Local Motion - June 2018

LBJ East project moving toward construction

The long-pursued LBJ East expansion project is moving forward. The Regional Transportation Council approved a resolution last month asking the Texas Transportation Commission to proceed to procurement of the 11-mile project, which runs from US Highway 75 to Interstate Highway 30.

The commission voted May 24 to authorize the Texas Department of Transportation to issue a request for qualifications seeking firms interested in the project.

The RTC and the State worked cooperatively over the past several weeks to close a $1 billion funding gap with a transparent process that relies on existing tax dollars to fund the project.

State officials have agreed to grandfather LBJ East’s two existing tolled managed lanes, paving the way for a corridor expansion that will include additional tax-supported lanes and continuous frontage roads and the same number of tolled managed lanes that currently exist. There are no Proposition 1 or 7 funds in the project.

High-occupancy vehicle lanes were added to the corridor in 2008 and expanded to tolled managed lanes in 2016 to allow single-occupant vehicles to pay a toll to use them. Both improvements were made to enhance mobility in the corridor and boost air quality in a region that is in nonattainment for ozone pollution. These improvements were paid for using federal funds from the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program.

The corridor runs through Dallas, Garland and Mesquite. The project also includes the intersection of Skillman Street and Audelia Road, which would be transformed into a safer, more modern interchange. Additionally, the IH 30 interchange would be rebuilt as part of the project.

Cedar Hill ISD 6th-grader named winner of NCTCOG art contest

Anthony Luna, a sixth-grader at Cedar Hill’s Permenter Middle School, was recently named the winner of the 2018 Progress North Texas art contest for his expression of the Healthy Communities: Transportation and the Natural Environment theme. Anthony chose to draw bicycles on a road leading to downtown Dallas, with trees and benches along the route. His artwork is on the cover of Progress North Texas 2018, which is due to be published this month.

The top four pieces were recognized during a Cedar Hill Independent School District board meeting in May. The other top finishers were:
  • Vladimir Munoz, Permenter, second place
  • Laila Zoubi, Permenter, third place
  • Isaiah Edwards, Coleman Middle School, honorable mention
For each of the past seven years, NCTCOG has partnered with a school district in the 12-county Dallas-Fort Worth area to showcase its students’ artistic abilities. Cedar Hill ISD was chosen his year because Rob Franke, the city’s mayor, is chair of the Regional Transportation Council. The goal is to reach out to students to encourage them to think abouttransportation issues today because they will be the decision-makers of tomorrow. More than 10,000 copies of Progress North Texas will be mailed to transportation partners, employers and residents throughout the region. To request a copy and see the artwork, visit www.nctcog.org/ourregion.

Automated vehicles coming to Frisco this summer

Self-driving vehicles are coming to Frisco. Drive.ai has announced it will launch a program offering
on-demand, self-driving car service beginning in July. Working in cooperation with the Frisco
Transportation Management Association, Drive.ai will offer rides to up to 10,000 people in self-driving
vehicles within an area containing retail, entertainment and office space. The initial pilot will run for six
months, beginning with fixed pickup and drop-off locations around HALL Park and The Star, with
planned expansion into Frisco Station.
This program is a milestone for Texas, marking the first time members of the public will have access to
an on-demand self-driving car service on public roads. This pilot program is a model for the deployment
of self-driving vehicles in a public setting, one of the first of its kind in the nation and a major step
forward for the industry, Drive.ai said in a press release announcing the launch. — Drive.ai

Conserve N. Texas website launches

The North Central Texas Council of Governments has launched the Conserve North Texas website, a regional clearinghouse of energy efficiency, water conservation, and transportation programs.

More than 7 million people live in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, and the population is expected to eclipse 11 million by 2045.

Conservation and resource efficiency will be critical to accommodate this growth while
also preserving existing regional resources.

The Conserve North Texas website was developed to provide local governments and other users a "one-stop shop" for a comprehensive inventory of programs, tools, case studies and other resources that address water, energy and transportation topics.

For example, visitors can use various tools to calculate their carbon footprint, energy savings,
fuel economy, etc.

Additional topics are planned for the future.Explore this resource at www.conservenorthtexas.org
today.

Region can help improve air quality June 22

Across the region June 22, North Texans will do something extra to reduce ozone-causing pollution, as part of the ninth annual Clean Air Action Day.

With more than 20 possible clean air choices, there are several actions they can take to do their part. The full list is available at www.airnorthtexas.org/cleanairactionday.

Air North Texas, the regional clean air campaign, is sponsoring a social media contest in the days leading up to June 22 to encourage residents to share their clean air action. Residents simply post about their clean air actions on June 22 or earlier with the hashtag #CAAD2018 to be entered into a
drawing for prizes.

Additionally, partners around the region have planned clean air contests, social media campaigns and events for their employees, residents and businesses for June 22. Partners with Surface Transportation Technical Committee representation will have the opportunity to earn Transportation Development Credits for participating in Clean Air Action Day.

To learn how to help improve air quality, visit www.airnorthtexas.org.

Save the date: National Drive Electric Week

Dallas-Fort Worth’s 2018 National Drive Electric Week event will be held at Grapevine Mills Mall from 10 am to 1 pm Saturday, September 8. Register at the official North Texas NDEW website, www.driveelectricdfw.org, where you will also find event details.

In case you are new to NDEW or want a reminder of what a celebration of all things electric looks like, check out the 2017 North Texas NDEW recap video on the website, which illustrates the excitement and feel of the day. Hope to see you on September 8.

RTC approves signal-retiming projects

The RTC recently approved $2 million in recommendations to retime traffic signals in various cities throughout the region as part of the Regional Traffic Signal Retiming Program. Projects were required to be along routes of significance with no construction planned within two years.

Signals along major roadways such as LBJ Freeway, State Highway 78 and Farm to Market Road 544 were among the recipients in the eastern portion of the region selected. In the west, recipients included Pioneer Parkway, South Cooper Street, South Collins Street, Southlake Boulevard and State
Highway 174.

The signal retiming program seeks to maximize the capacity of the existing roadway system by improving the efficiency of traffic lights. The full list of signal retiming projects can be found at
www.nctcog.org/trans/tsm/RTSRP/RTSRP_Selected_0418.pdf.

Additionally, projects worth $2.9 million were approved as part of the Minor Improvement Program.
These projects cost less than $50,000. The program boosts the capacity of the existing roadway system through low-cost operational improvements. The list of projects selected for funding under the Minor Improvement Program is available at the following site: www.nctcog.org/trans/tsm/RTSRP/Minor_Selected_0418.pdf.

Clean diesel funding assistance available

The Environmental Protection Agency anticipates awarding approximately $40 million for diesel emissions reduction projects such as replacement, engine repower, upgrade, or conversion, idle reduction and more.

Regional, State, and local agencies, including school districts, are eligible to apply for the funding, offered through the Clean Diesel Funding Assistance Program. The deadline for proposals is June 12. To learn more, visit www.epa.gov/cleandiesel/clean-diesel-national-grants.