Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Not Just On Track, It's Double Track

Maybe lost in the higher profile news of the last couple of weeks (the Scott Dunn "bimbo" tweet and the Laura (Maczka) Jordan bribery trial) was news that will likely have a longer term impact on Richardson. And it's good news! I'm talking about the decision to double-track the Cotton Belt line.

Dallas Area Rapid Transit’s section of the Cotton Belt Rail Line will feature a dual track design after a unanimous vote by the agency’s board of directors earlier this week. The decision to add a second track will allow two-way traffic and enable trains to run more efficiently while reducing wait times for passengers.
I've had trouble believing the Cotton Belt addition to the DART system is actually going to happen. I kept suspecting that like Charlie Brown and Lucy, the football would be snatched away at the last second. Now, with this latest news that DART plans to double-track the line, I'm beginning to believe that the Cotton Belt will be built, and in a way that enables its potential success. One of the biggest determinants of success of public transit is the frequency of service. By double-tracking the Cotton Belt, trains will be able to run in both directions simultaneously. Delays at stations to allow trains to pass one another will not be needed. Capacity can be expanded. In short, the Cotton Belt can be a real workhorse, not just a half-assed, pretend mass transit solution. Good job, everyone, on pushing this and making the right decision for long-term success.


Mark Steger said...

There are legitimate concerns with trying to extend mass transit to the enormous suburbs of north Texas. It's damned expensive and the sprawl is so bad that the region might not be ready for mass transit for decades. But waiting and retrofitting it in at that point would be prohibitively expensive and disruptive, like Robert Moses's plan to lay down freeways in Manhattan. I'm betting on our region eventually densifying to the point where we'll look back and be glad the system was put in place when it was. It probably won't be in my lifetime, unfortunately, so I won't be around to say "I told you so."

Kay McManus said...

I saw this in Denver too in the late 80s. People were saying the same thing because people worked all over the metroplex. The company I was working for at the time produced the traffic study report (can't remember exact name of the report), and it showed the same thing: most people did not work "downtown." People work everywhere.

However, the decision was made not to wait. We only have to look at cities such as Boston to see the benefit. I continue to notice the increase in heavy traffic, such as on Coit. It seems that no matter what the time of day the traffic is heavy.

The population is increasing rapidly, the pollution will only get worse, and the metroplex needs to continue to attempt to get on top of this. (I also won't see the results in my lifetime.)