The latest plans for downtown Dallas envision a series of urban subway stations.
A planning drive under way to make the most of city investments for the future is promoting transit-oriented development around the proposed subway line. City leaders envision developments like Mockingbird Station, which is on the existing DART rail line, with restaurants, shops, homes and offices clusteredly closely around subway stops.
Everest College student C.J. Coffield said Mockingbird Station, which he visits every day going to and from classes, is "convenient."
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“Movie theater; go there and chill after school sometimes, get a bite to eat, lunch, watch a movie, maybe a date," he said.
Dallas Area Rapid Transit plans for the subway to relieve congestion from suburban rail expansion, which runs through downtown on the single existing transit path.
City Council members want one subway station at the new city-owned convention center hotel that is under construction on Young and Lamar streets.
In addition to the new convention center hotel, Dallas city leaders say they believe they have a list of other positive improvements under way downtown that they hope to link through the new planning effort.
A new deck park that is being constructed over the Woodall Rodgers Freeway will connect Uptown with the Dallas Arts District, which includes the recently opened Performing Arts Center.
A modern streetcar system is proposed to circulate between downtown destinations, much like the historic McKinney Avenue trolley operates through Uptown now.
Thousands of people have moved into new downtown apartments and condominiums over the past 10 years.
“There’s all the pieces that link together,” said Mayor Tom Leppert. “Think of it as one pearl next to another pearl and put them all together and you’ve got a string of pearls.”
City leaders hope an improving economy will help attract the subway station developments without massive public subsidies, but incentives could be part of the plan. And big federal grants will be required for the subway and streetcar.
“Most of these projects are done with public private partnerships,” said Dallas Councilmember Angela Hunt who represents much of the downtown area. Hunt has been a critic of some partnerships, but endorses the current downtown planning project.
“We have to work with the private sector to create the incentives to bring people back to the heart of our city,” Hunt said.
Downtown worker Brenda Nieves agrees that the central business district needs more activity.
“Like in Fort Worth -- people go around in Fort Worth more in the evenings than they do here," Nieves said.
Downtown Area Plan Update