Friday, July 27, 2012

DART Orange Line- Irving, welcome to Mass Transit

It's finally here! The Orange line comes to Irving/ Las Colinas
Open for business on July 30.
This Rail Line marks where the Las Colinas Urban Center Station will open come Monday, July 30.

Finally, after three years of long anticipation, the Orange line will be open for business on Monday, July 30, connecting Irving and Las Colinas to the DART railway system. This could not come sooner for residents around the  Las Colinas business sector. There are many new attractions in Las Colinas that people will now have more accessibility to. There is also a bike centric atmosphere developing in this area. Las Colinas is home to the L.B Houston trail system, also known as Campion Trails, a on and off road trail system running between the subdivisions of Las Colinas and Valley Ranch. The Bike Shop in Las Colinas just opened it's doors a few years ago in downtown Las Colinas and provides top notch service with any bicycle repairs. Every Wednesday evening cyclists will get together in the La Villita subdivision for the weekly criterium race.

The DART rail station is the icing on the cake for many new changes that this area is undergoing to quickly become a magnet for bicycle friendliness and mixed use zoning development. It has also attracted many new job companies and potential employers, Research in Motion being their latest acquisition. Things are looking up for this architecturally wonderful area that only a few years ago had nothing going on in it.

Flashback to 2006. I was in my early 20s. At 11:30pm, I would lace on my Converse high tops and put on my rolling stones tee shirt. Tonight was free-running night, otherwise known as parkour night. Las Colinas was the sort of nightly ghost town you could do such a thing in. As I jumped staircases and bus stops, flying over trash cans I couldn't help noticing how beautiful this place was. It has canals, like Venice, even clever vines that wrap themselves along a faux-pas brick wall. A lonely set of lanterns lit up the cobble stone paths. The windows of businesses that no one ever shopped in still displayed 80's manikins with their teal jewelry and wide Sunday hats. There was a building that had one floor in it where there was always a party, you could tell by the changing lights coming out of the windows. Along it's skyline was an unused metro rail, suspended by bridges, even going through some of the buildings.  Las Colinas was eerie, in a very cool sort of way. To best describe what Las Colinas was, it was like being in a Duran Duran music video, a place that got stuck somewhere in the mid to late 80's, and hid itself from the world. It was the kind of place that left you wondering after you visited, was it real or did it only exist in my mind?

My favorite shot of Las Colinas at night. 2008 by Jonathan Guzman. All rights reserved

Anyway, back to 2012. Las Colinas continues to be a cool place, getting in cooler as time goes on. Although they no longer allow free-running (that's ok, I don't think I can do that anymore anyway) it now boasts gondola boatmen in it's canals and a hometown bike shop. Surrounding Las Colinas is the DFW airport, friendly roads and lots of places to ride. Check out more on what Las Colinas has to offer. Read my blog other blog posts about this area. Check out the bike information on the DART website with tips on how to use the DART to commute by bicycle. I look forward to this year's opening of the Orange Line, and the Blue line station in Rowlett come December.

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