After Three-Year Delay, DART Resumes Study for Second Downtown Light Rail Line

For years, DART's been planning to stick a second rail line downtown, the better to handle the convergence of what is now four separate rail lines. A three-year study was completed back in 2010, and the list of possible routes was whittled down to four alternatives, all traveling through Victory Park and past the Perot Museum en route to the Deep Ellum Station, but each with a different way of making the link.

Since then, there have been a few potential game changers. The downtown-to-Oak Cliff streetcar line was funded and is now being built. The city didn't really like that its preferred option, a line passing by the Omni, was not given greater priority. And, most important, the recession meant that DART had to indefinitely delay plans, pushing back the expected opening to at least 2030.

And so things have stood, more or less motionless, for more than two years. But that's about to change. DART announced today that it will host a public meeting next Wednesday at its Pacific Avenue headquarters to discuss the second light rail line and its potential routes.

The February 13 meeting, which lasts from 6 - 8 p.m., with a 5 o'clock open house, is part of a second study phase paid for by a $700,000 federal grant. The idea this time is the same as it was last time: Come up with a preferred route that can then be built.

Actual construction is still a distant glimmer but, for the first time in three years, there is movement on the second downtown light rail line

One would stay on Commerce, passing by Main Street Garden and the future UNT-Dallas Law School; another would pass down Young Street, providing access to the Farmers Market; a third would run down Marilla, past City Hall and the library; and the fourth, least direct route would do the same, albeit with a stop at the Convention Center Hotel.

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