The Great Transit System of Dallas' Past

Dallas' street car lines were extensive before the age of the private car.
March 4, 2019, 7am PST | Casey Brazeal | @northandclark
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David Wilson

Artist Jake Berman created a map showing the extent of Dallas’s once great streetcar system. This map includes connections from the heart of the city to further out metropolises in regions like Coriscana, Waco, Denton, and Fort Worth and a network of lines traversing the city. “In fact, the new map looks like a rendering of future dreams for Dallas transit–a way to get around the inner city and plan dense development around trafficked transit corridors,” Peter Simek writes for D Magazine.

Anyone who has seen Who Framed Roger Rabbit is likely familiar with the conspiracy theories regarding the death of the streetcar. But, while car manufacturers certainly didn’t lose any sleep over the death of the streetcar, they mostly harmed it by causing the traffic that slowed it down. These slower streets, couldn’t support the then privately-owned streetcars. “By the time cities took control of the streetcars, cars had caught on and streets were crowded with traffic that slowed the lines. Service suffered. Ridership fell,” Simek writes.

“Nonetheless, looking at this revamped old map, it is difficult not to daydream about what kind of city Dallas could have been if we kept and built around the streetcar system,” Simek writes. This was Berman’s intent.

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Published on Tuesday, February 26, 2019 in D Magazine
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