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Assessing the Union Station to Oak Cliff Streetcar Environmental Assessment

At last, that long-awaited Union Station to Oak Cliff Dallas Streetcar Environmental Assessment is now available for your reading pleasure courtesy Dallas Area Rapid Transit. You'll find the report itself after the jump; those wishing to drill deeper can peruse the myriad appendices here. But long story short, says Keith Manoy, the city's project manager: "No surprises."

"What it tells us is we can do the project," Manoy tells Unfair Park this morning. "When you do environmental assessments, you want to make sure, as it relates to the physical environment, that you're doing no harm and if you are you're taking necessary steps to mitigate that. But there are no right-of-way takes, and we won't be causing harm to adjacent property owners."

One of the main concerns was the Houston Street Viaduct: The feds, who are partially funding the project with that $23 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grant, wanted to make sure the "historic integrity" of the structure wouldn't be damaged by the streetcars. And, more important, they wanted to make sure it could handle the load. And it can -- after repairs are made. (Says the report: "Due to deferred maintenance, repairs would be done to restore the structural capacity and address concrete erosion of the viaduct.")

Says Manoy, "With the repairs that will be done, the bridge will be fine. And for the most part, most of the repairs that are being done needed to be done because it's a 100-year-old bridge. So the streetcar is no detriment to the structure." There is also no alignment change: The 1.6-mile route will run from Union Station to Beckley and Colorado.

So jump for the report, which the feds released this week in advance of a June 6 public hearing scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. at Hitt Auditorium at Methodist Dallas Medical Center. It's as good a sum-up as you'll find -- "extraordinarily readable," as Manoy says.

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