Rail Expansion Shows Promise For Future Development

Posted by    |    July 12th, 2012 at 3:54 pm

Driving home from the airport last Friday, I was able to take stock of the progress on the new DART Orange Line extension and must say that I am impressed by the amount of progress that has been made thus far. It seems that Dallas is well on its way towards building a strong transit ridership base, one that will hopefully help to reduce traffic congestion on major roadways. But despite DART’s noble expansion efforts, the proportion of commuters who use mass transit to get from their residence to their place of employment in Dallas is significantly lower than cities of comparable size in the developed world, as noted in the Dallas Morning News on Thursday.

While we’re nowhere near having a system with the size and ridership of cities like New York, London or Tokyo, mostly due to the geographic expanse of the city and low population density, it’s hard not to appreciate what progress has been made thus far. The best way to create more ridership is to expand the system further and create more stations in residential areas, making it easier for more people to get to work via Light Rail. I personally would be happy to take the train to work every day if the nearest station wasn’t a ten minute drive from my house, by which time it makes more sense to drive the remaining ten minutes into Downtown.

To any friendly DART executives reading this, consider building a line that runs up the Tollway after crossing Oak Lawn from Cityplace. Such an extension would really help to reduce traffic and connect many more people and retail venues to the system. My proposed map for the new line is included below.

After that, all it takes to give the system a boost are more people to abandon their traffic-causing and pollution-emitting cars and hop aboard those bright yellow trains into the future of urban transportation.

Map of the DART Rail system, with my proposed “Silver Line” added in, running from Union Station to Downtown Frisco. Created by Mark Sehnert

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  1. Mike Dunlap says:

    DART can’t build a station to everyone’s front door. Nor should it. It has already wasted way too much money trying to build a system to chase down suburbanites -and that includes most of North Dallas which is car-dependent and functionally suburban – that have no interest and no incentive to take public transit. We are even set to build them yet another giant highway lifeline to their sprawl, something no other cities in the world are doing any more.

    Here’s a challenge for you, Mark: do the park and ride thing for 2 weeks. Or just take the bus. Take a car off the road for the betterment of your city. I think you’ll find the experiment a lot more enlightening and rewarding than you may expect.

    http://www.theatlanticcities.com/commute/2012/07/race-class-and-stigma-riding-bus-america/2510/

  2. Mike Dunlap says:

    Cool map though, by the way.

  3. Awesome! Idea of the silver line will have those riders who excited about light rail 10 minutes from their home. Other neighborhoods like oaklawn, highland park, Addison, central Plano, etc,etc.