In the Loop: A Closer Look at MATA's "Urban Streetcar Track Extension" Downtown

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matadowntownloop.jpg
Click to embiggen: DART sends this map of the MATA's downtown loop
Morgan Lyons, Dallas Area Rapid Transit's spokesman, and Jay Kline, DART's streetcar liaison with the city, were kind enough to forward along this map of the McKinney Avenue Transit Authority's "0.65-mile urban streetcar track extension," just announced as the $4.9-million recipient of a federal Urban Connector Grant.

As DART submitted the grant application and will oversee construction of the loop -- which is indeed expected to connect with the one-day-down-the-line downtown streetcar line, itself the recipient of $23 million in federal money in February -- I asked Lyons when the agencies expect to have the MATA extension completed, to which he responds: "We're coordinating with the city on timing. Our project is scheduled to be completed in late 2012/early 2013." And, no, downtown construction projects are not expected to interfere with that time line, as one Friend of Unfair Park wondered below.

I asked Kline where, specifically, the MATA extension will connect to the downtown streetcars. He responds, via e-mail:
Initially the projects will not connect, but the ultimate goal is to connect them. The City would like to have a unified streetcar system that would connect not only the Oak Cliff project and the McKinney Avenue operations, but also other potential corridors. To that end, the City will initiate a streetcar system planning effort shortly that will identify where those potential corridors might be.
I've also left a message for Keith Manoy, head of transpo planning for the city.

Update at 12:30 p.m.: Lyons sends another update: The feds' $4.9 million grant will "have a local match of $5 million from the North Central Texas Council of Governments." And, says DART President and Executive Director Gary Thomas, "The support of the Department of Transportation and Federal Transit Administration is critical. It's also important to note this would not have been possible without the sustained efforts of Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson. We appreciate all she does to help keep our region moving."
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