December 3, 2012

DART opens 2 new rail segments

Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) opened two more rail segments this week, extending the Blue Line to Rowlett and the Orange Line farther into Irving and closer to DFW International Airport.

DART has built more than 40 miles of track in the last three years, greatly enhancing transit accessibility throughout the Dallas area. At 85 miles, DART Rail is the largest electric light rail system in the nation.

Downtown Rowlett Station marks the first expansion of the Blue Line since it reached Garland in November 2002. The 4.5-mile, $360 million segment completes the build-out of the northeast corridor and increases access to and from the largely residential community.

Community and civic leaders are optimistic that DART will pay off in increased visitors and commercial growth, both of which are critical to broadening the city's tax base. Downtown Rowlett Station's opening likewise has prompted zoning changes and development guidelines to attract transit-oriented, walkable mixed-use development near the rail station.

In late 2016, DART will lengthen the Blue Line south from Ledbetter Station to connect to the University of North Texas at Dallas.

The $1.3 billion Orange Line — the first section of which opened in July with three stations — grew nearly four miles with new stops at North Lake College and Belt Line Road, on DFW Airport property. This segment advances the Orange Line toward its eventual terminus at DFW Airport, where it will connect riders from throughout the Dallas area to one of the nation's busiest airports.

DFW Station is scheduled to open in December 2014, making DART one of the few transit agencies in the U.S. with direct rail service into a major airport.

DART also debuted two new bus connections, making airline travel in North Texas easier than ever by meeting each train with bus service to either DFW Airport or Dallas Love Field Airport.

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