With today's soft-opening of a track extension, the M-Line Trolley now travels between the Cityplace area and the Central Business District, with stops throughout Uptown and the Dallas Arts District.
The track extension will enable the McKinney Avenue Transit Authority (MATA), which owns and operates the M-Line Trolley, to use more of its heritage streetcars and to stop near DART Rail's St. Paul and Pearl/Arts District stations.
"The Dallas Arts District is the most accessible neighborhood in our region via a number of transit options, including two light rail stops served by all four light rail lines and the free D-Link bus," Dallas Arts District Executive Director Catherine Cuellar said. "With the extension of the M-Line Trolley, we look forward to welcoming more residents and visitors to our urban, walkable neighborhood."
DART was the project sponsor and recipient of $4.9 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation as part of the Urban Circulator Grant Program. The DART grant received a local match of $5 million from the North Central Texas Council of Governments.
The agency used the grant to fund construction of a 0.65-mile track extension along St. Paul and Federal streets from its previous terminus near the Dallas Museum of Art. The city of Dallas is building the related track extension along Olive Street.
Together, the projects form a reversing loop which, combined with the turntable near DART's Cityplace/Uptown Station, allows MATA to operate streetcars that travel in only one direction. MATA will be able to put more of its heritage trolleys into service, which increases the ability to improve service levels in the future.
Residents of Uptown also have improved access to downtown.
"Increasingly, people in Uptown are using the M-Line as a viable commuting option," MATA CEO Phil Cobb said. "For them, the extension will be a real service enhancement."
The new track was designed to accommodate both heritage trolleys and modern streetcars; ultimately, it will connect to future extensions of the Dallas Streetcar system.