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April 2014

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OUR REGION

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Planning area has taken shape in Dallas-Fort Worth over 40 years

Did you know that urban planning dates back to the start of the post-World War II era? However, it wasn’t until the 1960s that the Texas Highway Department initiated comprehensive transportation planning.

And under the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1962, transportation projects in urbanized areas with 50,000 or more people had to be based on a continuing, comprehensive, urban transportation planning process undertaken cooperatively by state and local governments. Although all existing urbanized areas had a transportation planning process underway, many did not have a planning agency. This led the Bureau of Public Roads (later known as the Federal Highway Administration) to require the creation of metropolitan planning organizations. MPOs must address regional transportation needs for an area that includes land expected to be part of the urbanized area in 20 years.

The planning area for which NCTCOG is responsible has changed dramatically over the past 40 years. In 1974, it consisted of two full counties — Dallas and Tarrant — and sections of others. Today, NCTCOG is responsible for transportation and air quality planning for 12 counties. Growth and development led to several expansions, both large and small, beginning in 1983.

The development of the Telecom Corridor in Richardson helped lead to business and population growth in the northeastern part of the region. AllianceTexas, in north Fort Worth, resulted in similar changes to the northwestern part of the region. These are just two examples of changes that have helped shape the region over the past 40 years. In both cases, population and employment were moving farther away from the Dallas and Fort Worth central business districts, necessitating the planning area to move in the same direction. As growth took hold in all directions, and commuting patterns changed, the planning area was adjusted to meet residents’ needs.

Further expansion in 1991 included parts of Collin, Ellis, Johnson, Kaufman and Parker counties, and the remainder of Rockwall County. In 1992, the rest of Collin and Denton counties were added. In 2003, small portions of Parker and Wise counties were brought in, making the planning area nine counties. With the most recent expansion, in 2009, the planning area grew from nine counties to 12, when Hood, Hunt and Wise counties were added. The metropolitan planning area is now more than 9,400 square miles, making it one of the largest in the country, covering an area about the size of Maryland. And the planning area will continue to evolve along with the region.

Related link: 40th Anniversary

RTC POLICYMAKERS

NCTCOG sponsoring car clinics in April 

To benefit North Texas motorists, NCTCOG has partnered with local automotive repair shops to sponsor car care clinics April 5-26.

These free clinics help drivers understand the basics of vehicle care and maintenance during National Car Care Month. This nationwide effort, held each April, aims to provide information about ways to prolong vehicle life, obtain better gas mileage and minimize emissions.

Checking Oil

Attendees will be taught what the check engine light means, how to check fluid levels and other basic lessons that could help prolong their vehicles’ lives.  To find a free car clinic scheduled near you visit NTXCarCare.org. For additional information, send an email to NTXCarCare@nctcog.org or call 817-704-5605.

Commit to clean air strategies this season

The 2014 North Texas ozone season officially began March 1. The 10-county region is designated “moderate” nonattainment for the 2008 8-hour ozone standard, 75 parts per billion or less.

Remember to do your part to help improve air quality to bring the region into attainment. Commit to simple clean air strategies that are great to implement year-round, but are especially important to follow on Air Pollution Action Days. Example strategies include biking or walking instead of driving, reducing idling, carpooling, taking your lunch to work, using mass transit and more. Visit AirNorthTexas.org to review and commit to strategies and sign up to receive Air Pollution Action Day alerts.

PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT

Blacklands Study moving forward

NCTCOG hosted a public meeting in Greenville last month to seek additional input from the public and share the preliminary evaluation of nine transportation alternatives for the Blacklands Corridor Feasibility Study area.

Planners said they intended to carry forward all of the alternatives for further evaluation except for freight rail. Although a new location for a freeway or toll road remains a possibility, they reiterated that the entire Northeast Texas Rural Rail Transportation District right-of-way in Nevada, Josephine and Caddo Mills is no longer being considered for a roadway alignment. Analysis and computer modeling have shown that a need for additional capacity exists between Garland and State Highway 205 near SH 78 due to population growth and high traffic volume on SH 78 and Interstate Highway 30. Based on this analysis, planners said final recommendations for the study area would likely include multiple alternatives.

About 120 people attended the meeting, and seven chose to speak during the period for public comments, while others submitted written comments. Moving forward, public input will become even more critical to the study. To comment on the study, review presentation materials or view a video recording of the meeting, please visit
NCTCOG.org/Blacklands.

DART to pull in to DFW Airport on Aug. 18

Light rail service to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport will debut August 18, when Dallas Area Rapid Transit opens the 5-mile Orange Line extension. With the introduction of service to DFW Airport, DART’s light rail network will be 90 miles.

Related link:  DART.org

 

 

   

 

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NEXT CHALLENGE

As the Metropolitan Planning Organization, we have spent the past 40 years working to meet the needs of
Dallas-Fort Worth. This continues today and includes overcoming the
transportation and air quality challenges that come with expansion. We want to know what you envision for our region’s future, as well. What are the biggest problems you see, and what are your ideas for improving DFW mobility? Let us know by posting on Facebook and Twitter using #DFWMPO40.

Transportation Update

SmartWay I-Spy

Residents asked to snap photos of logo around region

The Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) has launched the
SmartWay I-Spy Challenge as part of the SmartWay 10-Year anniversary celebration.

smartwaylogo

As a SmartWay affiliate, the North Central Texas Council of
Governments is participating and invites people from across the region to join the effort.

Residents are encouraged to look for the SmartWay logo in action and snap photos of it when they find it in and around the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Photos should be submitted to Shane Pace, at space@nctcog.org. NCTCOG will forward them to the EPA to be used in anniversary materials. Photos and images of the SmartWay brand, the partnership logo, the certification mark for passenger cars, and designated mark for heavy-duty applications and package labeling will all be accepted. For more information, visit NCTCOG.org/SmartWay

Public comments

Comments or questions about transportation or air quality topics may be submitted at any time. Submit questions or comments online or send them to:

North Central Texas
Council of Governments
Transportation Department
P.O. Box 5888
Arlington, TX 76005-5888 

E-mail: transinfo@nctcog.org
Web site: www.nctcog.org/trans
Fax: 817-640-3028
Phone: 817-695-9240


   
   
   
   
     
 
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Local Motion is prepared in cooperation with the Texas Department of Transportation and the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration and Federal Transit Administration. The contents of this report reflect the views of the authors who are responsible for the opinions, findings and conclusions presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Federal Highway Administration, the Federal Transit Administration or the Texas Department of Transportation.

5/6/2016  03/17/2009 JS

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