In Dallas, streetcar service debuts
Tom Fox/AP. Guests get off the new DART Downtown-to-Oak Cliff Streetcar at the Greenbriar stop for the public transit debut ceremony.
I don't understand: why is it that streetcar service in Dallas starts about one month after taking delivery of the vehicles?
Meanwhile, DC's streetcar program staggers along, although the Mayor has committed to the opening and extension of the first and maybe only line ("Bowser's budget for D.C. streetcar project focuses on single line," Post).
Dallas’ new streetcar began service last week ("Downtown-Oak Cliff streetcar debuts with speeches, curious riders," Dallas Morning News), between Downtown and the Oak Cliff neighborhood, which is the home of Methodist Hospital.
Like streetcar service in Tucson, was put forward and inserted into the local transportation agenda as a result of citizen activism rather than as a top-down project initiated by transportation and planning officials ("Once-skeptical Dallas city manager has a desire for streetcars," DMN).
Oak Cliff Transit Authority, which grew out of an initiative of the Oak Cliff neighborhood's chamber of commerce, is also a co-founder of the Dallas Better Block Project.
From the DMN:
Bravo to local and regional agencies for the launch of long-awaited, downtown-to-Oak Cliff streetcar service this week. Years and about $50 million in the making, the fare-free line runs from Union Station to near Methodist Dallas Medical Center. The idea was the brainchild of neighborhood activists who saw a grant opportunity to revive an old-fashioned link with the center city. The project has blossomed into efforts to extend the line farther, to the Bishop Arts District and to near the Omni Dallas Hotel. It’s exciting to see a good idea catch on and become reality.Maybe the fact that the support of citizens moved the project from an idea to reality is the key difference in streetcar deployment between DC and Dallas (and Tucson).
In DC, while there has been a strong core of citizens in favor of streetcars all along, there has been an equally strong group of skeptics and pro-automobility shaped opponents that has been equally strong, and there hasn't been a strong pro-position articulated that could successfully vanquish the opposition.