11 things to know about (and 10 safety rules for) the new streetcar

streetcar

The Downtown-to-Oak Cliff Streetcar should start rolling April 13, which is why DART held an open house Thursday to answer questions and offer information about the inaugural line.

Here’s what you need to know.

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1. There is no fee to ride the streetcar; it’s free.

2. The line will operate from 5 a.m-7:15 p.m. Monday-Friday.

3. The cars will travel across the 102-year-old Houston Street Viaduct. Since the bridge is a historic structure, the city did not want to run overhead lines along it. So our streetcar will be the first in the United States to use wireless power. The electrical apparatus on the car that connects to the overhead lines will charge a battery system, which will power the cars over the viaduct until they reconnect with the overhead lines on the other side.

4. The streetcars will share lanes with auto traffic.

5. Each car has 34 seats and can fit about 100 people.

6. Each car has two bicycle hooks, similar to how DART trains are outfitted.

7. The trains have horns, bells and whistles, although they’re not literally horns, bells and whistles; the sounds are produced from speakers.

8. Even though a building contractor has not been hired yet, design work has begun on the line’s extension between Methodist hospital and the Bishop Arts District. That line could open sometime in 2016.

9. An extension from Union Station to Dallas City Hall could open as soon as spring of 2017.

10. Extensions to Main Street Garden, the Dallas Arts District and Uptown also are planned.

11. See safety rules below.

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streetcar

Here are 10 basic safety rules:

1. Look both ways and listen for the streetcar.

2. Never walk in front of a moving streetcar.

3. Be cautious of streetcar tracks while riding a bike or skateboard; wheels can get stuck in them. Also, don’t ride in streetcar-only lanes, such as the one of the viaduct.

4. Never grab the back of a streetcar to be pulled along on your bike or skateboard.

5. Only cross the streetcar tracks at a crosswalk when the walk sign is on.

6. Never walk, run or play along the streetcar tracks.

7. Do not try to climb the poles or touch the wires around the streetcar tracks. The wires are electrified.

8. Watch your step getting on and off the streetcar.

9. Never run to catch a moving streetcar. The cars will pick up and let off passengers only at designated stops.

10. Never stop, idle or park your car in the streetcar lane.

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  • dump the incumbents

    I believe Methodist was against the streetcar fearing it was another obstacle for EMT’s/ambulances. Unless you live at the train station in downtown and are looking to ride to El Fenix, the Vet Stop, Methodist or Walgreen’s then the line is useless! All that money for four destinations? I do not understand why the line didn’t simply continue down Zang to North Oak Cliff’s crown jewel, the B.A.D. (Bishop Arts District) part of town? Lol As I understand the trolley is going to turn south at Beckley and reconnect to Zang…

  • dump the incumbents

    Am I missing something? The historically significant bridge is spared overhead wires so that a contemparary styled train can deliver people to the edge of historically significant old Oak Cliff (on overhead wires)? Just another lame solution to a illy designed idea that ultimately leaves the Oak Cliff residents with an eyesore and a hazard to pedestrians and two-wheeled riders alike. Please, city of Dallas, stop killing us with your help. Stop doing these projects to placate developers greed in what they hope to be a boon to their personal wealth! If you really want to help, leave us alone

  • BigDanTwoTimes

    Methodist Dallas employee’s thousands of people and has thousands of people visit it each day.

  • Liz

    Correct. And agreed. My helmet saved my life, or at least a life with my excuse for a brain. But there has been an extraordinary lack of responsibility or ownership on the part of the contractor and his crew, and the city takes the heat. Coordination and inclusion of the bike path should be a significant consideration rather than an afterthought as Zang and the Jefferson St. Bridge are, and have been, serious and weekend cyclists’ access to and from Oak Cliff. Efforts made to date are embarrassing. Even signage for cars is extremely inadequate. And there’s only more construction to come.

  • dump the incumbents

    Am really sorry you have had to go through such an ordeal simply because we lack responsible leadership. In the world of motorized two-wheeled travel, train tracks are known as “edge traps”. This is the type of danger we learn about in the motorcycle safety foundation courses offered at most junior colleges. Many two-wheeled accidents could have been avoided by an educational program tailored for bicycle riders! I have ridden motorbikes and motorcycles since 1960 and still benefitted greatly from the motorcycle course. The course helped me understand the dangers of today’s traffic and clearly outlined my responsibilities in communicating my intentions to others on the road. Unfortunately, most do not take such a course and some pay dearly! Most people believe they “know how to ride” a bicycle or motorcycle and it never occurs to them to seek instruction. After riding in boots, gloves, jackets and helmets for so many years I feel extraordinarly vulnerable and under protected on a bicycle in today’s traffic! People in motor vehicles have no clue as to what two-wheeled travelers have to contend with, and they don’t care! It took many years for motorcyclists to begin safety courses… maybe it’s time the bicyclists follow suit?

  • Liz

    Regarding eating it on the tracks… What has not been mentioned is that the “bike path” changed all summer long, and is still changing. Those “caution” signs are like golf balls on a mountaintop, and are in senseless locations. When I crashed last July, $36,000.00+ bill, thank you, there were NO SIGNS, no yellow stripes, hidden bike path indicators. Frankly, a death trap. And that was months after the Barista’s tragic elbow incident. The management of the bike path was non-existent. The bike coalition repeatedly asked for better and responsible navigation. The picture attached was 3 months after my crash. No stripes, and a pitifully constructed ramp. Oh, and a caution sign at the top of the hill, after you’ve already avoided the most treacherous sections of a so-called path.

  • downtownworker

    Who says nobody wants to go to Bishop Arts? The hours will definitely need to be extended once that happens. Perhaps a new tax district in bishop and/or fares can pay for the extended schedule.

  • guest

    Once the novelty wears off, or until the extensions get built to where people would really want to go and the hours are extended who is going to ride this?