Heart-shaped boxes of chocolate, teddy bears and red roses galore: You know the drill. It’s February, and love is in the air.
And with all that sappy sentiment, you really can’t help but see the world — including our neighborhood — through rose-colored glasses.

In fact, ask just about any Lake Highlands resident how he or she feels about our neighborhood, and you’ll hear nothing but lots of love — the schools are top notch, the neighbors are friendly, and the community cares.

But let’s be honest: Every great love, even the love for our neighborhood, eventually reaches the end of its honeymoon stage. Sure, we’re all crazy about Lake Highlands, which is obviously why we choose to live here. But there’s always room for improvement. And while neighbors say they wouldn’t change much, there are a handful of pet peeves we absolutely love to hate.
Chances are, a few of them will ring true with you. 

IF ONLY WE HAD A PEI WEI …

I sometimes get frustrated by the fact because when I drive into newer areas of Dallas (McKinney, Coppell, Southlake, etc.), they always seem to have all of the popular fine dining and casual restaurants and retail stores grouped together in their immediate neighborhoods. Other than a few places, we have to drive to the west anytime we want to eat out or shop. It would be nice if we had an Einstein’s Bagels, La Madeline, Pei Wei, Pot Belly’s, Blue Goose, Cafe Brazil, Snuffer’s, Burger House, etc., in our area. I think Lake Highlands would support these establishments. Build it, and we will come.
— Sam Finklea

To all retailers, especially grocery stores, I am putting you on notice. I am sick to death of seeing trash strewn all over your parking lots, including dirty diapers, empty fast food sacks and, worst of all, beer bottles. Also, when I spend $200 a visit to your store, you should train your people to look me in the eye and THANK ME for my business. It’s bad enough that I have to negotiate my way through trash and broken glass just to get into the store, then to bag and take out my own groceries … now, all I get are surly stares and silence from your employees. I live here, but I don’t work here. I can take my business elsewhere. And I will if your service doesn’t improve.
— Jean Fifer

I don’t like that we don’t support the businesses in the neighborhood, so we can’t get anything in here. I’d like to see anything but a dollar store.
 — Kathy Graves

There should be a Starbucks at the corner of Audelia and Walnut Hill where Mi Cocina and LA Fitness are. You have to go toward 635 to get to one, but most of my life is spent headed toward 75. And I don’t like that the Braum’s was torn down, and now you have to drive all the way to Forest and Greenville to get their milk.
— David Leventhal

Really, I wish that we had more restaurants. That’s my main beef. I feel like I have to drive 20 minutes to get to yummy restaurants. I’d like a Corner Bakery, a Pei Wei, more Mi Cocina-like things — family restaurants with easy take-out and easy eat-in.
— Amy Anderson

BEWARE OF LANCE WANNABES

Recently, I was almost run over by two bikers speeding on the trails at Norbuck Park. There was no way they could have seen around the bends. I heard them and stepped aside. Then I encountered them coming down the hill from Van Dyke — they were really speeding.
Also, so much has been given to bikers in this area alone — their own bike trails, etc. — and yet when coming up Mockingbird, they still insist on riding in the lane. Many are not responsible or respectful toward motorists or walkers. I think it is about time the police started ticketing the bikers when they do not adhere to the rules. And they should all have to have license plates. There is no way a pedestrian or motorist can identify a biker who threatens them or rides recklessly. Talk about revenue — just put a traffic cop on the part of Mockingbird between the dog park and the bend into White Rock, and write out those tickets!
— Mili Tortora

I get frustrated by the lack of smooth surface road bike trails in and around our area that are dedicated to bike-only enthusiasts. On weekends, fighting for riding space at White Rock Lake becomes quite a task. Walkers and joggers get frustrated by the bikers, who pose a danger to their safety and vice versa. The two should never have to share paths. It’s just too dangerous. I wish there could be separate smooth paths dedicated to each. Oh, what a wonderful world it could be.
— Sam Finklea

I love, love, love the White Rock Bike Trail, but I absolutely LOATHE bicyclists who use it during busy times as their personal Tour de France race course. There are little kids just learning to ride a bike (without having to worry about cars), families towing small children, older residents out for a stroll or ride, walkers of all stripes — fast, slow, with strollers, with dogs, with kids on skates — and we CANNOT hear the speed demons racing up behind us. The rule of the road is to announce with plenty of warning that you are "passing on the left," and then those racing bikers need to slow down. Six-year-olds, the elderly, dogs and even other bicyclists are notoriously unpredictable. I have seen many a near-miss and have been hit (while standing stock still for a biker to pass me) by these Lance wannabes.
On a related note — the whole bike trail system needs to be widened and expanded. It’s one of the best things going in this part of Dallas.
— Jeanne Spreier

BUGGED BY LITTERBUGS

One of my gripes is seeing all the trash along Skillman from Abrams, northward toward 635. It does make our neighborhood look trashy. Even with the trash can within reach, rogue patrons would rather drop their trash for others to pick it up.
And where have all the trees gone? I really like shopping at the Super Target, but now we only have nice memories of the trees that were taken down on this property to build the parking lot and store. Too bad there was not a concerted effort to maintain the lovely natural greenery so typical of our neighborhood.
Also, I think we need to have some design police before new construction is allowed to go up in these nearby shopping centers. All kidding aside, I do wish we had a say before someone builds an awkward looking building such as the “Flashmart” or the newly constructed building on Walnut Hill, by the Sokol building, that has no design appeal and adds to the “eyesores” we already have, such as those older businesses at the corner of Abrams and Skillman who cater to booze-buying patrons.
— Lynn Poer

What I see is disregard for natural beauty. The corner of Skillman and Northwest Highway was once fought over and won by the citizens who wanted green and plant growth, and since then? They have been nibbled away, not butchered. Every month there is a big city container for debris and they cut a little more. On one of the corners, the new trees are "poodled" up so that you can see the trash underneath, but there is no undergrowth like there is in a natural forest. Who is thinking at all? They keep making the same mistakes.
— Victoria Harvey

To the people on the streets of Lake Highlands, either in car or on foot: Please stop using our roads as your trash cans. I have literally seen people throw entire sacks of trash out their car windows at stoplights. It disgusts me.
— Jean Fifer

LIFE IN THE CARPOOL LANE

Now that my fourth child has entered high school, I am moving closer to giving up the "mommy duty" that I hate most — carpooling to school. It isn’t a carload of kids that make me crazy (or their choice of radio stations), it is the OTHER moms who don’t (or won’t) follow the drop-off rules. As they said in that movie when Michael Keaton took on carpooling duties, "You’re doing it wrong!"
Here’s a primer on carpool etiquette: At all Lake Highlands schools, there is a drop-off lane where you wait your turn, pull up to the building and let your child out. Then there is an exit lane (or passing lane), which keeps moving to allow parents to leave. The passing lane is NOT for parents who are in a hurry or have an important meeting! If you stop in the passing lane to let your little precious out the door, and she takes her time and drops her book and — oh yeah — needs some lunch money, all of the rule-following, ready-to-go-to-work parents are now stacked up behind you, and NO ONE can leave.
Luckily, the dropped-off children are already out of the car when these parents-held-hostage begin their angry tirades behind the wheel.
— Carol Toler

This community is still based on the stay-at-home mom. Most of the women’s groups in the local churches meet in the morning. Most of the PTA activities and get-togethers are in the morning. Unless you own your own company or have a lenient work schedule, there are not many areas where an outside-the-home working mom can participate.
— Mary Vann

FLASHING RED LIGHTS WELCOME

We are directly north of the northeast police substation, yet we don’t have any police patrols through our neighborhoods. Even if no crime is going on in the area, it would be nice for the police department to schedule car patrols in the residential streets. I lived in another suburb previously, and we had patrols come through throughout the day, usually at times when things weren’t so hectic. Since we are right next door to the substation, I would think it would be easy for the officers to drive around our streets right before shift changes if they have some time to spare. I don’t blame the officers at all, but I do think the administration should possibly suggest and encourage more street patrols. Unfortunately, our area has seen two armed robbery attempts in less than three weeks, and now the neighborhood residents are leery about walking outside after dark. Walking after dinner used to be a neighborhood tradition for many in our area, and that has been directly affected by these crimes.
— M.G. Visser