Thursday, August 14, 2008

Space Race Update: Houston & Dallas

Yesterday there was a commentary by DART president Gary Thomas on the anniversary of the agency. Not satisfied with the huge expansion plan they have going on right now, the region is looking for more.

Although DART's own plans call for more than 40 miles of new rail lines along with more bus and HOV service by 2030, it's not enough. Our region, already the nation's fastest growing, will double in population by then. We are already hard at work exploring new ways to design, build and finance rail services. And more cities, bolstered by DART's success and challenged by their congestion needs, are working with us to find solutions.

That solution is a 9 billion dollar regional commuter rail plan. Now all they have to do is figure out how to pay for it.

On the South side of the state, Houston is looking at Commuter rail expansion as well, planning a massive commuter network. This one estimated to cost about $3 billion. This is on top of an expansive light rail program where they are expanding on the most successful new light rail line in the country. Five new lines, all in the heart of the city.

It's interesting to note the difference between the two core systems. Houston is geared towards circulation within the first ring road of Houston while Dallas' light rail base works like a feeder system. It shows the multi-faceted approach that cities can take with the technology. If the two were to learn from each other, Houston would see that they need perhaps a bit more mid-range transit moving people faster between districts, while Dallas could use a bit more circulation like they get to a small degree with the McKinney Avenue Trolley. It also proves the need for multiple transit modes to work together in a network. With the addition of these commuter rail networks, these cities are on the right track to a more sustainable region.

2 comments:

Matthew said...

And you know what the suckiest thing is??? That Austin hasn't even built anything yet for you to mention...

Besides the fact that we decided to build the commuter rail first! :P

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