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Summer 2010 This link requires Internet access

  The offical newsletter of Dallas Area Rapid Transit

The Final Countdown

All systems go for the Green Line Phase II

Crews finalize construction on Royal Lane Station (top).
A commissioned sculpture adorns Southwestern Medical Center/Parkland Station (bottom).

From far southeast Dallas to north Carrollton, communities, businesses and companies are gearing up for the December 6 launch of DART's most promising rail extension yet - the Green Line Phase II.

Momentum has been building since the initial 3-mile segment opened in September 2009 with the sparkling new Deep Ellum, Baylor University Medical Center, Fair Park, and MLK, Jr. stations. The second phase adds 25 miles and 15 stations, completing the longest light rail project currently under construction in North America.

In addition to several major employment centers, the 28-mile line will serve six major hospitals, six entertainment districts, the Dallas Market Center, the Dallas Love Field Airport vicinity, the Asian Trade District, Farmers Branch and Carrollton.

Northwest to the Metrocrest
The Green Line can't open fast enough for Susan Myers, owner of the Silver Star Mercantile in Old Downtown Carrollton. She and other shop owners have been in the thick of rail station construction, road realignments, and civic improvements. Now they're eager to see the transformation complete.

"The growth DART will bring is extreme," says Myers. "It will open doors that have never been open before. When the train finally arrives, it's going to be a day in history for our city."

Carrollton officials have contracted Trammel Crow Company's High Street Residential to create a pedestrian-friendly mixed-use development that bridges the Downtown Carrollton Station and the southern charm of the existing town square. The city also is rezoning property around its three stations for transit-oriented development and roadway improvements designed to spur growth.

Vine imagery tendrils through the platform at the Farmers Branch Station.
The arrival of the Green Line also hearkens a new era for Carrollton as a North Texas rail hub. The Denton County Transit Authority's A-Train service will connect to DART at the Trinity Mills Station in spring 2011.

Meanwhile neighboring Farmers Branch got its first glimpse of a DART railcar displayed at the soon-to-open Farmers Branch Station during the city's first Memorial Day Liberty Fest celebration. The event was the first of many envisioned for a new city center that eventually will surround the station area with shops, restaurants, residences and public spaces.

"As an historian, it amuses me that that the Farmers Branch Station is located almost exactly where a train depot once sat," says Derrick Birdsall, superintendent of the Farmers Branch Historical Park, which is near the station.

Gearing for the Grove

Station art at Lake June Station reflects the area's farming heritage.
The Green Line is considered a lifeline to Southeast Dallas and the Pleasant Grove neighborhood where residents will far outnumber local jobs in the years ahead.

Shirley Stark, a member of the Piedmont-Scyene Homeowners Association just north of Pleasant Grove, predicts it will breathe new life into the neighborhood, enabling more people to consider higher-paying jobs farther from home and attracting new visitors to the Great Trinity Forest.

"The train will remove more barriers to finding better employment because it will be faster and more convenient to travel around Greater Dallas," says Stark.

Carl Raines, president of the Southeast Dallas Chamber of Commerce, knows that delivering light rail to the sector involves more than digging dirt and laying tracks.

"The Green Line will totally reshape this area," says Raines, "DART Rail will help commercial and residential property values, and there's a lot of excitement among the business community as we imagine the possibilities for development around the rail stations."

Orange on the Horizon
Construction crews are working aggressively to advance the first two segments of the Orange Line between Bachman Station in North Dallas and North Irving's Las Colinas Urban Center.

Funding and timing for the third and final segment of the Orange Line to DFW International Airport was reviewed this spring and summer based on revised projections showing that sales tax receipts through 2030 are likely to be $3 billion less than previously estimated. In August, officials said a combination of adjustments to capital spending, a restructuring of debt financing, and the inclusion of new revenue streams allows the airport connection to be included in DART's new 20-year Financial Plan - but the segment will be delayed approximately one year, to at least 2014.

Addressing the DART Board in July, Irving Mayor Herbert Gears said the DFW Airport connection is a vital part of the regional rail plan, particularly for the 60,000 employees who work there. "It's also about reducing traffic congestion and air pollution," he said.

DART Chairman William Velasco agreed, saying, "It's critical that both airports be accessible by transit and not just by car."

Waves of Blue
The Blue Line's new Lake Highlands Station, located at the northwest corner of Walnut Hill Lane and White Rock Trail in Dallas, opens December 6, in tandem with Phase II of the Green Line.

To minimize service disruption during construction, pre-cast concrete panels are being installed as modular pieces to create the station platform - mostly at night.

The station will be adjacent the Lake Highlands Town Center project - an ambitious, 70-acre transit-oriented development now under construction.

Concurrently, construction advances on the 4.5-mile Blue Line extension to downtown Rowlett. Rail service to Rowlett is scheduled to open in December 2012.

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