Everything You Needed to Know About That Downtown to Oak Cliff Streetcar Line

Categories: Transportation
lateststreetcaralignmentmap.JPG
Click to embiggen the latest streetcar alignment map that will be presented to the DART board tonight.
On Friday, Keith Manoy, the chief transportation planning officer, spoke to Unfair Park about who will be responsible for what when it comes to the designing, construction, operation and maintenance of the Union Station-to-near-Methodist Hospital streetcar line, which has to be up and running down the Houston Street Viaduct by the end of 2013 to get that $23-million federal TIGER grant. Today we get an even clearer look at the whole operation courtesy the agenda for tonight's meeting of the Dallas Area Rapid Transit board, which will sign off on the inter-local agreement with the North Central Texas Council of Governments and the city of Dallas before council does likewise tomorrow.

On the other side you'll find not only the agreement, but all the facts and figures related to the $35-million project, considered by officials as the "starter line" for a much larger project if and when there's available money for the seven-mile-long expansion. You'll see guesstimated revenues, time lines, hours of operation ("14 hours of service, Monday - Friday. No weekend service") and the map you see above. You'll note: DART guesstimates annual operating revenue of around $400,000 -- and operating expenses of around $1.8 million -- through the foreseeable future, after the grants and other contributions run out (though it doesn't take into account extensions to Bishop Arts and so forth that would ostensibly get added to the line in coming years). DART says to talk to Manoy about that; I've left messages for him and council member Linda Koop, head of the council's Transportation and Environment Committee.

Update: Koop's out of the office and says she'll get back to us after she's had a chance to review DART's docs. Dart April Agenda Supplement

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30 comments
Alex Roderer
Alex Roderer

dall could actually be a cool city if it really builds this up. I mean it could turn into a real city where people use public transit. you people need to stop being so pessimistic about money oh man you people are so sad just pay for taxes. there are much worse things they could be doing with our money

Lakewoodhobo
Lakewoodhobo

Whatever they end up developing on the Reunion Arena site, I hope it's oriented in a way that takes advantage of its path along the rail line, unlike other "master-planned" developments (cough...Victory...cough).

Lemonaioli
Lemonaioli

I would to take it to Bishop Arts on weekends. Guess my dream has been squashed. Sigh.

Chris Danger
Chris Danger

What is it with these DART meatheads and not providing proper weekend service. To build a truly "world class city", you need transit that runs 24/7/365 without fail, not just between the hours of 6a-12m or making excuses why the streetcar/light rail/TRE cant run on a weekend day or with a stunted schedule. I've never understood why the braintrust at DART and/or with the city cant get it together like other major cities and offer weekend/late night services

Ed D.
Ed D.

No weekend service? Seriously?

Phelps
Phelps

So, the plan is to lose $1.4 million a year on this?

With Saturdays and Sundays off?

Okay, who's getting the money for the project, and which politician's pockets have they lined?

Alex Roderer
Alex Roderer

no it hasn't! it will make it there just give it a year or two! i promise it just needs some investment 20 million a mile that is! but im sure there are plenty of people that want to invest it thats how we texans get stuff done take our toll roads for instance!

md
md

Even if it ran on the weekend it would still go no further than Methodist Hospital.

md
md

What do you want to do at Methodist Hospital late at night on the weekend that you can't do at a hospital in your neck of the woods?

MattL1
MattL1

I am disappointed as well with the lack of weekend service. However, if the line is an initial success, they could add it in time.

However, most cities don't offer subway/rail service 24/7. In fact, the only one I have ever seen is New York. I do think that all these cities should run one late-night train about 15-20 minutes after last call.

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

San Francisco gets by with BART not running 24/7, but they seem to have a few more things going for them out there...

But I would agree that in the elementary school of mass transits, DART is the runty kid who gets picked on and beaten up but tries to talk big.

Alex Roderer
Alex Roderer

not really this is just the starter line the whole system is aiming at being about 40 miles privet investors are looking quite interested because it helps development and it raises property value. if you have 20 million dollars you can get a mile of track done! and 1 million a mile a year for operations.

Guest
Guest

You could run the streetcars at a $1.4 million annual loss for 185 years for what the taxpayers have lost on the High Five so far.

Phelps
Phelps

An initial success, of course, being that it only costs us $1.4 million dollars a year for the streetcar to nowhere.

Montemalone
Montemalone

Chicago (how I wish I had stayed) has 24 hour El service, and quite a few 24 hour bus lines. I think it has something to do with that world class city thing.

Alex Roderer
Alex Roderer

yeah this is a good start though maybe some day when dallas is cool it will run 24/7

wascallywabbit
wascallywabbit

Man, you 'burbers are so uncool. Always driving your cars around and whatnot. Here in Dallas, we walk and ride fixies everywhere. The roads are literally vacant.

md
md

Did the High Five collapse? Is it no longer being used?

You truly are an idiot.

WalkableDFW
WalkableDFW

And the key difference is that nobody ever factors in real estate value implications along with transportation costs (construction, operation, and maintenance). Around the country, streetcars have leveraged 5, 10, 20 times the amount of public investment by way of private investment (caveat: majority of this data would be garnered through real estate anomaly of the noughties).

Furthermore, why doesn't anybody ask you how much you lose per year in operation and maintenance costs of car ownership? Now multiply that by the 6 million residents of DFW. Numbers get really big, really fast.

Lastly (and directed towards phelps), the public sector is scraping the bottom of the barrel to make this work (for the investment reasons above). Also, as pointed out above, these costs are so minimal, so heavily red-lined, and budgeted that if you're worry about corruption, you ought to be looking at where the real money is at, which is ALWAYS at the highest level of the transpo $$ food chain.

Project Pegasus = $2 billion. We get zero ROI on that, but more traffic and the inevitable, "well we have to expand it again" rhetoric, b/c ya know, JOBS!!!111!!! 2 billion would get us 100 miles of streetcar lines. And untold amounts of private investment and new tax base. Highways have proven to create undesirable conditions near them. Undesirable = disinvestment. Streetcars = desirable = investment = density = tax base.

Alex Roderer
Alex Roderer

this is only the beginning 20 million dollars a mile for construction its happening. eventually this thing will be 40 miles!

Phelps
Phelps

It doesn't go to Oak Cliff. It goes from the edge of downtown to the edge of Oak Cliff.

MattL1
MattL1

Oak Cliff isn't "nowhere." It's a neighborhood in Dallas. I've been there, as a matter of fact. It's quite nice. You should check it out.

Craig Gathright
Craig Gathright

We wish you had stayed as well. By the way both Dallas and Chicago are "World Class" Cities based on GaWC studies. Granted Chicago is an Alpha Class World City while Dallas is a Beat Class World City (two ranks lower), but Dallas is moving up (moving up three spots from Gamma past Gamma + and Beta- to Beta)while Chicago has remained unchanged.

EDIT:

Alpha

* Alpha++ world cities: o London, New York

* Alpha+ world cities: o Hong Kong, Paris, Singapore, Tokyo, Sydney, Milan, Shanghai, Beijing

* Alpha world cities: o Madrid, Moscow, Seoul, Toronto, Brussels, Buenos Aires, Mumbai, Kuala Lumpur, Chicago

* Alpha− world cities: o Warsaw, São Paulo, Zurich, Amsterdam, Mexico City, Jakarta, Dublin, Bangkok, Taipei, Istanbul, Rome, Lisbon, Frankfurt, Stockholm, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Athens, Caracas, Los Angeles, Auckland, Santiago

Beta

* Beta+ world cities: o Washington, Melbourne, Johannesburg, Atlanta, Barcelona, San Francisco, Manila, Bogotá, Tel Aviv, New Delhi, Dubai, Bucharest

* Beta world cities: o Oslo, Berlin, Helsinki, Geneva, Copenhagen, Riyadh, Hamburg, Cairo, Luxembourg, Bangalore, Dallas, Kuwait, Boston

* Beta− world cities: o Munich, Jeddah, Miami, Lima, Kiev, Houston, Guangzhou, Beirut, Karachi, Düsseldorf, Sofia, Montevideo, Nicosia, Rio de Janeiro, Ho Chi Minh City

Gamma

* Gamma+ world cities: o Montreal, Nairobi, Bratislava, Panama City, Chennai, Brisbane, Casablanca, Denver, Quito, Stuttgart, Vancouver, Zagreb, Manama, Guatemala City, Cape Town, San José, Minneapolis, Santo Domingo, Seattle

* Gamma world cities: o Ljubljana, Shenzhen, Perth, Kolkata, Guadalajara, Antwerp, Philadelphia, Rotterdam, Amman, Portland, Lagos

* Gamma− world cities: o Detroit, Manchester, Wellington, Riga, Guayaquil, Edinburgh, Porto, San Salvador, St. Petersburg, Tallinn, Port Louis, San Diego, Islamabad, Birmingham, Doha, Calgary, Almaty, Columbus,

From Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G...

MattL1
MattL1

Ah, I should have known that, if only because the train outside of Elwood's window in "The Blues Brothers" runs all night.

Guest
Guest

How much money is it (the High Five) pulling in each day? How much do drivers pay in tolls or fares to use the High Five?

Zero dollars.

How much did taxpayers pay to build it?

$281 million.

So, it cost $281 million (and it costs money in upkeep, as well), and it brings in zero dollars in revenues.

Therefore, the taxpayers have lost $281 million (and then some) on the High Five and each day that goes by, the tolls and fares paid by users of the High Five continue to equal zero dollars, meaning the time it will take to make a profit on the High Five is infinity years.

If I spent $281 million building a business (something people frequently think mass transit should be required to be) that's designed to earn absolutely nothing in revenues, I'd be put in the looney bin.

For some reason, people frequently complain about mass transit being unprofitable based on the user fees (fares and whatnot) while never once requiring that of public roads or highway interchanges.

It's like we're cool with roads being fully taxpayer supported, but we suddenly become MBAs asking for ROI and profitability when somebody brings up mass transit.

My road should be free for me to use, but those other people should have to pay the full freight for their trains.

zobzerto
zobzerto

I wouldn't call him an idiot when you're the one who clearly doesn't get it. Read the reply from WalkableDFW for some help in understanding the concept.

Phelps
Phelps

There's just under 60 lane miles involved in the High Five, and it's used by tens of thousands daily. You're not going to get that return from 100 rail miles of streetcars.

Montemalone
Montemalone

And steetcars don't require parking lots. They actually eliminate the need for parking lots. That's a lot of land that could be put to better use. Land which drivers in Dallas consider to be free.

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