Extension Funding Sought
The Dallas Morning News reports that officials in Dallas are looking for funding to extend the 1.6-mile Dallas to Oak Cliff streetcar line before construction even begins on the initial segment.
The search is to enable extending the line beyond its planned terminus at Colorado and Beckley to the intersection of Zang and Davis. The rationale is that it would be cheaper in the long run to build the extension while the contractor is building the inital stretch. The cost of the extension is not yet estimated.
City officials feel they will likely have determined whether funding is available in the next 30 to 45 days.
Streetcars Will Operate Off Wire
The two Brookville Equipment Corp. Liberty streetcars that will be built for the 1.6-mile downtown Dallas to Oak Cliff modern streetcar line will operate "off-wire" on battery power for nearly one mile over the historic Houston Street Viaduct over the Trinity River, the Railway Track and Structures site reports.
Dallas Area Rapid Transit has selected the Stacy and Witbeck/Carcon Joint Venture team, with HDR as lead designer, for the Dallas to Oak Cliff streetcar line.
The Houston Street Viaduct, which the line will cross, is listed on the United States Register of Historic Places and both rehab work and construction of the streetcar track will require coordination with the Texas State Historic Preservation Office.
To avoid placing an overhead wire system on the bridge, the cars will be equipped with batteries so that they may run "off wire" for almost a mile as they cross the bridge.
The track structure will feature flat-profile tram rail, a relatively newly available type of rail section, which many projects are forced to consider since no girder rail is manufactured in the US and Buy-America rules prevent importing foreign rail. The reduced height of the new section should reduce impact to the bridge as a thinner track slab is needed.
It will be the second project in the U.S. to use this new rail section, after installation of a test section in Portland.
Design of the line is expected to be complete by April 2013. Construction is expected to be complete by June 2014.
Planning for a Streetcar Network
The new downtown Dallas to Oak Cliff streetcar line has yet to be built but already there is discussion about other potential streetcar lines in the city, Dallas Morning News reports.
Recently, planners for the city and Dallas Area Rapid Transit met with advocates for downtown and Oak Cliff to discuss how to connect streetcar routes on the two sides of the Trinity River.
A 1.6-mile streetcar line from Union Station downtown to Methodist Dallas Medical Center at Colorado Boulevard and Beckley Avenue is about to start construction thanks to $23 million in federal stimulus funds. As mentioned above, many in Oak Cliff hope to see the starter line extended south to the Bishop Arts District.
At the same time, the city is expanding the McKinney Avenue Trolley line to loop around Klyde Warren Park and the Arts District before it heads back to Uptown.
Streetcar supporters are studying how best to connect the Oak Cliff and McKinney lines in a way that benefits the thousands who work or live downtown, between the two.
DART and the city presented three potential alignments for linking the Oak Cliff line from Union Station to the new McKinney Avenue loop. On the Oak Cliff side they showed three possibilities for a southern extension toward the Bishop Arts District.
Though no funding is available to build these routes, the city wants to have plans ready in case funding becomes available.
In Oak Cliff the suggested alternatives included running the line south from Methodist to Davis Street along one of three streets: Bishop Avenue, Beckley Avenue or Zang Boulevard.
A route downtown will be more complicated. Options suggested include possible alignments along Ross Avenue to the north, Main Street through the center of downtown, and Young Street to the south. The potential routes are shown in the map below: