Oak Cliff's New Streetcar Won't Run Nights or Weekends

Dallas City Councilman Scott Griggs wasn't pleased with the status update on the downtown-to-Oak Cliff streetcar line city staff delivered Monday.

He wasn't happy that planners had settled on a final color scheme (parallel bands of DART's yellow, blue and white; picture here) without informing him. The Oak Cliff end of the line, scheduled to open in early 2015, is in his district after all, and he'd requested design information several weeks ago.

Griggs was more upset, however, by another detail delivered by senior transportation planner Keith Manoy: The system is scheduled to run from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday.

That's fine for workaday commuters. But what of the business types staying at the Omni who want to eat dinner or grab a drink in Bishop Arts? And what if someone in Oak Cliff wants to go downtown on a Saturday for .... some peace and quiet?

Part of the idea behind the street car, which will cost around $51 million by the time it's finished, was to "capture that group of people, and we're completely missing out on that," Griggs said.

The Oak Cliff streetcar line will keep missing out on that for the foreseeable future. For one, the Bishop Arts and convention center stops are part of the project's second phase, and construction on them hasn't yet started. There's also no funding currently available to extend the hours.

Luckily, Councilwoman Vonciel Hill has a solution.

"The way for us to get the additional hours is to get extra federal funding," she said.

Hill, as she is wont to do, encouraged Griggs to put on his walking shoes to lobby Congress the next time the council heads to Washington.

Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.