Here's where Dallas will build a new subway and streetcar line

 

The Dallas City Council on Wednesday gave its support to plans to build a downtown subway route under Commerce Street.

 

Council members also tentatively approved a new streetcar line that would connect the city's two existing streetcar lines through downtown. A large part of the new line also would run along Commerce. The council supported both plans unanimously.

 

Dallas Area Rapid Transit will continue design work on the projects as the agency pursues federal funding, DART spokesman Morgan Lyons said.

 

"There's still work to do," he said.

 

The estimated $92 million streetcar would link the existing streetcars in Uptown to those that run from Union Station to the Bishop Arts District in north Oak Cliff.

 

A Downtown Dallas Inc. study suggested an Elm-Commerce alignment as the most advantageous route because of its potential economic impact. The council followed this advice by approving the route, though council members also kept two other options on the back burner: a Main Street alignment and a Young Street alignment.

 

Proposed route options for a downtown streetcar line
<br>(DART)
    (DART)

 

Far North Dallas council member Sandy Greyson reiterated her support for a "Young-Harwood" alignment because "it's an important linkage" from north to south.

 

"I'd like that to continue to be looked at," she said.

 

Greyson backed the Young-Harwood proposal when the council's transportation committee considered routes because she said it would improve access to the Farmers Market area and possibly spark growth in vacant, privately owned lots behind City Hall.

 

But the Young plan wouldn't spur as much economic development, said Kourtny Garrett, CEO of Downtown Dallas.

 

"The Elm-Commerce option just makes more sense," Garrett said. "It serves for better extensions and better office leasings."

 

Garrett has previously noted that the streetcar and subway will serve different groups of riders. People who live in and visit downtown are likely to use the streetcar to circulate Uptown and in north Oak Cliff, while subway users will probably be commuters from farther out.

 

"It's a significant achievement: We now have decisions; we're ready to move forward," Garrett said. "We've been waiting for this project for many years."

 

The subway line

 

The estimated $1.3 billion subway will serve as a reliever line since all four existing DART light rail lines run on the same downtown tracks.

 

 

The Commerce option is one of three that were still under consideration after years of planning. The others proposed running the line beneath Pacific Avenue or one block south under Elm Street.

 

Council members didn't take any issue with moving forward on the Commerce alignment — a marked departure from previous contentious debates about whether the alignment should be above ground and farther south.

 

Proposed route options for downtown Dallas subway

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Each of the routes would begin above ground near the existing DART Victory Station and wind over to a new station next to the Perot Museum of Nature and Science. It would then pass under Woodall Rodgers Freeway before going underground.

Under the proposed Commerce route, the subway would then curve east on Commerce before popping back up just before Good-Latimer Expressway near Deep Ellum. The proposal calls for the elimination of the existing Deep Ellum station. The Baylor University Medical Center station would be renamed to include Deep Ellum.

 

The streetcar is projected to be completed by 2023 and the subway is expected to be finished the following year.

 

DART still has to secure all the funding and finalize its plans, but clearing the hurdle Wednesday is significant, Garrett said.

 

"It's a big day," Garrett said.

 

Staff writer Tristan Hallman contributed to this report.