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October 24, 2016
DART Rail Blue Line extension reenergizes Dallas's South Oak Cliff community
New opportunities and new destinations arrived on Oct. 24 when DART Rail's Blue Line added three miles and opened new stations at Camp Wisdom and UNT Dallas.
"Residents along this section of the line have improved access to the region. The new rail connection and enhanced crosstown bus service make this area more attractive to potential developers and residents," DART President/Executive Director Gary Thomas said.
Connecting an area known as the Education Corridor to downtown by light rail also enables more people to discover the academic programs offered at the University of North Texas at Dallas, Paul Quinn College and Cedar Valley College.
"This extension goes to a part of our community that is in need of more transportation choices. Now a young person starting out in life can pursue a complete, high-quality college education without the burden of car ownership," Thomas said.
"Southern Dallas is our city's greatest opportunity for growth," Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said. "That's not just because of the inventory of land available for development, but also the quality of the people who live, work and learn there. This DART extension is a critical piece of the city's GrowSouth vision, as we continue to better serve the people of southern Dallas."
Likewise, the Blue Line empowers residents from other parts of the region to explore the employment, educational, housing, health care and entertainment destinations accessible by DART. For example, DART Rail is connected to Dallas Love Field and Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, all major medical centers and employment hubs.
"When you build a rail system, as we have done here in Dallas, neighborhoods stabilize," U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson said. "When people have a way to get to work and back home at a reasonable cost, they can be stable. And the advantage of that is crime goes down, families are more stabilized, and children don't have to move from school to school."
Area leaders are optimistic the combination of available land and improved transportation also will make the area attractive to investors. According to recent media reports, Centurion American Development Group is planning a massive mixed-used project in the University Hills area that includes retail, townhomes and apartments.
DART opened the first section of the Blue Line's southern corridor with the opening of DART Rail in 1996. A three-mile extension was added in 1997. Nearly 20 years later, the extension project completes both the alignment and the entire rail network outlined in DART's 1995 Transit System Plan. Today, DART operates the nation's longest electric light rail system with 93 miles and 64 stations.
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