DART - Dallas Area Rapid Transit

General discussion of passenger rail proposals and systems not otherwise covered in the specific forums in this category, including high speed rail.

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Jeff Smith
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Re: DART - Dallas Area Rapid Transit

Post by Jeff Smith » Thu Apr 25, 2019 12:14 pm

Cotton Belt project news: https://www.progressiverailroading.com/ ... ect--57423" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
...
DART estimates the contract value is $1.1 billion, Jacobs officials said in a press release.

The 26-mile Cotton Belt commuter-rail line will extend between Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport and Shiloh Road Station in Plano, and will connect to three existing DART light-rail lines. The agency anticipates the design-build project will be completed by 2022.

"Connecting three counties and seven cities — including Dallas, the fastest-growing U.S. metro area — the Cotton Belt project will enhance mobility, job growth and economic development throughout the corridor," said Thomas Meinhart, Jacobs' buildings and infrastructure vice president of regional operations. "By providing additional passenger-rail connections, DART is confronting population growth with smart and sustainable transit options to reduce congestion and delays for Texans."

The Cotton Belt line will connect to DART's existing Orange, Green and Red lines, as well as to Trinity Metro's TEXRail, a 27-mile regional commuter line between DFW Airport and downtown Fort Worth.
...
Next stop, Willoughby
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frequentflyer
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Re: DART - Dallas Area Rapid Transit

Post by frequentflyer » Mon Jun 03, 2019 3:48 pm

https://www.railwayage.com/passenger/co ... -contract/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

More FLIRTS for the Metroplex.

Gilbert B Norman
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Re: DART - Dallas Area Rapid Transit -Trip Report

Post by Gilbert B Norman » Wed Jul 24, 2019 8:07 am

This past Saturday, as part of my "poor man's way to and from airports", I used DART light rail between DFW and Pearl Street station - one block away from the Marriott hotel at which I stayed.

I had not set foot in Dallas in over thirty years. As far as I knew, Texan's idea of mass transit was a Silverado going 85mph down one Freeway or the other. So imagine my surprise finding out there was a "train" that would take me from DFW to, essentially "the Hotel's front door".

Well, not quite.

First, here is a map of DFW:

http://ontheworldmap.com/usa/city/dalla ... rt-map.jpg

Note that DART is at Terminal A, and to get there from Terminal E used by United who I flew, you must get on a "Terminal Link" bus that meanders all over this sprawling airport, which American as good as "owns" (United there?, some "two bit player"). There is also Skylink - a "mover" concrete rail shuttle that runs between the terminals, and of which I knew nothing. Only problem, it's "planeside"; so if you've exited the TSA secure area, "sorry 'bout that". It seemed about like an hour to get to the Dart light rail on the airport premises, but "uh, not exactly" convenient (wonder what "parties in interest" assured that?).

So after buying my $3.00 ticket, which could have been a $1.50 Senior, I boarded this yellow, I think Stadler, two car train. It goes up to 70 along its own electrified ROW, but it still has grade X-ings, as it goes through one "planned community" or the other that be assured wasn't even dreamed of when I was last there.

Now for the "well not quite". Weekend trackwork had it shut down at a sports arena (who else but American Airlines named), and the rest of the way on a "busteetoot", which eventually "inched" it's way to the station.

To DFW on Sunday, the bus part to the Arena much faster, but still the Terminal Link meander through DFW, a thoroughly overpriced (and not that good) "Sonny Bryan's Smokehouse Texas Ribs" at DFW, a half hour "ground hold" on the tarmac, another "busteetoot", on the CTA, two hour Sunday frequency on METRA/BNSF, and I wasn't home until 10 (7 or 8 expected).

All told, never have I been somewhere where the whole thing was a blur of planes, trains, busses, hotel, taxicabs to restaurant and back. I was in Dallas, but I had no experience of being there (that George Clooney movie "Up In The Air"). But the trip's purpose was to have an evening out with my Niece, who resides in Sydney NSW AU, and I hadn't seen in three years. For that, it was "mission accomplished".

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Re: DART - Dallas Area Rapid Transit

Post by mtuandrew » Wed Jul 24, 2019 11:35 am

I was very impressed with the Dallas-Plano segment, especially the deep-underground downtown stations and the high speeds in the suburbs.

I was not impressed with the airport line. Too slow, largely because it wanders through said planned communities when it could have instead “doubled up” within the Trinity Rail ex-Rock Island Corridor. I don’t know if they’ve proposed it, but it would do a lot of good to connect DART with TRE Centrepoint Station for a faster transit time.

electricron
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Re: DART - Dallas Area Rapid Transit

Post by electricron » Wed Jul 24, 2019 8:02 pm

mtuandrew wrote:
Wed Jul 24, 2019 11:35 am
I was very impressed with the Dallas-Plano segment, especially the deep-underground downtown stations and the high speeds in the suburbs.

I was not impressed with the airport line. Too slow, largely because it wanders through said planned communities when it could have instead “doubled up” within the Trinity Rail ex-Rock Island Corridor. I don’t know if they’ve proposed it, but it would do a lot of good to connect DART with TRE Centrepoint Station for a faster transit time.
When you use Federal programs to make a corridor better for 20-30 years, you are not going to get more Federal funds to improve that same corridor within that 20-30 years. Everything DART does goes through the Federal required Environmental Impact process whether that corridor in question gets Federal funding or not. They always hope it will. The Orange Line follows a different corridor than SH 183 that parallels the TRE corridor. It had to. It basically uses the Green Line from downtown north to Loop 12 which follows the ex-MKT (Katy) corridor. Then it follows Loop 12 west to SH 114, which it follows before leaving that highway's ROW. Upon which it runs through Los Colinas development project, then west through a corridor Irving saved for a light rail line, then around the runways to DFW airport on airport property. The entire route was owned by DART, TXDOT, City of Irving, and DFW Airport. If you do not have to buy land overpriced by real estate speculators, you can get it fairly cheap. During the EIS process, the City of Irving was telling the study consultants they had already bought the land needed and was not going to buy more somewhere else. Las Colinas developers and the City of Irving wanted the trains to be routed through Las Colinas. So guess where DART decided to build it? Somewhere it is not wanted or somewhere where it is wanted?
The TRE corridor already has passenger trains, why build another train line next to it all the way to DFW? As it is, the Orange and Green Lines follow the TRE for a few miles leaving downtown Dallas.

Again, if you were not there when these political decisions were made, tough luck. There are a hundred reasons why they took a separate route to get to DFW than using the TRE corridor. Amongst them is the potential use of the TRE corridor in the near future to be used to extend Texas Central HSR to Fort Worth from Dallas. Squeezing all three train types, HSR, Freight and Commuter rail, and light rail into a single 100 feet wide corridor will be impossible. Note I wrote possible, there is no guarantee HSR will be built using the TRE corridor. But putting light rail in it would make that option impossible. Planners in DFW are not limiting their plans to just the next 20-30 years, they are thinking about leaving options available up to 50 years in advance.

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Re: DART - Dallas Area Rapid Transit

Post by mtuandrew » Thu Jul 25, 2019 7:47 am

Well yes, I understand that they built the route where and why they did for a reason, and that it also serves communities along the way. That doesn’t preclude me from thinking it’s a slow route or thinking that other alternatives would better serve airport travelers.

Gilbert B Norman
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Re: DART - Dallas Area Rapid Transit

Post by Gilbert B Norman » Thu Jul 25, 2019 8:32 am

Mr. Stephens. I'm certain there are powerful interests down there who wanted the DART to be slow, circuitous, and inconvenient.

All told, the inbound, including the bus ride through the place, trip took 2.5hrs. The return, about 2hr, owing to no Downtown traffic Sunday morning.

Now if you are flying Southwest (no thanks), DART is much better option for getting to and from DAL.

Finally to Ron; thanks for that very insightful account as to why the DART Orange Line meanders all over the place. There JUST HAD to be "politics" from that large planned community, Las Colinas (hope the residents become deaf to the horns). All I know, the last time I had been in Dallas, '86, that was all cotton fields.

electricron
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Re: DART - Dallas Area Rapid Transit

Post by electricron » Thu Jul 25, 2019 9:28 pm

Of course politics was in play, it always is when government funds are being spent.

But what I do not understand is why DART is being criticized for routing the Orange Line via the first TOD, Las Colinas, within the DFW metroplex? I thought every urbanism proponent loves transit development causing TODs, but apparently not the other way around. Las Colinas has had an APT running through the development since the late 1980s. An Orange Line station provides direct access to the APT. Sadly, I guess I am wrong!

I also do not understand why a DART Line is being criticized for street running through Las Colinas development when so many have complained about it’s running in ex-freight lines in the past? That it is not urban enough. But the few times it does go full urban it is being criticized for not being suburban enough. I guess Lincoln was right 150 years ago, you can’t please some of the people all the time and you can’t please all the people some of the time.

Just about all of DART’s light rail lines have elevated, at grade, and below grade track sections; street running in dedicated lanes and running in dedicated off street rail corridors. Being so flexible is one of the major advantages of light rail trains. Of course it runs slower while street running as compared to running in dedicated rail corridors off the streets. Why is that surprising?

As for inter terminal bus services at DFW airport, DART and Trinity Metro have little to do with it. Those buses are provided for free and are managed by DFW airport.

Additional, I would like to emphasize the importance of the federally mandated EIS process. Everywhere in the DART area that wanted trains or train stations got them, everywhere that did not did not. East Dallas got the Santa Fe bike trail, University and Highland Park got the MKT Katy bike trail, Las Colinas development got an Orange Line station whereas Knox Street did not. Far north Dallas was not able to nimby away the Silver Line (Cotton Belt), but they were able to prevent train stations in their neighborhoods. Both Richardson and Plano wanted a Silver Line train station as it crossed the Red Line, and instead of choosing one city or the other, DART decided to give both cities their train station. A similar result on the Silver Line at downtown Addison and the Galleria area, where the commuting rail line proceeds 4 miles or more, but then has two train stations in about a mile. Highland Village train station was not built initially because the neighborhood did not want it, but as ran down apartments were rebuilt into a modern TOD the station was added when those developers wanted it. I know this coils the toes of the elite transit proponents, but within the DART area democracy at the local neighborhood level works!
Last edited by electricron on Fri Jul 26, 2019 9:54 am, edited 1 time in total.

Gilbert B Norman
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Re: DART - Dallas Area Rapid Transit

Post by Gilbert B Norman » Fri Jul 26, 2019 9:41 am

electricron wrote:
Thu Jul 25, 2019 9:28 pm
As for inter terminal bus services at DFW airport, DART and Trinity Metro have little to do with it. Those buses are provided for free and are managed by DFW airport.
Ron, since inter-terminal transit at DFW is all part of mass transit use to wherever in the "Metroplex", discussion of such is "part and parcel" of this topic.

As I noted earlier in the postings arising my "blur of a trip" last Saturday and Sunday, I think the signage for passengers advising them that DART is there is very weak. I think any passenger arriving at whatever terminal should be aware of DART and where it leaves from. They should be advised of Sky Link, and not to exit the secure area to use it. Likewise, I'm not sure if this is allowed, but departing passengers could enter the secure area at Terminal A and use Sky Link to whatever terminal (OH, and perish the thought; flyimg someone other than American!!!). The boarding pass kiosks I saw can print such for any airline.

But finally, let me note how courteous the Terminal Link drivers are. They help with luggage, they ask where you're going, they smile - and all that lessens the "drudge" air travel has become.

electricron
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Re: DART - Dallas Area Rapid Transit

Post by electricron » Fri Jul 26, 2019 10:08 am

No doubt DFW airport could do a better job explaining transportation options available, but that is a very difficult thing to do using international icon signage. There are international bus and train symbols, but are there enough different train icons for various trains? At some point it is up to the individual traveler to research the transit options in advance. Answers can be found on the internet on what is available and how to catch them.

electricron
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Re: DART - Dallas Area Rapid Transit

Post by electricron » Sun Jul 28, 2019 12:10 am

mtuandrew wrote:
Thu Jul 25, 2019 7:47 am
Well yes, I understand that they built the route where and why they did for a reason, and that it also serves communities along the way. That doesn’t preclude me from thinking it’s a slow route or thinking that other alternatives would better serve airport travelers.
The Orange LIne serves DFW airport, but it also serves Irving, uptown Dallas, downtown Dallas, and north Dallas. It was not built just to serve DFW airport travelers. Dallas did not perform a Shanghai and ran an express rail line 15 miles out from downtown just to go to one additional station at the airport. It built a rail line to service all the neighborhoods between them as well.

Of course, DFW could fund by itself by taxing air fares more for an express train to both downtowns from the airport so its travelers could reach them much faster - but it did not

DART and Trinity Metro are tasked to provide local citizens with public transit; airport travelers being a small part of their overall ridership, do not expect them to cater to visiting travelers over and beyond the local taxpaying transit riders.

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Re: DART - Dallas Area Rapid Transit

Post by Gilbert B Norman » Sun Jul 28, 2019 8:49 am

electricron wrote:
Sun Jul 28, 2019 12:10 am
The Orange LIne serves DFW airport, but it also serves Irving, uptown Dallas, downtown Dallas, and north Dallas. It was not built just to serve DFW airport travelers. Dallas did not perform a Shanghai and ran an express rail line 15 miles out from downtown just to go to one additional station at the airport. It built a rail line to service all the neighborhoods between them as well.

Of course, DFW could fund by itself by taxing air fares more for an express train to both downtowns from the airport so its travelers could reach them much faster - but it did not.
Ron, I totally respect your views regarding DART's choice to serve the several communities between DFW and Pearl St. Station (100yds from the Marriott at which I stayed). I totally understand the need to maintain track and signals and if their need be a "busteetoot", best have it on the Weekend. There was also a "busteetoot" on the.CTA Blue Line, J'Park to Harlem, which added 20 min to the run.

But back on DART, it's a wonder that through that planned community, Las Colinas, the ROW is not underground. Maybe the Brokers down there know how to show (or "Stage", in "Brokerese" around these parts) property to minimize the horns, but darned if I would.

The "Metroplex" is simply indicative of the "sprawl" that is endemic throughout the Southwest. Simply because I was going to Downtown Dallas, does not everyone is doing same. Shanghai can have a dedicated nonstop airport to Downtown and have it filled up because the Chinese don't seem to develop "sprawl".

electricron
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Re: DART - Dallas Area Rapid Transit

Post by electricron » Sun Jul 28, 2019 12:09 pm

Gilbert B Norman wrote:
Sun Jul 28, 2019 8:49 am
Ron, I totally respect your views regarding DART's choice to serve the several communities between DFW and Pearl St. Station (100yds from the Marriott at which I stayed).
The "Metroplex" is simply indicative of the "sprawl" that is endemic throughout the Southwest. Simply because I was going to Downtown Dallas, does not everyone is doing same. Shanghai can have a dedicated nonstop airport to Downtown and have it filled up because the Chinese don't seem to develop "sprawl".
Look at Google Maps, Earth, or whatever satellite photo mapping service you prefer, and count the number of ring roads around Beijing, I disagree that there is no development sprawl in China. All the air pollution China’s cities are well known for comes from somewhere. As long as there is flat and cheap to build upon land nearby, cities will grow in that direction naturally.

Dallas and many other cities in the USA grew into cities in the automobile age. Most cities in Asia and Europe grew into cities long before the automobile age, most before the steam age as well. These grew into cities during the pedestrian age where most citizens walked everywhere on foot. These older cities used to have walls around them; inside the walls they had high density buildings and narrow streets, outside the walls they had less density buildings and much wider streets, and since the age of the automobiles, suburban cities with even wider streets.

It’s not where the cities are as much as when the cities grew determining how dense they are. Then when we add geographic features and obstacles into the mix, cities usually will not grow into difficult and expensive land to build on. In some cases it is cheaper to build up instead of out. People in general pick the neighborhoods they can afford to live in to set up their homes. Homes are built for all income classes, and the cost of the land and the cost to build affects where each class of home is built.

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