Sustainability Arlington - Working neighborhood by neighborhood, Sustainability Arlington seeks to create communities that integrate multi-modal forms of transportation, high efficiency housing, community gardens and and excellent system of sidewalks. Join the conversation online @ the Sustainiablity Arlington page
A focus of our work is to reintroduce streetcar lines in the city of Arlington. Rail lines operated by the North Texas Traction Company ran through the heart of Arlington from 1902-1934. The lines were part of the privately funded, Interurban railway. North Texas Traction operated the line between Dallas and Fort Worth. New street car rails are installed in Oak Cliff and in Dallas on the same streets where they ran over 100 years ago. The new street cars connect Oak Cliff, across the Trinity, to Union Station in Downtown, Dallas. The Dallas streetcar line will then connect from Downtown, Dallas, the Arts District, Clyde Warren Park and then to the historic M-Line that runs through Uptown Dallas. The Oak Cliff Transit Authority applied for and was awarded a 23 million dollar grant in 2010. Phase 1 is a 1.6 mile line. Phase 2, now under construction will connect to the Bishop Arts District.
Phase I: A rail line will be constructed on Division St/ between Cooper and Collins St. The street car would then head north from Division St on Collins, Stop at Randol Mill, I-30 and the new Viridian Rail Station. Phase I will connect Downtown/UTA to the Entertainment District and to the Metropolitan North Texas High Speed Rail on I-30. The line will then continue North on Collins to the North Side of Viridian, where a rail station will be added, to the TRE Rail Line that currently runs over Collins St.
The High Speed Train is planned to go directly from Houston to Dallas. A line will connect Dallas to Fort Worth. There could be a stop in Arlington, but only if there is a reason and a plan in place. If not we do not have a plan, it will connect through DFW Airport in between Dallas and Ft. Worth.
Phase 2 - To connect to the eastern and southern portion of Arlington, streetcar a line will be added to run South on Center St from Division St. and connect to I-20 (at the Highlands). And East on Division St. to connect to Hwy 360. Going south, the line could potentially connect to the Arlington Municipal Airport utilizing the new bridge build over I-20 at Center St.
We need to travel in and out of the the Downtown/University District on foot, bike, rail, the Max and car. (Multi-modal) The “car only” conversation will not lead to innovation and increasing property values.
Time to slow her down!
To stimulate a desire to consider living in Arlington, we have to create and promote a safe city with good schools, private and public, with tons of day to day lifestyle options for diverse families who want to live in a interesting city.
This sort of thinking is what motivated a few Dallasites in 1979 to meet and talk about putting the trolley car back on McKinney St to bring back that dogged portion of Dallas (property values are in the multi-billions now). The extension of the McKinney St. Trolley over the last 20 years has become a major part of the transit system in Dallas.
Two communities that have reintroduced streetcars, Uptown Dallas and The Bishop Arts District, are two of the most desirable retail, residential and commercial real estate neighborhoods in the region in their own ways. They are unique, one of a kind, environments. Bishop Arts is an interesting case study for Arlington because it has re-developed in the midst of a largely lower income and ethnically diverse community like 76010.
Arlington residents have a chance in the coming year to layout a compelling vision that is based on proven economic development principles that are proven to be effective in other cities. (Arlington Proud 12 Priorities). These strategies focus on the ability to develop a sense of “place”. You know the feeling, when you visit a city and you start to think to yourself “Man, it would be really great to live here.” The next thing you know you are online looking at homes online that are for sale or rent.
Will street cars and a slower pace change everything?
No. But, they are indicators that we are creating a slower pace and a sense of place. That will draw people to consider Arlington as a place to live, especially those finishing college up to 35 years olds.
Cities all over the country are beginning to develop their plans to attract the Y Generation (19-35 year olds) and that will be a big challenge because they are difference and larger in numbers than their parent's generation, the Baby Boomers.
We have to make sure that our residents, visitors and those that work here, know our priorities are focused on creating a community to raise up a family! One that is safe with walkable neighborhoods, tons of arts options, good schools, and a great place to return to in a generation.
A plan to make this happen has to be focused on redevelopment for lifestyle purposes and not speed in and out of our city. The 35 and under generation is calling for something different than their Baby Boomer parents.
We can create this new environment in connection with economic development along Abram St., especially on the East side of Arlington. Local folks will be involved in the design street car wait stations and create the art and atmosphere at each location.
This is what we can envision in the near future! Street car Wait Station # 1 at Cooper St for UT Arlington. # 2 at The Levitt, City Hall and the Downtown Library. # 3 at the Tarrant County Court House and dozens of restaurants. St # 4 -The Rotary Art Walk at Meadowbrook Park with the great family playground, recreation center and the historic 9 hole golf course just 1 stop from Downtown. Next stop # 5, the beautiful Park View neighborhood and Stadium Dr. (short walk to the Ballpark) # 6 in front of General Motors at 360 where the 5000 employees work each day. and the location for the High Speed Rail station. Final stop #7 on Abram St. and Great Southwest Pkwy. A large park and ride would be developed utilizing the abundant vacant property and empty buildings in the area. (If we were able to extend the line 1/2 mile west, Wait Station #1 could be close to all three new student housing complexes).
Can you get the picture? If you have not driven the stretch of Abram east to the city limits in a while - you need to and you will see how a redevelopment plan needs to be initiated.
Fast growth has been our hallmark. Wide, ugly and fast moving streets, crossing our city served the purposes of rapid growth for over 40 years. Arlington is now 99% built-out and we can slow down become a community with a “sense of place” and start the redevelopment from the center.
The Downtown and University Districts can help set the pace for an entire city. We already have dozens of great neighborhoods in Arlington. If we can focus on developing all of our neighborhoods with a sense of place with the same kind of passion that fueled the passage of the Cowboy Stadium proposal, nothing will be impossible. The financial and quality of life ROI of this strategy, will impact every corner of our city.
Opportunities are in front of us that did not exist ten years ago. Federal grant funding (TIGER Funds) is available for streetcar transportation. The McKinney Ave Transportation Authority and Oak Cliff Transportation Authority are good local models and have said they would assist us in any way possible.
McKinney Ave Trolley started small and has grown organically from one short line to a key connector for the entire city of Dallas. The same could be the case for an A-Line in Arlington.
We will launch this vision integrated with the Abram St redevelopment project in April. Long term economic development, comes from people investing their life into loving a city, working hard, starting businesses, raising kids and enjoying an interesting lifestyle. When this happens we will also experience increasing values of our homes and businesses which then increase funding for schools an many other quality of life projects.
If we push forward with these priorities, people will see a lifestyle worth to investigate while they are visiting or working in Arlington. Next we will see folks moving to to Arlington for the experience of a lifetime.