Oak Cliff Transit Authority Hopes City Will Still Consider Streetcars on Continental Bridge

Like we said Friday, once upon a time the city had hoped to turn the Continental Bridge into a streetcar-pedestrian park mash-up -- that conceptual rendering you see above didn't come outta nowhere. But one anonymous $10-million donation later, and, as Jim noted upon his return from City Hall yesterday, that streetcar option's looking less viable than ever -- maybe the Houston Street or Commerce Street bridges, from the sound of it. So just you never mind that streetcar alignment map we showed you last month. Move along.

Not surprisingly, that's not sitting too well with Jason Roberts, whose Oak Cliff Transit Authority's has long pushed for a connector between downtown and West Dallas and Oak Cliff.

"We need to make sure this isn't Arts District-only," Roberts tells Unfair Park today. "My fear is if we do that -- keep the streetcars in the Central Business District -- it'll only be used at specific times of day and not appeal to the greater community at large. Streetcars spark economic redevelopment, and when you think about what needs that, it's West Dallas and North Oak Cliff. Of course, I am biased; I live in the area. But I see the benefits. It could spark some incredible small business opportunity.

I think we just keep hammering our council members to fight for this."

Cliff-dwellers have been pushing for something called the Trinity Lakes Streetcar Loop; Rodger Jones posted the plans earlier this week, while also wondering whether "time has already gotten away from the Trinity Lakes Streetcar," given that the current plans for the Continental. But Roberts is not defeated. Not yet.

"We started off in 2006, right around the same time the downtown line was first being discussed. We were going in tandem, but we weren't talking. At this point, we're trying to figure out what will work. We both want these things. How do we get a compromise that'll achieve all of our goals. We need something to connect downtown with single-family homes in West Dallas with major southern-sector employers like Methodist Hospital. This is about the true livabilty factor. When you visit a city, sure, you visit the Central Business District, but you also go out to those small pocket neighborhoods for a flavor of the city. And if we don't do that, streetcars will make for a nice downtown, and that's it."

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky