Dallas Midtown, the mixed-use wonderland that will replace the decrepit Valley View Center, will have everything a modern urbanist could want. If everything lives up to developer Scott Beck's vision, there will be several thousand apartments and condos, hundreds of thousands of feet of office and retail space, artists to give it a SoHo vibe, easy pedestrian and bike access, and multiple grocery stores all centered on a 25-acre park with Klyde Warren-style programming.
There's just one thing missing: decent access to public transportation. Just in case the modern urbanist wants to go somewhere.
Beck's already thought of that. He says there are plans for a subway -- "it literally goes underneath the Valley View Mall area" -- with a stop at Dallas Midtown. The possibility of this east-west rail line was built into the LBJ Express Project, he says.
"The outermost lane that's the closest to the north access road, between that and utility easement there's a 100-foot easement that could fit a subway."
The rail line, which would link with the Red and Blue Line to the east and the Green Line to the west, is years, if not decades away, if it ever happens at all.
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"It's still a 'vision' element of the 2030 Plan, which means it is a project we would like to see happen but it isn't programmed," DART spokesman Morgan Lyons writes in an email. "No funding has been identified or set aside for it, so there is no timeline. We will look at it again with other projects as we update the system plan over the next year or so."
An LBJ rail line makes intuitive sense, given what the freeway looks like at rush hour. If Beck can start delivering a fraction of his vision and bring Uptown-style density to a patch of North Dallas two-and-a-half times Uptown's size, it will make even more sense.
Phase I of the project, a gateway building fronting Preston Road featuring 600 residences and 100,000 square feet of retail, is set to break ground later this year.
Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.