Project Development Phase Nears Completion for D2 Subway
On May 15, 2020, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and DART issued the D2 Subway Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement (SDEIS) and 20% design to the public and agencies for a 45-day review period. The SDEIS assessed the D2 Subway project against a No-Build Alternative to document potential impacts and benefits of the project. Three public hearings were held during the review period. After taking into consideration feedback from residents, business owners, developers and agency staff, a few changes have been made to the project to enhance access and minimize impacts.
The 30% design was completed on October 30, 2020 and a Final EIS (FEIS) is being prepared in cooperation with FTA. FTA plans to issue a combined FEIS and Record of Decision (ROD) to environmentally clear the project so it can advance into the next stage of development.
DART has been working closely with FTA to position the project for federal funding and entry into the next phase of the Capital Investment Grant (CIG) program known as Engineering. Once the FEIS/ROD is issued and FTA approves the project into the Engineering phase, DART will advance the project through detailed design and construction. Public, agency and stakeholder involvement will continue to be integral to the process.
D2 Subway Animation Video
An animation for two of the D2 Subway stations, Metro Center and Commerce, was prepared to help the public and stakeholders visualize the design concepts. DART will continue to build upon this in the future as design advances.
D2 SUBWAY PROJECT SCHEDULE
The DART Board approved the FY21 20-Year Financial Plan in September 2020. The D2 Subway remains in the plan assuming an approximate 50% federal grant and revenue service in approximately 2025. The federal approval process, final project budget and grant share, and project delivery method may influence potential changes to the final revenue service date by one or more years. A final schedule will be developed over the next year with the DART Board and FTA.
WHAT IS THE D2 SUBWAY?
The D2 Subway project is a future second light rail line through downtown Dallas that extends from Victory Park to Deep Ellum. DART began planning for D2 in 2007. Since then, several studies and planning efforts have been completed (see below for PROJECT HISTORY AND BACKGROUND). The most recent efforts resulted in both the Dallas City Council and the DART Board of Directors approving the D2 Subway Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA) in September 2017. The D2 Subway alignment is shown below. The alignment has been refined since 2017 due to more detailed engineering and environmental information, as well as public input. DART is nearing completion of the Project Development (PD) phase and has completed 30% Preliminary Engineering (PE) and is developing the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) in cooperation with FTA.
D2 Subway Locally Preferred Alternative - Commerce via Victory/Swiss
The Project alignment begins south of Victory Station. It moves south through a switch off the existing railroad alignment and then proceeds in a southeasterly direction along DART-owned right-of-way within Victory Park within the median of Museum Way and through the parking lot on the west side of the Perot Museum of Nature and Science. Adjacent to the Perot Museum will be an at-grade light rail station (Museum Way Station). After leaving the station southbound, the alignment crosses under Woodall Rodgers Freeway at street level, and then begins its transition underground. The alignment enters a property currently occupied by a parking lot and descends into a tunnel within the portal. The alignment remains underground through the core of Downtown until it reaches IH 345 on the east end of Downtown. After passing under Hord Street near the Dallas World Aquarium, the alignment turns under Griffin Street. Between San Jacinto Avenue and Elm Street would be an underground station (Metro Center Station). This station would provide the ability to transfer to the West Transfer Center, Rosa Parks Plaza, and the West End and Akard light rail stations.
After crossing under Main Street, the alignment turns east under Belo Garden and continues under Commerce Street. While under Commerce, another underground station is planned approximately between Akard and Ervay Streets (Commerce Station). After passing under Harwood Street, the alignment turns northeast and diagonally across surface parking lots and between buildings. There would another underground station (CBD East Station) between Main Street and Pacific Avenue. This station would provide opportunities to transfer to buses at the East Transfer Center.
After passing under Cesar Chavez Boulevard the alignment would begin the transition back to the surface. This transition or portal would be under IH 345 and south of and parallel to Swiss Avenue. The portal and transition ends just west of Hawkins Street. Immediately east of where it resurfaces, the alignment arrives at a switch that allows trains to travel either north or south along rebuilt Good Latimer tracks.
The Project introduces four new stations and one relocated station including: one surface station (Museum Way), three underground stations (Metro Center, Commerce, and CBD East) and the relocated Deep Ellum Station from just north of Gaston Avenue to just south of Live Oak Street (now referred to as Live Oak Station). The underground stations would be accessed by stairs, elevators and/or escalators, depending on space availability. The access points would be provided in new buildings, open spaces downtown, within the sidewalks or incorporated into existing buildings. The underground station infrastructure will also include emergency egress and ventilation shafts.
The existing downtown light rail line is the at-grade Bryan/Pacific Transitway mall. The D2 Subway will help to ensure the sustainability of the DART system by providing needed capacity and improving system reliability and passenger service through downtown Dallas. Reliance upon one single LRT transit route through downtown constrains the ability of both DART and the region to implement additional radial light rail line projects or increase service levels on all existing radial light rail lines. Dependence on one single downtown mall also increases the risk for system wide service disruption due to incidents on the mall, such as traffic accidents and closure of the mall due to fire in adjacent buildings. Learn more about the importance of D2 HERE.
Once in place, DART proposes to reroute the Green and Orange Lines to the D2 Subway. The Red and Blue Lines would remain on the existing Transit Mall. Rerouting the Orange and Green lines will free up capacity on both downtown lines so that DART can insert additional train service to meet increasing ridership demands.
FTA PROJECT DEVELOPMENT PROCESS
DART is following the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) process. The first phase is a two-year process called Project Development (PD) to complete Preliminary Engineering (PE) to support an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). FTA approved the original PD schedule based on the approval of the September 2015 LPA (see PROJECT HISTORY AND BACKGROUND), and anticipated that PD would be complete by November 2017. With the change in direction in Fall 2016 to pursue a subway option, and approval of the new D2 Subway LPA in September 2017, DART requested that PD be extended by two years to November 2019. In March 2018, FTA denied the extension. Thus, DART is continuing the PD process locally with FTA oversight. DART will resubmit the project to enter the FTA Engineering phase after this PD step is complete.
D2 Subway Project Development phase was estimated to take approximately 24-months through late 2020. The completion of the Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement (SDEIS) to assess the benefits, impacts and costs of the project is a major milestone. This SDEIS builds upon and updates the 2010 DEIS (see PROJECT HISTORY AND BACKGROUND). Based on the SDEIS and public input a Final EIS (FEIS) will be prepared. The Final EIS will outline mitigation commitments to address identified impacts. The FTA may issue a single document that consists of the FEIS and a Record of Decision (ROD), which closes the environmental process. A mitigation monitoring program is part of the FEIS/ROD and will be put in place as the project proceeds into Engineering and Construction.
FTA Project Development Process
D2 SUBWAY PROJECT DEVELOPMENT MEETINGS
Several meetings have been held during the Project Development Phase of the D2 Subway Project., Below is a list of key meetings, where each meeting notation contains a link to a PDF file that contains meeting-specific information. The information varies by type of meeting. Please subscribe here to stay informed.
Disclaimer: The 20% Design package was completed in March 2020. In the months since then, specific aspects of the design have changed and will be reflected in the 30% Design package that will be completed in October 2020.
DART is in the process of evaluating project delivery methods. If your firm is interested in future design and construction opportunities for the D2 Subway project, please contact Cathy Hamilton in DART Procurement at [email protected] for more information.
D2 is proposed as part of a program of interrelated projects aimed to improve capacity of the system and access and circulation in the downtown core. In addition to the D2 Subway, DART is advancing the Red and Blue Line Platform Extensions project, which entails modifications at 28 stations on the Red and Blue Lines to accommodate longer trains. This project is under construction and scheduled for completion in 2022.
DART is also supporting the City of Dallas in planning for the Dallas Streetcar Central Link to connect the Union Station/Convention Center area to the McKinney Avenue Trolley (M-Line) in uptown near Klyde Warren Park. The Dallas City Council approved the Elm/Commerce alignment as the LPA for the Central Link on September 13, 2017 concurrent with their approval of the D2 Subway. DART is coordinating with the City of Dallas on next steps, including Project Development under the FTA Small Starts program. The project schedule is pending additional streetcar system planning and a decision by the City to potentially advance the Convention Center Loop project early.
PROJECT HISTORY AND BACKGROUND
DART began planning for D2 in 2007. Since then, several studies and planning efforts have been completed (see below) which led to approval of a mostly at-grade Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA) in September 2015. DART initiated Project Development (PD) for that LPA in November 2015, which included early preliminary engineering (PE) and preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). During summer 2016, there were community concerns with the alignment and requests from the City of Dallas and key stakeholders to pursue a subway option. As a result, on October 25, 2016, the Board of Directors approved the FY17 Financial Plan, which doubled the project budget to $1.3 billion for development of a D2 Subway. Based on this action, DART initiated a LPA Refinement Phase in December 2016. This refinement phase entailed significant coordination with technical staff and downtown stakeholders, and resulted in both the Dallas City Council and the DART Board of Directors approving the D2 Subway LPA in September 2017.
To learn more about project history click on the links below: