Leading the Rail-volution
With 72 miles of light rail now in operation, DARTís expansion continues in 2011 with construction of the first two segments of the Orange Line serving North Irving and the Las Colinas Urban Center to the northwest. Work also is proceeding on a 4.5-mile extension of the Blue Line linking downtown Garland and downtown Rowlett to the northeast.
Both projects are slated for completion in December 2012.
In September 2010, the Orange Line was honored by the U.S. government as one of the top four of the 100 Recovery Act Projects Changing America for its ability to create jobs and attract additional development.
The new Green Line made rail transit a viable choice
for thousands of commuters.
Advancing the Orange Line
Construction of the rail extension's first nine miles is proceeding with most of the stations taking shape, and light rail service to Belt Line Station is scheduled to open by the end of 2012.
"We worked with DART to route the Orange Line through the Las Colinas Urban Center, knowing it would be a catalyst to the revitalization of this district," says Irving Mayor Herbert Gears. "Anchored by the new convention center, the Urban Center will be home to the largest collection of planned transit-oriented development in the nation with nearly $4 billion in projects."
Elevators at Irving's Las Colinas Urban Center Station will connect riders to Las Colinas' people-mover system.A Request for Proposals has been issued for the final segment linking Belt Line Station to DFW Airport Terminal A. Efforts are under way to award a design-build contract for the five-mile project by the end of 2011 to fast-track its completion by December 2014. Meanwhile, the airport has begun their part, awarding a contract for construction of the future light rail station adjacent to Terminal A.
The Orange Line extension connecting Belt Line Station to DFW Airport will transport passengers to Terminal A.
The Orange Line's initial five stations were chosen to serve these key regional destinations:
The new Irving Convention Center Station is taking shape next to the newly built events facility.
Extending the Blue Line
"Rowlett is poised for development that embraces our unique and beautiful setting on the banks of Lake Ray Hubbard," says Rowlett City Manager Lynda Humble.
"The Blue Line extension is precisely the economic engine we need to revitalize that portion of our city." DART and Rowlett officials ceremonially broke ground on the Downtown Rowlett Station in March 2011.
Plans also are in place to extend the Blue Line southward approximately three miles from Ledbetter Station, adding two new stations at Simpson Stuart Road and the University of North Texas at Dallas.
Annually, households where at least one driver takes public transportation on a given day may:
Public Transportation Saves Money
Spurring the Economy
According to a University of North Texas study, this massive public works project will generate more than 6,000 jobs annually and $4 billion in economic activity through 2013. Likewise, the new stations promise to pay big dividends in the form of transit-oriented development (TOD). To date, private developers and member cities have built, planned or announced more than $8 billion in TODs around existing and future station sites.
At the height of construction, up to 2,200 workers a day were involved in construction of the three rail extensions.
Analyzing Alternatives Downtown
Increased rail traffic will drive the timing of a second rail line through downtown Dallas
Getting Modern Streetcars on Track
"The City of Dallas' goal is not just to build this one segment but to develop a productive modern streetcar system that both integrates with DART's light rail system and generates economic development, livability and sustainability," says Jay Kline, DART's liaison with the city on streetcars.
Modern streetcars similar to this one may soon travel between downtown Dallas and North Oak Cliff.
Advancing the Cotton Belt
Preliminary engineering and environmental impact statements for DART's segment are underway to be "shovel ready" for potential federal funding. DART and The T have also commissioned the NCTCOG to identify innovative financing sources to accelerate the agencies' start of construction.
"Across the region, transit has become a deciding factor in the location of new development," says DART President/Executive Director Gary Thomas. "As we advance our Orange and Blue lines and continue plans for the Cotton Belt and streetcar systems, it's exciting to think of what's to come."
Service along the Cotton Belt would be provided by self-propelled Light Rail New Technology vehicles.
Based on the Trinity Railway Express experience and responding to the concerns of communities along the Cotton Belt, DART has been working with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and Federal Transit Administration to develop a new rail vehicle.
The Light Rail New Technology vehicle will meet FRA design and safety regulations for operation on freight corridors, but will be self-propelled and operate with noise levels comparable to a DART Super Light Rail Vehicle.
Leading Congestion Management Initiatives
"The region's growth has outpaced the ability to construct enough highways," says Koorosh Olyai, assistant vice president, Mobility Programs Development, "so we have to find ways to manage transportation resources more effectively."
Variable-message signs alert motorists to traffic congestion, roadway conditions and travel alternatives.
DART and regional partners also are finalizing plans to convert some of the region's network of 84 miles of High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes to managed, or toll, lanes. Excess capacity can be sold as carpools and single-occupant vehicles are charged at variable rates based on vehicle and lane occupancy.
The goal is to convert the I-35E South/US 67 and I-635 East lanes to managed HOV lanes by 2012.
Managed HOV lanes would be open to single occupancy vehicles through a toll collection system
Vanpools provide rideshare options for commuters within Dallas, Denton or Collin counties.