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Can public, transit-oriented infrastructure be both market-driven and sustainable? Join TJ Bogan Tuesday, November 19th, as he shares how the history of streetcars in the city of Dallas (1872 - 1956) tells us a rich story of civic development and urban expansion driven by private investment for private gain. Before automobiles and publicly funded transportation networks, street rail was the key to urban growth. Benefiting from an era of weak government, foresighted individuals were able to buy up previously exurban land and make it accessible from the urban core, reaping a profit on the increased property value. What was good for them was good for the city.
In the first half of the twentieth century, government regulation increased, and the new accountability proved an insurmountable burden. New modes of transportation were introduced, and automobiles took precedence on the city's streets.
In Dallas, the streetcar rose and fell as a privately funded public amenity. Through analysis of our past, we are now in a position to critique our current subsidized transit infrastructure.