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.