Yield to Wheels: DART reconfigures rail cars to better accommodate bikes, wheelchairs and more

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As part of a new pilot program, DART is reconfiguring the middle car on 10 light rail vehicles to better accommodate bicycles, wheelchairs, strollers, luggage and more.

We have eliminated some seating in the low-floor portion of the middle cars to give more space to those who need it most. This will help keep the aisles and doorways clear to allow individuals to move around more freely. It also will better suit travelers coming to and from DFW Airport and Dallas Love Field with rolling luggage in tow.

Expect to see this configuration appear on more vehicles across the service area in the coming weeks. Please share your feedback about the changes in the comments below or contact us at 214-979-1111. We will evaluate customer feedback and ridership and consider rolling out the design to the entire fleet after completion of the pilot program.

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DART to DFW: Meet Lisa Revell, human capital employee

“DART to DFW: Connecting you to the World” is a video series where you get to meet individuals around DART that are helping make the connection to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. Look for a new person featured every Tuesday until the opening of DFW Airport Station in August.

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Photos: DART 2014 Student Art Contest awards ceremony

This gallery contains 10 photos.

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News bits: Transportation secretary visits Garland, DART bus maker on week-long tour

U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx last week completed an eight-state tour calling for a replacement of the soon-to-expire MAP-21 transportation bill.

One of Foxx’s stops was the NABI Bus manufacturing facility in Anniston, Al. NABI is the manufacturer of DART’s newest generation of buses that were introduced last year.

Foxx wrapped up the bus tour with a news conference in Garland and spoke to the Dallas Regional Chamber.

After Foxx spoke to the Dallas chamber, DART president and CEO Gary Thomas said his agency is already studying how a federal shortfall could affect its bus and light-rail service. About $70 million of DART’s annual $460 million operating budget comes from federal funds.

The agency could use some cash reserves for a limited time. But a permanent loss in the federal revenue stream could force the agency to cut about 20 percent of its service. It could take a year to implement those changes.

During a speech in Birmingham, Al (video above), Foxx called on individuals from both sides of the aisle to contact congressman and senators to pass a long-term transportation solution and avoid short-term fixes.

Federal highway funding headed for cliff, U.S. transportation secretary warns [dallasnews.com]
Foxx Focuses on Urgent Need for Infrastructure Investment [Passenger Transport]
DOT Chief Foxx reiterates urgency to fix Highway Trust Fund during Alabama visit [Better Roads]

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Rider Insider: See the WCMX No Excuses Throwdown at the Irving Convention Center

Irving based RISE Adaptive Sports is hosting the WCMX No Excuses Throwdown Friday and Saturday at the Irving Convention Center. The event showcases some of the best Wheelchair Motocross, BMX and skateboarders in the nation.

The event will also have adaptive sports clinics so anyone with a physical disability can learn tricks from experts and experience a pro ramp course.

Spectators and participants can take DART straight to the event. All DART buses and trains meet Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements, offering wheelchair lifts and other features to accommodate riders with disabilities. The event is located at the Irving Convention Center, which has its own stop on the DART Rail Orange Line.

Get more information about the event at riseadaptivesports.org.

Find more events like the Dr Pepper Dallas Cup XXXV and Sorolla and America on our Rider Insider Online Calendar or in the brochures found on DART light rail vehicles or buses.

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DART begins light rail train testing to DFW Airport Station

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Test trains are running between Belt Line Station and the new DFW Airport Station at Terminal A.

Trains are traveling the five mile extension of the Orange Line to test train movement, the overhead electrical system, vehicle clearances, signals, equipment and more.

Those moving around DFW Airport should be cautious of trains going slowly and stopping frequently.

We are scheduled to begin direct service to DFW Airport Station on August 18.

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See Tracks? Think Train!: New public safety campaign promotes safety around rail tracks

PrintA new public safety campaign called “See Tracks? Think Train!” has launched from non-profit education group Operation Lifesaver. The campaign promotes safety for pedestrians and drivers around railroad tracks and crossings.

“Every day someone’s risky behavior around railroad tracks gets them injured or killed,” said OLI President and CEO Joyce Rose. “Our goal with this campaign is to make people think twice before doing something risky or unsafe. Ultimately it’s all about educating people and saving lives.”

The campaign features bilingual radio, print, billboard and television advertisements, including the one posted above.

Facts to consider:
• Every three hours a person or vehicle is hit by a train
• 908 were pedestrians hurt or killed while walking on or near railroad tracks in 2013 (a 7.7-percent increase from 2012)
• 1193 people were hurt or killed at rail grade crossings in 2013 (a 1.5-percent increase from 2012)
• 95 percent of all rail-related deaths involve drivers trying to beat a train or pedestrians trespassing on tracks

Partners in the campaign include the Federal Railroad Administration, Federal Transit Administration and the Association of American Railroads.

Learn more about the See Tracks? Think Trains! campaign here and click here for more DART-specific rail safety tips.

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DART to DFW: Meet Frank Crockett, Jr., bus operator

“DART to DFW: Connecting you to the World” is a video series where you get to meet individuals around DART that are helping make the connection to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. Look for a new person featured every Tuesday until the opening of DFW Airport Station in August.

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News bits: Fort Worth’s The T welcomes new president

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The T in Fort Worth welcomes a new president to the area. Today is the first day of work for Paul Ballard, who makes his way to Fort Worth after being the CEO of the Nashville MTA and Regional Transportation Authority of Middle Tennessee.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s Gordon Dickson traveled to Nashville to take a look at Ballard’s work and see what can be expected from it’s new president.

“You’re getting someone who has a high profile in the transit industry,” said Freddie O’Connell, who serves on the Nashville Metropolitan Transit Authority board. “If nothing else, he has taken Nashville from a city that had the conventional wisdom that there was not a public transportation system to one where it’s now one of the hottest topics around town.”

One of Ballard’s biggest projects in Fort Worth will be the TEX Rail from downtown Fort Worth to Grapevine and Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.

Projects such as TEX Rail are seen as key to getting people outside Loop 820 to use public transit.

Fort Worth residents have access to city bus service, the Trinity Railway Express, Denton County’s A-train and connections to DART in Dallas. Yet only about 1.2 percent of Fort Worth’s workers over age 16 — roughly 3,995 people — take public transportation to work, according to 2012 data from the U.S. Census American Community Survey.

Ballard can address that shortcoming, his supporters say, by getting commuter rail running and improving bus travel times. Because of the improvements he made in Nashville, the supporters said, transit ridership has nearly doubled since he arrived in 2002.

Read the complete write-up about Ballard at the link below.

Nashville to Fort Worth: The T’s new leader [Fort Worth Star-Telegram]

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Rider Insider: Find things to do this weekend in D/FW

• Ride the Trinity Railway Express (including special Sunday service) to Fort Worth for the Main Street Art Festival this weekend. The four-day festival spans more than 27 blocks from the Tarrant County Courthouse to the Fort Worth Convention Center while showcasing 213 hand-selected juried artists. As Fort Worth’s largest, free music festival, MAIN ST. features 120 distinct performances throughout the weekend, including local and national entertainment acts and musicians, performance artists, dancers and street performers. Culinary options from local restaurants, beer and wine tastings, family-friendly arts-and-crafts activities and more complete the scene, providing four days of excitement on the historic red bricks of Main Street and throughout the beautiful new Sundance Square Plaza. Information: www.mainstreetartsfest.org

• Ride the DART Rail Green Line to Trinity Mills Station, then DCTA A-train to Downtown Denton Transit Center for the Denton Rosebud FestivalThe annual festival is the City of Denton’s official Arbor Day event, a home and garden show, and community festival hosted by Keep Denton Beautiful, Inc. in April. Each year, the Redbud Festival features dozens of booths from local vendors offering tree and plant sales, gardening products, landscaping and home improvement items, children’s environmental exhibits and activities, and fun festival foods. Festival attendance is estimated between 3,000 and 4,000 people each year. Information: www.kdb.org.

• Ride the D-Link (Route 722) to Lake Cliff Park Saturday for the Oak Cliff Earth Day 2014Included in the day are the birds returning from the Blackland Prairie Raptor Center; alligators from John Bunker Sands Wetland Center; honey bees from Texas Honeybee Guild; rescue animals; plants; trees; and the Petting Zoo from The Gentle Zoo. Come one and come all to celebrate Oak Cliff Earth Day 2014 in beautiful, historic Lake Cliff Park. Information: www.oakcliffearthday.com.

Find more events like the Dallas International Film Festival and the Learn 2 Live Green event on our Rider Insider Online Calendar or in the brochures found on DART light rail vehicles or buses.

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