozen riders, and on weekends
the roads are thick with groups, anything from beginners to full on A rides. We also have a
branch of Richardson Bike Mart, not quite the mecca as the original but a good shop.
The other plus here is we have the Frisco Superdrome, you can pretty much do anything
from train on the track to watch national level track races.
Housing goes from anywhere from $150K to multi million dollar McMansions.
the only downside I see to this area is it's getting too damned big...
Schools are reportedly very good but since my kids are all way past
school age I wouldn't know from personal experience.

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Old 04-18-12, 08:12 AM   #16
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If you have any plans for a multi-modal commute, keep in mind, it is easier to take your bike on a DART bus than on their trains. There are hooks to hang your bike on the trains but there is almost always someone sitting in the seats below the hooks. This leaves you standing in the doorway with your bike. One bike on the train is not too much of a problem, but once you've got two or three blocking the doors, it can be a huge hairball.
On the other hand, all DART buses have bike racks on the front. You put your bike on the rack and grab a seat.
Just something I've learned from 20+ years of DART/skateboard/bicycle commuting.
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Old 04-18-12, 08:53 AM   #17
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If you have any plans for a multi-modal commute, keep in mind, it is easier to take your bike on a DART bus than on their trains. There are hooks to hang your bike on the trains but there is almost always someone sitting in the seats below the hooks. This leaves you standing in the doorway with your bike. One bike on the train is not too much of a problem, but once you've got two or three blocking the doors, it can be a huge hairball.
On the other hand, all DART buses have bike racks on the front. You put your bike on the rack and grab a seat.
Just something I've learned from 20+ years of DART/skateboard/bicycle commuting.
We rode downtown a few weeks ago and took the DART rail home. We were on the tandem. Yeah, *that* was awkward.
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Old 04-19-12, 09:58 AM   #18
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I'm partial to the west side of the 'metroplex'. I live near downtown Ft Worth and love being in the city. Plenty of families around. There are good schools, but unless you live in just the right spot, you might find yourself applying for some of the better options as the default school in your area might not be the best. We absolutely love the schools our kids are in. Cycling culture in town is significant. There are several clubs and cycling groups that meet up at various places on various days in the city. Bike lane and sharrows have gone up everywhere and I've found drivers have adapted well to cyclists on the road. The more I ride, the less issues I have with motorists.

I would also consider Grapevine. The trails system through North Richland Hills now connects all the way up to Grapevine. Its a good town with good schools. Probably pretty weak on public transit though. The Dallas side definitely wins on public transit access.

Your best bet might be to rent somewhere as you said, and give yourself time to discover the areas you like most. Good luck!
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