M-Line trolley extends downtown access

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With today’s soft-opening of a track extension, the M-Line Trolley now travels between the Cityplace area and the Central Business District, with stops throughout Uptown and the Dallas Arts District.

The track extension will enable the McKinney Avenue Transit Authority (MATA), which owns and operates the M-Line Trolley, to use more of its heritage streetcars and to stop near DART Rail’s St. Paul and Pearl/Arts District stations.

“The Dallas Arts District is the most accessible neighborhood in our region via a number of transit options, including two light rail stops served by all four light rail lines and the free D-Link bus,” Dallas Arts District Executive Director Catherine Cuellar said. “With the extension of the M-Line Trolley, we look forward to welcoming more residents and visitors to our urban, walkable neighborhood.”

DART was the project sponsor and recipient of $4.9 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation as part of the Urban Circulator Grant Program. The DART grant received a local match of $5 million from the North Central Texas Council of Governments.

The agency used the grant to fund construction of a 0.65-mile track extension along St. Paul and Federal streets from its previous terminus near the Dallas Museum of Art. The city of Dallas is building the related track extension along Olive Street.

Together, the projects form a reversing loop which, combined with the turntable near DART’s Cityplace/Uptown Station, allows MATA to operate streetcars that travel in only one direction. MATA will be able to put more of its heritage trolleys into service, which increases the ability to improve service levels in the future.

Residents of Uptown also have improved access to downtown.

“Increasingly, people in Uptown are using the M-Line as a viable commuting option,” MATA CEO Phil Cobb said. “For them, the extension will be a real service enhancement.”

The new track was designed to accommodate both heritage trolleys and modern streetcars; ultimately, it will connect to future extensions of the Dallas Streetcar system.

Posted in Service, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Rider Insider: Find things to do this weekend in Dallas-Fort Worth

• Ride DART Bus Route 11 or D-Link (Route 722) to the Dallas Cinco de Mayo Parade and Festival taking place on Jefferson Boulevard Saturday. Enjoy the showcase of cultural heritage with music, dance, food and activities that express and represent the spirit of the Cinco de Mayo – Battle of Puebla. Check out the car show or buy a parking space to tailgate. The parade and festival will take place on W. Jefferson Boulevard between Zang Boulevard and Polk Street. Information: dallascincodemayo.net.

• Ride the DART Rail Red Line to Spring Valley Station, then DART Bus Route 400 to Belt Line and Brookwood for the Cottonwood Art Festival this weekend at Cottonwood Park, 1321 W. Belt Line Rd. Admission is free. Now in its 45th year, the semi-annual Cottonwood Art Festival is a juried show. Jurors have selected over 240 artists from 800 submissions to exhibit their museum-quality work at the festival. Rated as one of the top art festivals in the United States, the prestigious show is the premier fine art event in North Texas. The artists’ works are available for purchase, as are food and beverages, and some children’s events require a fee. Cottonwood Art Festival is more than just the art. The festival also features top local bands performing the best in rock, country, jazz, blues, swing and folk. Check out the courtyard, sit in the shade by the lake, relax and enjoy the music. Spirits are also available in the courtyard. Information: www.cottonwoodartfestival.com.

Find more events like the 25th Annual Asian Festival or the Parkdale Trade Days on our Rider Insider Online Calendar or in the brochures found on DART light rail vehicles or buses.

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News bits: Construction begins at Richardson transit-oriented development

A rendering shows what the Northside development may look like.

A rendering shows what the Northside development may look like.

Construction has begun at a major mixed-use development in Richardson that may include a new DART station. The Northside development is northwest and adjacent to the University of Texas at Dallas campus in Richardson near the President George Bush Turnpike and North Central Expressway.

With approximately 370,000 square feet, Northside will offer 20,000 square feet of retail space and 600 beds through a mix of one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments and 16 two- and three-bedroom townhomes. A parking garage, surface parking lot and residential amenities, such as a pool and dog park, are also expected. The central “spine” of the development is planned to provide a park-like pedestrian mall that can be closed off to accommodate events.

This development is notable to DART because it could be the location of a future Cotton Belt Rail Corridor station or stop. This project is part of DART’s 2030 Transit System Plan.

The development is expected to be completed by Fall 2016. Read more about the development at the UTD News Center.

Developers Begin Construction of Northside [UTD News Center]

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Destination DART: Cute pooches, fun times at Dog Bowl 2015

Cute pooches, perfect weather, and completely free — do you need any other reasons to take a trip to the Dog Bowl presented by Friends of Fair Park from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. this Sunday at the Cotton Bowl at Fair Park?

This is the ninth year that the Cotton Bowl is turned over to the dogs for splash pools, pooch portraits, vendors, live music and more dog-related activities. Hop on the DART Green Line to take the easy trip to Fair Park or MLK, Jr. stations. Please note that non-service animals must be secured in appropriate, securely latched containers or cages.

Learn more at fairpark.org.

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Flashback Video: 90’s Mavs intro video gives nod to DART Rail

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Thanks to The Ticket personality TC Fleming for pointing out an interesting video from the 90’s that includes a very brief nod to the DART light rail at the 13 second mark.

(Correct, DART Rail service began in June of 1996.)

Let’s go, Mavs! Take game five (tonight @ 7 p.m.) and bring the playoff series back home!

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Featured Photo: Buses are more than for the birds

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Thanks to Instagram user bluesviolet for this shot of pigeons and DART buses at Ferris Plaza in downtown Dallas.

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Rider Insider: Find things to do this weekend in Dallas-Fort Worth

• Ride the DART Rail Green Line to Fair Park Station or MLK, Jr. Station this weekend for Earth Day Texas. The event is a free annual, family-friendly festival where exhibitors gather at Fair Park to celebrate spring and demonstrate how “green” lifestyle choices can lower your cost of living, create a healthier environment and improve your health. The heart of the festival is the Eco Expo where exhibitors will use their presence to promote their achievements as green leaders, and teach attendees how to take environmentally responsible action by better utilizing available resources, switching to eco-friendly products, or joining their organizations. And since nothing’s better for your health than fun, there will also be entertainment, food vendors, and, of course, plenty of people-watching. The festival is held at magnificent Fair Park. Information: earthdaytx.org.

• Ride the DART Rail Red Line to Galatyn Park Station Saturday for The Joy Luck Club at the Eisemann Center. Based on the best-selling book by Amy Tan, The Joy Luck Club is a timeless tale with universal relevance as it tells the story of four Mahjong playing mothers, all from different provinces in China, and their relationships with their children. It follows the paths of these immigrant women from China – and the relationships they have with their American born daughters, their hopes, fears, and tragic pasts. This classic mother-daughter story encompasses many universal themes: family, hope, love, sacrifice, strength, and wishes for a better life. Sponsored by DFW China Town. Performance is 8:00 p.m. at the Eisemann Center, 2351 Performance Dr. Information: www.eisemanncenter.com.

Find more events like the Downtown Carrollton Chocolate Walk or the Red Balloon Run & Rideon our Rider Insider Online Calendar or in the brochures found on DART light rail vehicles or buses.

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Ever dreamed of owning a DART bus? Now’s your chance

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DART is currently auctioning off hundreds of old buses that roamed the streets of the DART service area for the past decade-plus.

As we learned about earlier this month, DART is required by law to auction old buses to the highest bidder. This auction is for 1998 to 2002 year NOVA buses. These buses were phased out of regular DART service after we began replacing our fleet with compressed natural gas buses from NABI.

The bidders are usually other transit agencies, but don’t be surprised to see an old DART bus at the bottom of a lake!

What would you do with an old bus? Bus camper? Tailgate machine? Paintball obstacle? You’re at the mercy of your imagination for possible uses.

Start your bidding and learn more at LoneStarOnline.com. The online auction ends on May 3.

Posted in DART Events | 4 Comments

Celebrate Earth Day with a ride on one of DART’s clean energy vehicles

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Today is the 45th anniversary of Earth Day. The holiday, which began in 1970, has a mission to broaden, diversify and activate the environmental movement worldwide, through a combination of education, public policy, and consumer campaigns. For DART, it’s easy. Our 90-mile light rail system is powered by electricity, while our bus fleet is powered by compressed natural gas.

“Switching our bus fleet to compressed natural gas was a carefully weighed decision. But in the end, it was a no-brainer: Go with the fuel source that will promote clean air while saving taxpayers $120 million in fuel costs over the next 10 years,” said DART President/Executive Director Gary Thomas.

Compared with the alternatives, CNG offered both a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and fuel cost savings. And because it’s powered by electricity, DART’s light rail can make use of renewable energy resources like wind, solar and even hydro and produces less BTU’s per passenger mile than cars and other forms of transportation.

Sold yet? Leave the car at home and hop on a DART vehicle for a cleaner earth!

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DART Art: Bus painting adorns the walls of downtown Dallas cafe

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Munch on some fantastic eats and take in some great artwork and artifacts at the Metropolitan Cafe in downtown Dallas. One particular piece of art is a painting of Main Street that includes a DART bus rumbling down the street. It hangs above Metropolitan Cafe’s 100-year-old player piano. Take a short walk from St. Paul Station or ride any Main Street bus route to visit Metropolitan Cafe for yourself.

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