I'd called Keith Manoy, one of the city's senior transpo planners, about this earlier in the day; but since then I've heard from one of his colleagues, who promises more details about those Elm and Commerce conversions -- a time line, to be specific -- sooner than later. But while I had Manoy on the phone, and since I'm very likely to bid on this 1938 Dallas Steers handbill you see at right that Heritage is auctioning off in February, I had to ask: How's that Union Station-to-Oak Cliff streetcar line coming? Because, ya know, it's been a while, though I heard last week the project was out for bid.
Matter of fact, says Manoy, it sure is, with bids due back some time in March. "And as far as the time frame, we currently expect the project to start construction in April 2013 and be completed around June 2014." He also mentioned something more or less new to the 1.6-mile-long project: Shortly after the feds signed off on the project's environmental assessment last summer, they kicked in an additional $3 million for what's called a "passing track" that will be installed on Zang near E. Oakenwald.
"It's more for the longer-term project," Manoy says. "It will allow a streetcar vehicle to pull over and let another one pass. In the sort term, if a vehicle breaks down we'll have a way to continue service, since it's a single track. With the passing track we can pull it over and continue service and at the end of service day we can pull it out of there." Kind of like a "RIP track," I said, having watched Unstoppable 72 times on cable. "Yes," he said patiently, "kind of like that."
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Also, he says, city and DART officials are awful close to picking a car for the line. "I don't want to say too much about it," he says when asked, "but probably in the next couple of months we'll know for sure." Nothing retro, though. Something like this. Won't get you to Steers games either. It's not a time machine.