At around 9:30 a.m., few were waiting for the new Dallas Streetcar near Union Station. Several DART employees were on hand to offer information and count ridership. It was a lonely job. I was one of three to board the train after about a 15 minute wait for the short trip over the Houston Street Viaduct to Methodist Hospital.
This, the third day of operation, followed two days of rain and dreary weather. Today looked as it might be the same. By the time the train arrived, the sun was peeking out. It’s also the first part of three phases of construction that should make the line much more useful. The next phase will connect the Methodist Hospital to the Bishop Arts District. A final phase is expected to connect Union Station to the M-Line Streetcar.
The trip over the viaduct is scenic. It offers a panoramic view of skyscrapers and the Trinity River Basin. A new highway bridge is rising in the distance. I was also unfamiliar with Founders Park and Oak Cliff Park on the other side of the Trinity, which both look enticing.
By the return, the sun was out in force and a half dozen or so passengers were waiting to board the streetcar. As with anything, it will take some time until people make the ride part of their routine. Certainly the connection to the Bishop Arts District will boost ridership (assuming the runs are offered late enough at night).
Connecting to the M-Line had me exploring the idea that the cars could traverse McMinney Avenue on that line and extend the ride into Oak Lawn, perhaps turning off at Bowen and making a loop on Turtle Creek or even Oak Lawn Avenue and back on Hall Street. Perhaps someone with more powerful pencils can begin exploring the idea.