streetcar

The Dallas to Oak Cliff streetcar carried its first passengers across the Houston Street Viaduct Monday morning.

The streetcar cost some $50 million and comes about nine years after it was dreamed up by the Oak Cliff Transit Authority. This initial line runs just 1.7 miles over the viaduct from Union Station to Methodist hospital.

Extensions have been funded to Bishop Arts and the Dallas convention center. But the initial route has led some to call it “the trolley to El Fenix.” Conveniently, it does stop just outside that Tex-Mex institution. The Colorado stop also is convenient to Spiral Diner, Jonathon’s, VH, Urban Acres and Kessler Park Eating House. And of course, Methodist. Downtown workers can now take the trolley to the doc.

From our side, you could run over and have lunch at CBD Provisions after a little walk. Or hop on a bus to any point of interest downtown.

Unfortunately, the streetcar’s hours currently are limited to Monday-Friday, 5 a.m.-7 p.m.

But the Oak Cliff/downtown connection makes our neighborhood bike friendlier, which was the original intention of those early streetcar champions, many of whom also were founders of Bike Friendly Oak Cliff.

Imagine a steamy June day. Riding a bike from, say, Elmwood, over to the bridge and into Downtown is not bad. Mostly downhill. Any path home, however, involves pedaling uphill. Now you can put your bike on the streetcar at Union Station, sit in the air conditioned car over the bridge and up the hill to Colorado at Beckley. By then, you’re above the hard climbing and can roll up Bishop looking fresh and cool.

Yes, there are bus routes that take the same path. But trains are more likely to draw passengers because of their predictability.

Will you use the Oak Cliff streetcar? If so, how?