[IMAGE]MET1news-DARTCarrolltonStation-2.jpg[/IMAGE]On Dec. 6, 2010 Dallas Area ­Rapid Transit (DART) marked the completion of its 28-mile, 20-station, $1.8 billion Green Line on schedule and under budget, when it opened 24 miles and 15 stations, creating new light rail connections for riders from southeast Dallas to the cities of Farmers Branch and Carrollton in the northwest.

The first section of the Green Line opened in September 2009 and connects Pearl Station on the east side of Downtown Dallas to MLK, Jr. Station on the west side of Fair Park.

"The Green Line makes our system a little more complete," DART President/Executive Director Gary Thomas said. "We had north, south, northeast and southwest covered but we didn't have northwest or southeast covered."                

The additional line offers connections to more destinations popular among riders. "Customers living in Pleasant Grove now have seamless access to jobs at Baylor University, Downtown Dallas, the Market District, University of Texas-Southwestern/Parkland, Love Field Airport and Farmers Branch and Carrollton," explained Thomas. "Business owners all along the corridor can connect with new customers and new pools of prospective employees."

While DART already had bus coverage in the transit corridors now served by the Green Line extension, the rail provides quicker, more dependable service, Thomas added. For example, customers of the Denton County Transportation Authority (DCTA) who have been riding an express bus to Downtown Dallas will be able to transfer to the Green Line at Trinity Mills Station. The DCTA's A-Train is scheduled to open in summer 2011.

The new stations also represent 15 additions to DART's growing public art collection. Each station is designed to reflect the surrounding community, giving each station a unique look. Community volunteers, DART staff and station artists worked together for months on the new stations. The art may be found in windscreens, landscaping and fences at Lawnview Station or, a signature piece, such as the wayfinder monument at the North Carrollton/Frankford Station.

[PAGEBREAK][IMAGE]MET1news-DARTCarrollton-Frankford-2.jpg[/IMAGE]Fair Park, one of the untapped gems in an older part of the Dallas area, has the largest art deco collection in the Southwestern region of the U.S., according to Thomas. "The architecture of that station was important to us," he said.

In addition to local funding provided by the one-percent sales tax collected in DART's 13 cities, support for the Green Line came from a $700-million Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA) from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). The FFGA was awarded in July 2006 at the start of construction. Construction was boosted by the receipt of $78.4 million in funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in mid-2009.

Due to the magnitude of the project, the agency took a major departure from the design-bid-build approach it used in the past and opted for a Best Value Selection Process and Construction Manager General Contractor approach. DART worked with two large contracts instead of multiple, smaller contracts, Thomas said.

"We did it to help with the continuity and the consistency of the corridor, save money, and to help promote small and emerging businesses and minority participation," he added. "When selecting contractors, DART reviewed mentor protégé programs put in place by the prime contractors to help develop subcontractors. The approach enabled prime contractors to sub out major pieces of work to minority businesses, mainly on the southeast part of the corridor. "By and large those were huge successes on all fronts," Thomas said.

Thomas attributes the project coming in under budget to capturing lessons learned from previous projects.   

"When you have a system that is growing as quickly as ours, you have that relatively recent history of what you did last time," he explained. Additionally, consistency within staff helped. "You build processes to transcend people, but it is nice, even with those processes in place to have people that say 'I remember we did that and it didn't work well. How can we do that better?' Staff consistency has been huge."


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Nicole Schlosser

Nicole Schlosser

Former Executive Editor

Nicole was an editor and writer for School Bus Fleet. She previously worked as an editor and writer for Metro Magazine, School Bus Fleet's sister publication.

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