If you’re trying to rely on DART rails and busses to navigate Dallas, the inconvenient truth is that they just aren’t quite there yet.
But with the Bishop Arts DART streetcar expansion completing August 29, public transit inches toward full downtown connectivity. The line starts near Reunion Tower on Houston St. and ends on Davis St. at the foot of the Bishop Arts district.
That trip would normally require either a 50-minute walk or a 12-minute drive followed by the increasingly tough task of finding parking in Bishop Arts. But once completed, streetcars will shuttle between downtown and Oak Cliff every 20 minutes at no charge.
With the addition, you could hypothetically start at Parker Road Station in Plano and get all the way to Oak Cliff in under an hour, with only one transfer. The same trip would still take 45 minutes by car if you somehow managed to hit no traffic whatsoever.
The completion of this project signals the final piece in the DART puzzle. With Bishop Arts’ inclusion in the circuit, you can now jump between Oak Cliff, Deep Ellum, Uptown and the Arts District for the price of one DART day pass.
However, there’s been criticism from City Council, saying that the streetcar circuit is made redundant by the D-Link bus route. But Councilman Kingston argued that the streetcar represents the citizens of Dallas pushing back against the construction of more freeways, and that it will only grow to be even more useful with time.
Additionally, the criticisms seem to overlook the fact that the D-Link is much more tourist-oriented, advertised as “a special service from DART that lets you explore the districts of downtown.” The streetcar, on the other hand, is intended to be for Dallas residents. The extension can be used by commuters or even just to finally connect the Dallas neighborhoods
By extending its reach to Bishop Arts, DART opens the door for similar extensions to increase the connectivity of the system.
Most people overlook DART because many stations are fairly far from popular areas. Deep Ellum and other downtown stops are exceptions, but if someone’s destination is more than two or three blocks from a station, they’ll probably just drive. Extensions like this are the solution.
Areas like Lower Greenville still don’t have direct access to DART stops. The closest stop to the neighborhood is Mockingbird Station, which is still about a 30-minute walk away from the majority of the area.
But by adding streetcar circuits or even simple shuttles to and from DART stations and popular areas, the DART’s reach would be drastically improved.
For its next phase, DART is already planning to connect with its M-Line trolley through the Main Street district. They’re also planning to connect the Union Station stop to the Dallas Convention Center, which could be the much-needed solution to the headache of AAC parking.