After the jump, a tale of two cities' attitudes to the Cotton Belt line.
In an article in Unfair Park, Eric Nicholson summarizes the latest plans for the 60 mile rail project. One paragraph stands out:
Kudos to Richardson for its foresight. Public transit is not just about building park-and-ride stations. It's about planning for a future that won't be able to support ever-widening sprawl in north Texas. Richardson is open to new solutions by embracing the increasingly urban environment the cities of north Texas will inevitably find themselves in. The residents near the proposed Preston Rd station are clinging to a past that has been very good to them but may no longer be sustainable.DART and the city of Richardson plan to go all out with the UTD station "transit plaza," with a hotel, event center, mixed-use development and something resembling a cross between a geodesic dome and an alien spaceship. The Renner Village Station will be surrounded by an "urban living laboratory," which looks like mixed-use development centered around ponds. And the proposed Preston Road station (at the intersection with Keller Springs Road just north of Arapaho) will be difficult to sandwich, have low ridership (544 passengers per day), and, the presentation notes mildly, has encountered "strong public opposition."
Source: Unfair Park.
One anonymous comment to the Unfair Park article also stands out:
Agreed, to a point. A streetcar network through central Dallas would be a huge plus for urban living in the core of the metropolitan area. But there's no funding for that project, either. The planning for the Cotton Belt line assumes a public-private partnership with much of the funding coming from private sources. Finding private money may be wishful thinking, at least for now, but so is getting private funding for a downtown streetcar network. DART doesn't have funding for either project. If private investors are willing to fund either project or both, DART should go for it. This is not an either-or proposition. North Texas would benefit from both.$2 Billion will build quite an extensive streetcar network throughout out Downtown, Uptown,Oak Lawn, Knox-Henderson, and East Dallas with a MUCH higher ridership and better generate a much larger tax base. But once again DART is far more interested in serving D/FW Airport and suburbanite commuters.
Source: Unfair Park.