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Spring 2008 This link requires Internet access

  The offical newsletter of Dallas Area Rapid Transit






Moving People While Moving Ahead

MLK Station Construction imageAs DART's Green Line construction swings into full-speed-ahead mode, the signs are hard to miss, especially in and around downtown Dallas.

Today's construction dust will give way to tomorrow's world-class light rail system when the Green Line connects Carrollton and Farmers Branch to downtown Dallas and Pleasant Grove.

The $1.7-billion project is one of the largest of its kind in the nation, and the first major milestone will come when the initial segment opens in September 2009 - just in time to serve the State Fair of Texas.

By December 2010, the Green Line will get people moving to an array of new destinations, as trains link South Dallas, Fair Park, Deep Ellum, Baylor University Medical Center, the Dallas CBD, Victory Park, the Dallas Market Center, the Southwestern Medical District, as well as the Dallas Love Field Airport vicinity.

The next year, the first phase of a branch known as the Orange Line will extend to Las Colinas and, ultimately in 2013, to DFW International Airport.

All in all, the buildout will more than double the existing light rail system to 93 miles. In the meantime, the agency is working to keep traffic moving in and around construction corridors.

"Communicating specific information is critical, but it's just as important to establish a rapport with communities."

Rosa Rosteet, DART Community Affairs
A big part of the project is keeping local communities up to speed on the construction activities affecting their neighborhoods or businesses. Through regular local meetings, one-on-one sessions with property owners, flyers and newsletters delivered to residents, and ongoing updates on DART's website (www.DART.org This link requires Internet access), the agency works hard to let the public know what to expect when the dirt is flying.

"Communicating specific information is critical, but it's just as important to establish a rapport with communities," says Rosa Rosteet, the DART Community Affairs representative responsible for much of the project's northwest corridor. "Often people feel better about the project and all the construction work it entails when they know their concerns are being heard and addressed."

Southwestern Medical District/Parkland Station image
Concrete structures form the approach to the aerial platform at Southwestern Medical District/Parkland Station (above), while steel canopies give shape to Fair Park Station at the landmark's historic main gate (below).
Fair Park Station image
Communicating with the public is only half the equation; Rosteet points out that every effort has been made to organize construction in a way that minimizes inconvenience to the public. On the northwest rail corridor, for example, DART has staggered street openings and closings in an effort to optimize access to neighborhoods. In the case of the State Fair of Texas, DART worked closely with its contractor to halt all construction activities for the duration of the 2007 fair.

While it's difficult to foresee all of the ways this massive project may impact every single person among the thousands who live and work near the construction zones, the planning and communications effort has been extensive.

As Diane Gollhofer, DART's assistant vice president of Construction Management, points out, "a lot of different departments at DART have gotten in on the act - Project Management, Service Planning, Marketing & Communications, Transportation, Maintenance, DART Police and others. It's definitely a concerted undertaking, and we often have to think on our feet."

Keep moving
Over the coming months and years, construction on the Green and Orange lines will begin to transform neighborhoods. To stay abreast of the progress, riders, residents and business owners are increasingly opting to have construction updates delivered directly to their email, cell phones or PDAs. And the recently revamped www.DART.org has become a popular way to get the latest news. August through December 2007, for example, the site's construction pages generated 21,259 page views.


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