nctcog logo
 
transportation label

 

 

Mobility Matters - Images of a freight truck traveling on a highway, downtown Fort Worth, a TRE locomotive, downtown Dallas skyline and highway traffic; Celebrating 35 Years of Regional Transportation Excellence, 1974 - 2009

Orange Line Debuts — Light Rail Gives Irving New Commuting Option
New Lanes Could Provide Greater Reliability
      A Message from Michael Morris, Transportation Director

Kamp Emerges as Transportation Leader After Reluctantly Taking up Issue for City
     Member Profile, Pete Kamp, Mayor Pro Tem. City of Denton
RTC Adopts 2013 Legislative Program
Fact Sheet Highlights Transportation Bill
Have You Tried the New Bush Turnpike Extension?
Cut Down on Game Day Traffic by Riding Public Transportation


Subscribe
to receive Mobility Matters by e-mail or postal mail | View a PDF version | Read archived issues

Orange Line Debuts
Light Rail Gives Irving New Commuting Option

Read the paper. Check email. Sit back and relax. These are just a few of the options in front of you as you step aboard Dallas Area Rapid Transit’s new Orange Line, an extension of the growing rail system in and around Dallas.

Three new Orange Line stations opened in July, providing access to jobs, housing, education and entertainment via a transportation mode Irving leaders had long sought. The Orange Line will be extended to Belt Line in December and Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport by 2014.

 

Logo: DART Orange Line


“The opening of the new Orange Line stations furthers DART's vision of connecting the region's major destinations via transit, particularly rail transit,” DART spokesman Morgan Lyons said. “As the system has grown rapidly to more than 70 miles from none in 1996, DART rail makes it easier than ever for people to live and work and play and go to school wherever they want.”

A ride along the new line reveals a mix of loft apartments, retail establishments, office buildings and plenty of vacant land waiting to be developed near the stations. Some of that land is already seeing buildings going up, which will bring DART more potential riders.

According to DART, more than 7,000 apartment units are either open or planned in the Las Colinas Urban Center. And 221 companies with 25-plus employees are within a quarter- to a half-mile of a DART rail station between Bachman Station and Irving Convention Center Station, according to the transit agency.

The new extension provides access to workers and will help travelers get to DFW Airport, two important factors for the business community. When the train leaves the Convention Center Station, it cruises toward the Las Colinas Urban Center and then on to the University of Dallas before setting out for stations along the existing Green Line.

Map: DART Expands Light Rail System
The Orange Line opened light rail access to Irving for the first time over the summer, providing direct rail to jobs, housing, education and entertainment to many who had to rely on their cars to move around the area. Stations at North Lake College and Belt Line opened December 3, when the Blue Line welcomes a station in Rowlett. By 2014, the line will reach Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.

Photo (DART): Orange Line train
Photo: DART

Resources
Dallas Area Rapid Transit
Questions/Comments - Contact Us

 

Ultimately, it follows the Green Line to downtown before moving north along the existing Red Line. Connection to the rest of DART’s maturing light rail system provides Irving passengers direct access to the Dallas Zoo, American Airlines Center, Fair Park and many other entertainment venues, as well as educational institutions and jobs they had to drive to just a few months ago. It also provides people who live near other stations and work in Las Colinas another commuting option besides getting behind the wheel every morning and battling traffic congestion on the way to work.

The Orange Line represents the arrival of light rail to a place that has waited decades. In the 1990s, Irving voters faced a referendum on DART membership, but ended up staying in anticipation of light rail one day reaching them. Later, city leaders and DART worked together to change the preferred alignment from one that would have offered passengers limited access to Irving to the one in operation today. With additional stations opening and passengers boarding the train, the city’s vision is beginning to materialize.

And its education and business leaders are optimistic about how it will help shape the future.


“When we recruit business from our four target markets around the country, we brag about the Orange Line. Many of our businesses want to be near DART rail so their employees can have options in terms of transportation – effective transportation – so we've been betting on this for several years," said Chris Wallace, president and CEO of the Greater Irving-Las Colinas Chamber.

Return to top | Mobility Matters main page | More Mobility Matters articles | Mobility Matters archives

New Lanes Could Provide Greater Reliability
A Message from Michael Morris, Transportation Director


You’ve just finished a major project at work that could give your company a leg up on the competition. All you want to do now is get home to your family. But there is a problem. The freeway is jammed, with no relief in sight. You look over to the carpool lane on your left and see cars whizzing by.

Understandably, you are upset about this, which is likely how many of the motorists sharing the road with you also feel. If only you could use that tantalizingly close lane, you’d get home in time for dinner. Maybe you’re trying to avoid a late charge at your child’s daycare and long for a more reliable trip than the one that has left you crawling behind a seemingly endless stream of cars and trucks. The HOV/express lane would be tremendously helpful, saving you precious time and money. Better yet, it would allow you more time to do the things you want.

Whatever your situation, given our traffic problem, you undoubtedly wish your drive to the office or home were easier and more reliable. You will not have to wait long for relief in some of the Dallas-Fort Worth area’s most heavily traveled corridors. Starting next year, the region will introduce a new option for travelers.

For 20 years, some corridors have had high-occupancy vehicle lanes available for motorists with at least one additional passenger. Regional tolled managed lanes on LBJ Freeway, the DFW Connector and the North Tarrant Express will be tolled and open to anyone, regardless of occupancy. In return for the toll, drivers will be able to navigate the chosen corridor more reliably. A guaranteed rate of speed will accompany this price, helping motorists reach their destinations on time. But don’t worry. The same number or more free general-purpose lanes will be open to those not wishing to pay a toll. Continuous frontage roads will also be toll-free.

  Photo (From DART): traffic and HOV lane

The Regional Transportation Council, Dallas-Fort Worth’s transportation policymaking body, has been examining how we should move from independent HOV/express lanes to a system of managed lanes. Since the region’s HOV/express lanes opened, in the early 1990s, they’ve allowed vehicles with at least two occupants to use them. In order to integrate them into the Managed Lane System, the RTC is also considering transforming the current HOV /express lanes into managed lanes.

The RTC will conduct a workshop in December to discuss occupancy and other requirements of the existing HOV/express lanes. They could continue to operate as they have traditionally, allowing vehicles with at least two occupants free access. Or, the occupancy rules could be changed to three or more per vehicle, which could eliminate potential confusion caused at spots where the new and existing lanes meet.

When fully developed, the managed lanes on LBJ Freeway, the DFW Connector and the North Tarrant Express will require at least three to a vehicle to receive a half-price discount in the peak periods. The RTC may consider phasing in the occupancy requirement to better integrate it with the transformed HOV/express lanes.

As the region transitions to the new policy, we will rely on vigorous enforcement of the occupancy requirements. The point is not to be punitive, but to be fair to those who’ve chosen to follow the rules and help make your commute a little more predictable.

If you use these lanes today, you will still be allowed to, but you’ll see more of your neighbors in them. The excess capacity will be sold to people willing to pay for smoother, quicker trips. As with any transition, there will be questions and concerns that need to be addressed along the way. And we’re prepared to help you navigate this change, whether you are a current HOV/express lane user or future customer attracted by the promise of a smoother ride.

Regardless of where you need to go – home, daycare, work or somewhere else across our great region – it’s important that you have choices that will take you there as efficiently as possible. Tolled managed lanes and HOV/express lanes are just examples of what we are doing to improve your quality of life. But we can never accomplish anything alone. Your opinion has proved invaluable to us, and the RTC has benefited greatly from your suggestions, which have helped steer us to this point. We look forward to your continued involvement in transportation issues as we search for ways to help you get where you’re going faster. After all … mobility matters.

Resources
Questions/Comments - Contact Us

Return to top | Mobility Matters main page | More Mobility Matters articles | Mobility Matters archives


Photo: Pete Kamp, Mayor Pro Tem, City of Denton

Kamp Emerge as Transportation Leader After Reluctantly Taking Up Issue for City
Member Profile - Pete Kamp, Mayor Pro Tem, City of Denton

Shortly after Pete Kamp was elected to the Denton City Council, then-Mayor Euline Brock called to ask if she would accept a new challenge by being the city’s point-person on transportation.

City Councilmember Mark Burroughs, who had handled transportation issues for the city, was about to rotate off the council – he now serves as the city’s mayor – and Brock needed someone to take over for him.

The only problem was, Kamp was new to transportation and admits she had a limited knowledge of it. A Denton native, Kamp had run for council seeking to improve quality of life in the city, to make it a better place to live, work and play. She loved music, art, culture and animals. Transportation was not on her radar. But it was a difficult request to turn down, so Kamp accepted the challenge and was appointed to the Regional Transportation Council and also became a member of the Dallas Regional Mobility Coalition.

Despite not being particularly interested in transportation when elected, once Kamp started digging into the issues, “I found it fascinating,” she said.

She soon began to see how transportation was connected with all that she sought to bring to Denton. To enjoy a good quality of life, one needs to be able to move around the region efficiently. That requires good roads and alternatives such as commuter rail.

  As a member of RTC since 2004, Kamp has seen many projects undertaken and completed. Currently, the most significant, she says, is Interstate Highway 35E, which was recently granted environmental clearance.

Transportation is also essential to continued growth, something residents of the city of Denton and Denton County know well. The county’s population is 683,010, while 115,810 people live in the city of Denton. From 2000-2010, the city grew from 80,537 to 113,383. The county expanded by more than 50 percent, from 432,976 to 662,976.

“I didn’t realize how much transportation had to do with every single aspect,” she said. “I certainly didn’t realize how much it had to do with economic development. It touches our lives in every way.”

These days, Kamp is mayor pro tem of her hometown and chair of the RTC, a position she was elected to in June. She will serve as chair for a year, leading the 43-member transportation policymaking body through a legislative session, which begins in January.

For Kamp, becoming RTC chair was not a major adjustment, in part because of how officers rotate, spending a year each as secretary and vice chair before stepping in to lead for a year.

As a member of RTC since 2004, Kamp has seen many projects undertaken and completed. Currently, the most significant, she says, is Interstate Highway 35E, which was recently granted environmental clearance.

“When I first started this process, I didn’t think it was going to be done in my lifetime,” she said. Yet, the first phase of the expansion project is closer than ever to happening, thanks to the Legislature providing the region with the tools to proceed and the local committee that has worked through many of the issues.

Phase I of the expansion will be completed as a design-build project, meaning the same company will be able to perform both functions, reducing the time it takes to complete it.

IH 35W is also an important project to Denton. FWTAexas Department of Transportation recently named a short stretch of IH 35W in Tarrant County the state’s most congested roadway.

Kamp has seen a lot of change in just a few years. But she now experiences it through the eyes of a seasoned policymaker for whom transportation has become an important part of life. In fact, RTC members have a nickname for one another.

“We call ourselves transportation junkies,” she said.

Resources
City of Denton
Questions/Comments - Contact Us

Return to top | Mobility Matters main page | More Mobility Matters articles | Mobility Matters archives

Mobility Matters 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.

10/17/2016  03/17/2009 JS

 CONTACT US | SITE MAP | LEGAL | SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS
Find Us on Facebook  Follow Us on Twitter  Tubin with the COG Trans  Grammin with CogTrans
 North Central Texas Council of Governments | 616 Six Flags Drive P.O. Box 5888 Arlington, TX 76005-5888
 Main Operator: (817) 640-3300 | Fax: (817) 640-7806