Jon Altschuler: Thinking Big—Two Audacious Ideas to Make Dallas Even Better

Jon Altschuler
Jon Altschuler

I have enjoyed the discussion around the potential teardown of Interstate 345 and its potential impact on our city. I appreciate D Magazine’s willingness to promote an idea some might consider too audacious.

Following along these lines of big ideas we might implement to spur economic development and make this city an even better one, here are two more possibilities to kick around.

First, move the jail and justice center. Stand in any downtown highrise and look west. You’ll see growth at Victory, incredible activity in the Design District, the beautiful Calatrava bridge with Trinity Groves and Sylvan 30 behind it, and then, well, the justice center. Not only is the jail a physical blight, but it’s figuratively and practically right in the middle of one of our city’s greatest potential development corridors.

Second, build an above-ground high-speed rail line that runs down the center lanes of the Dallas North Tollway. BART runs this way in the East Bay of San Francisco. Have the following initial stops: Downtown, Mockingbird, Lovers Lane, Northwest Highway, Galleria, and Legacy. Think about it: Each of those intersections has easily walkable amenities that would be wonderful for all of us to be able to enjoy.

If you have an interest in running down either of these ideas, ping me, and we’ll do so together.

Jon Altschuler is a partner at Altschuler and Co. Contact him at [email protected]


  • Collin Cole

    Finally somebody with clout publicly supporting a north Dallas DART line. Kudos, sir, but what may be more feasible are streetcar lines up Cedar Springs to Love Field, and possibly up Preston to Lovers/Tollway. That, and a sort-of light rail spur from Forest Ln. station west toward Galleria, then up an existing spur parallel to Inwood to Addison, where it would meet up with the needed Commuter Cotton Belt line.

    Legacy’s on fire right now, and I’m sure you’re not the only one who wants to give the area rail access, but it’s a good distance to get a line out there. I think DART has a plan to buy up a frieght ROW that extends from west Dallas all the way to Frisco, but its part of their 2030-2035 long-term vision. That’s probably west Plano’s best bet for rail.

    Dallas leaders were visionary for getting DART built, but DART is essentially a commuter service. That addresses the figurative middle twenty miles of a travelers rail trip. To really make an impact on our transport habits we need to address the first 200 miles and the last two miles. Texas Central Railway is attempting to address the first 200 with high speed rail service from Houston to Union Station (God willing), and that’s an example of “thinking big” that Dallasites should get behind. Streetcars could address the last two miles, with circulators that tie into DART rail. Ross to Greenville, the Mustang Express (SMU to the Village), and Cedar Springs to Love come to mind as possible routes. Expensive, yes, but it could create a sustainable environment for continued growth in this century for a city that’s quickly running out of green space on which to build. We can’t just put tollways down the middle of highways and call it a day.

  • Brandon Miller

    Love your ideas. Especially about the rail line but you are forgetting an area you should know all to well as a JJ Pearce Mustang. Before extending the line to Legacy, there should be a stop at Belt Line. With Addison directly to the west and the redevelopment of Village on the Parkway at the southeast corner with Whole Foods, several restaurants and a theater, this stop would offer more amenities than Mockingbird and comparable amenities to Legacy at far less cost to build.