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New commuter rail line tunes into Denton County.
The Denton County Transportation Authority (DCTA) opened the 21-mile commuter rail line June 20, giving Denton-Dallas commuters a welcome alternative to crowded Interstate 35E. From DART's Trinity Mills Station in Carrollton, the trip takes about 37 minutes, with two stops in Lewisville, one near Highland Village, and two in Denton, including the Downtown Denton Transit Center.
DART has been a partner in the project, sharing its rail development expertise, leasing its right of way, and leasing its original Trinity Railway Express railcars to get A-train service started until its permanent rail vehicles are delivered.
"DART's help has been indispensible," says Dee Leggett, the DCTA's vice president of Communications and Planning. "For our regional transit network to keep growing, this kind of cooperation will be critical."
Fast-Tracking ServiceThe A-train began service a mere six years after DCTA officials formally set the project in motion. The $325 million project was completed without federal support, with the majority of construction and start-up costs funded by an advance on future toll revenue from the Sam Rayburn Tollway.
Next year, the DCTA will begin phasing in 11 self-propelled Diesel Multiple Units (DMUs) manufactured by the Swiss firm of Stadler Bussnag AG. Each of the DMUs will feature capacity for 200 (96 seated), space for wheelchairs, bike racks, and luggage racks.
The DCTA's next-generation rail vehicle also is the prototype for the trains DART plans to operate on the 26-mile east-west Cotton Belt Corridor linking DART's Red and Green lines and DFW International Airport.
Driving a Transit RenaissanceLocated near Lewisville's bustling shopping district at Hebron Parkway and I-35E/Stemmons Freeway, the A-train's Hebron Station is a testament to the economic power of public transit. Construction already has begun on the 90-acre mixed-use project dubbed "Hebron 121 Station," Denton County's first official transit-oriented development.
In addition to shops, restaurants, coffeehouses and the like, the development will feature lakeside trails and lushly landscaped parks. The first phase already is being leased.
Meanwhile, at the A-train's terminus in downtown Denton, numerous restaurants, galleries and shops have sprung up in and around the area between the rail station and the historic Courthouse-on-the-Square.
"Almost every day since the station opened, our customers say they are here because of the train," says Achava Tanadrop, manager at Andaman Thai Restaurant. "We definitely have people using the train to come and eat here." The city is doing its part to enhance the path between the station and the heart of downtown by investing in sidewalks and streetscape improvements to attract even more development.
"Downtown experienced a rebirth when most of Fry Street [a legendary entertainment zone adjacent to the University of North Texas campus] was torn down, and the DCTA station will only continue that," says Alan Pierce, one of the owners of Rooster's Roadhouse. "These days, it's not just college students we see here – it's mostly young adults and families."
Explore the A-trainDOWNTOWN DENTON TRANSIT CENTER is a gateway to the historic Denton Square – a hotbed of restaurants, clubs, coffeehouses and taverns forming the epicenter of a music scene that rivals Austin’s. Both the University of North Texas and Texas Women’s University are connected to the station by bus service.
MEDPARK STATION is just steps from the Denton Regional Medical Center, a 208-bed, hospital serving a four-county area. With more than 850 employees and 300 physicians, it is one of the city’s premier employers – and the new train access makes it that much more attractive as a workplace.
HIGHLAND VILLAGE/LEWISVILLE LAKE serves commuters from Highland Village, home to numerous residential communities, and provides access to Lewisville Lake, a recreational favorite with more than 183 miles of shoreline.
OLD TOWN STATION in the heart of historic Lewisville features specialty stores, restaurants, outdoor art and special events throughout the year.
HEBRON STATION is a quiet neighborhood stop now, but big plans are in the works for a 90-acre development, Hebron 121 Station, featuring a dynamic blend of residential and retail space.
The A-train runs during peak periods from roughly 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. weekdays, with extended service on Friday nights and service starting later on Saturdays. DCTA does not operate on Sundays and major holidays. Riders need a Regional Pass to transfer systems between DART Rail's Trinity Mills Station and DCTA's Hebron Station. For exact schedules and other information, visit dcta.net.
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