City's Chief Transpo Planner Talks Streetcars and Why First Downtown to Oak Cliff Line Is "Critical Spine" Of System of the Future

DallasUnionStation.jpg
Dallas's first new streetcar line will run from Union Station to near Methodist Hospital in Oak Cliff. At least, that's the plan at present.
I've been playing phone tag with Keith Manoy, the city's senior transportation planner and the point man for all things streetcar. It's understandable. He's been a little busy.

"We're not in the streetcar business," Manoy says this morning. "But we're learning." He's doing his best to play catch-up. Not a lot of time for small talk with a reporter. He's also got a lot going on -- like getting maps and exhibits ready for Thursday night's town hall at Methodist Hospital. And he knows what's coming from that crowd. He knows people are going to ask why the initial line, funded in large part by $23 million in federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery funds, does not run all the way from Union Station to Methodist, as originally announced.

"Our expectation was [it would run all the way to] Methodist, but the reality is the money isn't there," he says. "Not that we've given up on finding additional funds, but you have to work with what you have in hand, especially as you report to funding agencies. What you don't want to do is define a project you can't deliver. But honestly, a lot of people think we shouldn't be doing it because it's not going to Bishop Arts, and I get that. But the reality is we have the money we have, and for me this is a really important link. It's a huge win. I personally hope people are excited. But I know some people think it's not going far enough."

Time is also a factor: The feds want that initial downtown Dallas-to-Oak Cliff line to begin revenue service by no later than December 2013. He says that the engineering work -- surveys, an environmental impact study -- has already begin. And, he says, there's still the slim chance it'll reach Methodist. But Manoy likes to refer to this initial phase as "the critical spine" of the larger streetcar system the city, Dallas Area Rapid Transit and the North Central Texas Council of Governments expect to take root in coming year.

"The idea is to get as close to Methodist as possible, but with $35 million, which is what we currently have, we won't get quite there," he says. "But, remember: That's a conceptual design. Once we get 10 percent of real engineering done, they'll know how close we can actually get to Beckley from where we are."

As we mentioned yesterday, this afternoon DART's expected to sign a contract with HDR Engineering to perform the Dallas Streetcar System Planning Study, of which the downtown-to-OC line is but a small piece.

"This link, from Union Station across the bridge, will be plugged into the system plan," he says. "But the system plan looks at the larger efforts within a three-mile range to connect downtown to the surrounding neighborhoods -- Deep Ellum, Victory, the Cedars, Oak Cliff and so on."

That study, he says, should take about a year, give or take. And during that time, the downtown-to-OC line will inch from concept to reality. And during those months, Manoy pleads for patience.

"Everybody knows this particular project isn't sexy," he says of the initial line. "Some people think it looks silly. But it's the most critical effort to link downtown to Oak Cliff, and it'll be the hardest to fund since it goes over the [Houston Street] bridge. But the fact the feds were willing to fund it is a huge win, and we want to extend it, which is where the system plan comes in. It'll say: Are we gong down Bishop? Zang? To Jefferson? It'll fill in the gaps. But, like I say, this is a huge win. And I'm excited. I hope other people are too."

Advertisement

My Voice Nation Help
10 comments
Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F...

Faster to put in Place, months rather than years Not as much damage to existing roadways less pollution from construction .

No added noise from clanking steel on rails or Bell clanging for that matter .

The truth is the people who want the street car want a COOL TOY rather than something in the practical for less money and substantial lower cost per mile If we are talking environment the full on street car is the wrong way to go .

pak152
pak152

don't busses already run from Oak Cliff to Downtown Dallas? why this route? what are the economics behind it?this column from my local rag puts some numbers behind what rail costshttp://www2.timesdispatch.com/...

ericthegardener
ericthegardener

Where in Oak Cliff is the track projected to end now?

Alex Roderer
Alex Roderer

you dont understand how great this thingwill be

Alex Roderer
Alex Roderer

that isn't the right thing to say about this it will be a really good thing and since you live in oak cliff you shouldnt complain the thing is already funded in most part too!

Alex Roderer
Alex Roderer

there isnt the right kind of parking in oak cliff becaust it was designed as a street car city at the turn of the city this makes it hard for many small bizsss to get all sorts of stuff you should look into it more! this will be a very good thing it also reduces the impact on the environment and makes dallas look more inviting because bus lines are often confusing and uninviting compared to street cars. IF you want dallas to become a real city go with the bandwagon if you dont move to canton or some city that hats mass transit.

Robert Wilonsky
Robert Wilonsky

From town hall announcement:

"The proposed alignment begins at Union Station and proceeds south along Houston Street, crossing the Trinity River. From the Houston Street Viaduct the alignment extends along Zang Boulevard, terminating near Methodist Dallas Medical Center (Colorado Boulevard and Beckley Avenue or Zang Boulevard and Beckley Avenue intersection)."

glynn
glynn

That route does sound like the back bone of a loop that will eventually run up Jefferson..... I really look forward to the day when my drive will be less than 3 miles to a station and I only have to walk a block to my office...... Ohhh the day!

Now Trending

Dallas Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

General

Loading...