Dallas Deserves Better Mass Transit.
Higher levels of transit service will provide the city of Dallas a roadmap for where the city can prioritize its bike and pedestrian-improvements in order to improve safety and accessibility to these transit corridors.
Every “world-class” city has an efficient public transportation system, and most have a ‘ridership first’ approach. Dallas has neither. While DART boasts that Dallas has the longest light rail system in the country, it is by all accounts the most inefficient. And not only does that prevent Dallas from becoming a true multi-modal city, but it has severe consequences for our residents.
A car-dependent city is by nature inequitable as less than half of any population is of age, means, and abilities to own and operate a car. In order to improve access to opportunity, we must improve multi-modal transportation options. A recent study concluded that there is virtually no affordable housing in Dallas once you factor in transportation costs in relation to median household income making Dallas the fourth worst for housing in the nation. If it costs families half of a paycheck (in transportation costs), just to make a paycheck (to participate in the local economy), improvements are imperative.
In order to deliver high quality public transit, we have to define what good transit service is and establish standards of service. We believe that means transit that is not only safe, but also fast, frequent, and reliable.
Where we stand
In 2016, a number of Deep Ellum residents and business owners approached the Coalition to help prevent a a surface rail line from being built. The surface line would have once cut off the neighborhood from our growing urban core (much like I-345 has done), and we joined the fight to make D2 a subway. In October 2016, the City Council reversed its vote on the issue in a historic proportion, making a D2 subway the City’s top transportation priority.
Our efforts around D2 also coincided with the inclusion of the Cotton Belt line in DART’s 20-Year Financial Plan, which would be the most subsidized rail line in the agency’s history (costing the agency more than $20 perpassenger) and financed primarily through debt. The Coalition does not believe that this is the best use of DART’s resources, and advocated strongly against it in light of the need to build a D2 subway and invest in a frequent and functioning bus network. However, DART has decided to move forward on the Cotton Belt line and secured support from a majority of the Dallas City Council.
With the uncertainty around the Trump administration’s willingness to provide federal grants to pay for such projects, we believe DART should focus its efforts on improving its bus network.
Creating more frequent, more direct routes highly interconnected within that bus network, not focusing solely on suburban rail, is the surest way to build the base of riders and ensure that transit-dependent citizens can get to jobs and school in an efficient and dignified manner.
Furthermore, this network of higher levels of transit service will provide the city of Dallas a roadmap for where the city can prioritize its bike and pedestrian-improvements in order to improve safety and accessibility to these transit corridors. The city can also look to align its housing dollars to areas of abundant access.Here is a description of your campaign.