Artist of DART’s MLK Jr. Station Connects You to a Legacy

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Although the Martin Luther King, Jr. Federal Holiday comes around once a year, you can find that, even at a train station, King’s legacy lives on.

As you hop on board the Green Line and arrive at DART’s MLK, Jr. Station you’ll find scenes of another place and time.

Windscreens, featuring images from local photographer R.C. Hickman, showcase people and events of Southern Dallas during the civil rights era. In contrast, columns with black and white tiles echo African design elements.

We met up with Emmanuel Gillespie, artist of DART’s MLK, Jr. Station, and talked about how the station’s design connects you to a story about uniting people and communities.

“Storytelling is the root of the overall design,” Gillespie said. “The communities came together and gave their stories and shared their past with me.”

Gillespie said connections to Africa and African American heritage themed the station, which not only offers a way to get around town, but creates a pride in heritage, learning and seeing symbols and images of the past and present.

Once at the station, you can walk over to catch a bus via the “Walk of Respect,” a pathway showcasing symbols from African kuba cloths – a form of textile art, similar to tapestries – that represent unity, respect, wisdom and understanding.

Sculptor Steve Teeters created two 17-foot African “Talking Drums,” which you’ll notice as you leave the train station and head toward the “Walk of Respect.” Historically, these drums helped carry stories and long-distance communication.

As the station’s artwork communicates a theme of passing ideas from one generation to the next, it connects you to the ideas and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr., which live on today.

“As an African American, and an artist, I think it was important to bring a personal perspective to the overall design with the relationship to MLK,” Gillespie said. “I am humbled and honored to have been a part of this project.”

To learn more about how MLK, Jr. Stations connects you to places in and around Dallas, visit DART.org.

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Your Top 5 Questions About the Cotton Belt Answered

  1. So, What is The Cotton Belt?

The Cotton Belt is a 26-mile rail line stretching from Plano to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, and is part of DART’s Transit System Plan and Twenty-Year Financial Plan.  Originally owned by the St. Louis Southwestern Railway, the right-of-way was purchased by DART in 1990 to build a future regional rail line identified in the original 1983 plan that was the basis for DART. The time has come to finally make this project a reality. DART is working to complete the Cotton Belt by 2022 by taking advantage of a unique financing opportunity available to the agency.

So, how is regional rail different from light rail? Regional rail typically is designed for the commuter; it has fewer stops over longer distances and connects to major activity centers and transfer hubs.  But this rail line won’t be your grandmother’s lumbering locomotive.  Outfitted with a sleek exterior and interior, the Cotton Belt line will use new trains that include the latest in passenger comfort and amenities such as wi-fi, and advanced safety and technology features that meet the strictest air quality guidelines.

  1. What Benefits Will the Cotton Belt Bring to North Texas?

The Cotton Belt will connect seven cities and DFW Airport, opening up new options for mobility and access in this part of North Texas and bringing:

  • Economic Development Opportunities: The Cotton Belt will enhance access to new and growing developments such as CityLine and Addison Circle, while expanding opportunities in new areas, bringing new restaurants, shopping, services, employment, entertainment, and cultural opportunities to residents in the North Texas region.
  • Capacity and Connectivity Benefits: The Cotton Belt will be integrated into DART’s larger transit system. This new regional rail line will connect with DART’s Orange Line and Fort Worth’s TEX Rail line at DFW Airport, and with the Green Line and Red Line.  We all know North Texas’s population is growing.  Providing even more multi-modal mobility opportunities for the region’s residents will provide options to congested roadways and continue to support quality of life for individual communities and the region as a whole.
  • Workforce Development: Increased mobility to and from the University of Texas at Dallas will help connect more North Texas residents to education opportunities and give students greater access to work and internship opportunities. In turn, we will continue building the workforce needed to support the array of industries that already call our area home or would like to put down roots here.
  1. Who Supports the Cotton Belt?

Many North Texans have voiced their support for the Cotton Belt and their excitement about the opportunities it will bring to the entire region.

In Plano, city manager Bruce Glasscock has said that this rail line will solve many of our area’s growth and transportation capacity issues: “We can’t put enough concrete down and we can’t build enough roads to handle all that traffic.”

Richardson’s Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Bill Sproull has stated, “The Chamber has long advocated for the development of the Cotton Belt Line that connects Richardson and Plano…This is huge for our businesses and huge for our communities because it gives us this other transportation linkage we have long sought.”

A collaborative master plan between the University of Texas at Dallas, the city of Richardson and DART proposes a Cotton Belt Rail Line station, as well as additional housing, retail, office and park space in future phases. The recently opened Northside is the first phase of this transit-oriented development project. Dr. Calvin Jamison, UT Dallas vice president of Administration, said “This is the natural next step to making our University more connected to the local community and creating a destination that will further enhance the overall campus experience.”

  1. Where will DART find the funds for the Cotton Belt?

DART will be building the Cotton Belt in phases.  This mostly single-track commuter rail will take advantage of a new federal loan program offered by the Federal Railroad Administration called the Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing (RRIF).

  1. What is the current status of the Cotton Belt?

DART held community meetings about the Cotton Belt in August 2016, updating the community on the funding opportunity and the new schedule outlined in the DART Financial Plan.  In 2017, DART will re-initiate public meetings and outreach, gaining valuable feedback to advance the project design and continue environmental impact research.  Stay tuned to learn more about the Cotton Belt and other DART projects!

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Winter Weather: Rider Notifications

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When severe winter weather strikes, the more you know about your train or bus, the better prepared you’ll be to travel.

DART understands this and offers a free electronic subscription service for you to receive automatic email or SMS text message notifications about service updates and changes.

Stay in the know this winter and sign up to receive these notifications from a variety of topics and categories, such as:

  • DART Bus, Train and TRE Rider Alerts
  • Elevator and Escalator Service Status
  • News & Events
  • Community Meetings/Public Hearing Notices
  • Construction Alerts

To subscribe, visit public.govdelivery.com and register your email address or mobile phone number, then select the subjects for which you wish to receive up-to-date notifications. You can change or cancel your subscription at any time.

You also can view our Rider Alerts on DART.org as well as follow @DARTAletrs on Twitter to receive service updates.

When we know that one of our winter weather scenarios is necessary, we’ll place notices on DART.org as well as send them to local media outlets 6-8 hours prior to start of service on the day of implementation.

Thanks for keeping up with DART Daily’s Winter Weather series, and may DART continue to be your mode of travel this winter. For more information about our severe winter weather plans, visit DART.org.

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DART Invites K-12 Students to Show off Their Artistic Talent

DART is still accepting entries for its 2017 Student Art Contest. Students can compete to earn a spot for their design on DART buses and trains, plus earn cash and other prizes.

Contest Details:

  • The contest is open to public school, private school and home-schooled students in kindergarten through 12th grade.
  • Designs must be original work by the student and should illustrate the theme “The adventure starts here.”
  • Entry deadline is Feb.28, 2017. Students who submit their artwork early receive a special prize.
  • No group entries are allowed.
  • All entries must measure 11″ high by 17″ wide and be laid out horizontally.
  • Student’s name, grade level, school name, school address, teacher’s name, and teacher’s email address and phone number should be easily viewed on the back.

DART will notify winners by March 20. All artwork becomes the property of DART and may be used with appropriate credit to the artist. By entering, contestants consent to have their name and photograph appear as one of the winners.

A gallery of the previous art contest winners is available for viewing at dart.org/artcontest. For more information about the contest, contact Jessica D. Lennon, DART Education Outreach Manager, at jlennon@dart.org or call 214-749-2582.

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Winter Weather: GoPass

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It’s hard to purchase a transit pass when your fingers are numb.

Good thing DART makes it easy to buy your tickets this winter with the GoPass app.
Keep your hands warm and use the app to purchase your tickets within the coziness of the indoors. The app is free through the Google Play store or the App Store.

How to use GoPass:

  • Download the app and register your phone number in a one-time setup.
  • Activate your ticket before boarding the bus or train. Fares include standard passes, reduced passes and peak/off-peak passes. When you buy your ticket, select the agency where you begin your trip.
  • Currently, only senior, child and disabled reduced fares/passes are available through the GoPass app. Remember to show an applicable separate valid ID when it’s time to present your pass.

Special Note: High school and college/trade school reduced passes are not available in the GoPass app at this time. You can purchase these ticket types at any DART Rail Station from a ticket vending machine or from a bus operator (exact change required on a bus).

Stay tuned to DART Daily’s Winter Weather series to learn more about transit travel this winter. For more information about our severe winter weather plans, visit DART.org.

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Not on our System

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More than 20 million men, women and children around the world are victims of human trafficking.

While January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, and today Jan 11, is National Day of Human Trafficking Awareness, DART’s part to fight this illicit activity is ongoing.

In 2013, DART officials signed the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Transportation Leaders Against Human Trafficking initiative. Since 2014, our police officers, fare enforcement officers, and bus and rail operators have received training on how to spot and report possible indicators of human trafficking.

“It’s so important to educate people on human trafficking because many don’t know it is a problem in this country,” Brittney M. Farr, Esq., DART’s local and regional relations manager said. “Each year we hold at least a dozen human trafficking training and retraining sessions to remind our front line employees what signs to look for and reemphasize the important role they play in making our service area safer for everyone.”

The agency continues to highlight the issue with informational posters on our buses and trains, as well as collaborates with transportation entities to help the public recognize and report potential trafficking.

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Winter Weather: Scenario Two

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If you’ve been following our Winter Weather series, you’ve gained tips on traveling wisely this season and are familiar with one of DART’s severe winter weather plans.

We understand that cold temperatures can mean unpredictable weather, and that having a backup plan is an important part of traveling safely. We’ve developed a second winter weather plan, Scenario Two, to help you do just that.

Scenario Two: No Rail — Bus Service Only

Scenario Two assumes a more severe winter storm than Scenario One and involves a complete shutdown of DART Rail with only bus service available.

In this scenario, DART bus routes will operate on normal Saturday schedules with limited service added on express routes 206, 208, 210, 221, 278, 283 and local routes 63, 362 and 509. View the Park & Ride locations served by these bus routes.

Fourteen shuttle routes will be in operation:

  • Buses to and from outside of Downtown Dallas will serve either West End or Pearl/Arts District stations.
  • Downtown Circulator Route 960 will serve these stations along with Akard and St. Paul stations.
  • Passengers should look for the red “Rail Disruption” bus stop sign located near each station to board a shuttle bus.

Please note that some stations are bypassed. Choose the route that serves your destination.

Route

Stations Served

947

West End, Bachman, Walnut Hill/Denton, Royal Lane, Farmers Branch

948

West End, Farmers Branch, Downtown Carrollton, Trinity Mills, North Carrollton/Frankford

949

West End, Bachman, University of Dallas, Las Colinas Urban Center, Irving Convention Center, North Lake College, Belt Line, DFW Airport

950

West End, 8th & Corinth, Dallas Zoo, Tyler/Vernon, Hampton, Westmoreland

951

West End, 8th & Corinth, Morrell, Illinois, Kiest, VA Medical Center, Ledbetter, Camp Wisdom, UNT Dallas

952

Pearl/Arts District, LBJ/Skillman, Forest/Jupiter, Downtown Garland, Downtown Rowlett

953

Pearl/Arts District, LBJ/Central, Spring Valley, Arapaho Center, Galatyn Park, Bush Turnpike, Downtown Plano, Parker Road

954

Pearl/Arts District, Lawnview, Lake June, Buckner

955

West End, Victory, Market Center, Southwestern Medical District/Parkland, Inwood/Love Field, Burbank, Bachman

956

West End, Union, Convention Center, Cedars, 8th & Corinth

957

Pearl/Arts District, Cityplace/Uptown, Mockingbird, White Rock, Lake Highlands, LBJ/Skillman

958

Pearl/Arts District, Mockingbird, Lovers Lane, Park Lane, Walnut Hill, Forest Lane, LBJ/Central

959

Pearl/Arts District, Deep Ellum, Baylor University Medical Center, Fair Park, MLK, Jr., Hatcher, Lawnview

960

West End, Akard, St. Paul, Pearl/Arts District

Keep in mind that during severe weather, the Trinity Railway Express (TRE) may experience delays.

When we know a scenario is necessary, we’ll place notices on DART.org as well as send them to local media outlets 6-8 hours prior to start of service on the day of implementation. Please keep this information handy during the winter season, as it contains important information regarding your daily commute.

Continue to stay tuned to DART Daily’s Winter Weather series to learn more about transit travel this winter. For more information about our severe weather plans, visit DART.org.

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Winter Weather: Scenario One

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Winter weather that’s more like Duluth than Dallas delivers havoc on every mode of travel.

DART wants to make sure you’re prepared for what the weather may bring this winter and has created two operating scenarios for bus and rail. We’ll go over the first one below. Stay tuned for Scenario Two.

Scenario One: Partial Rail Shutdown

Scenario One involves a partial shutdown of DART Rail with limited bus service. Trains will operate roughly within the LBJ Loop between the following stations:

  • Red Line: LBJ/Central – 8th & Corinth
  • Blue Line: LBJ/Skillman – 8th & Corinth
  • Green Line: Farmers Branch – Lawnview
  • Orange Line: Irving Convention Center – LBJ/Central

DART bus routes will operate on normal Saturday schedules with limited service added on express routes 206, 208, 210, 221, 278, 283 and local routes 63, 362 and 509. View the Park & Ride locations these bus routes serve.

When you’re at a rail station during Scenario One, keep an eye out for the red “Rail Disruption” bus stop sign located near each station, so you’ll know to board a shuttle bus. The following shuttle bus routes will operate between these stations:

Route

Stations Served

948

Farmers Branch, Downtown Carrollton, Trinity Mills, North Carrollton/Frankford

949

Irving Convention Center, North Lake College, Belt Line, DFW Airport

950

8th & Corinth, Dallas Zoo, Tyler/Vernon, Hampton, Westmoreland

951

8th & Corinth, Morrell, Illinois, Kiest, VA Medical Center, Ledbetter, Camp Wisdom, UNT Dallas

952

LBJ/Skillman, Forest/Jupiter, Downtown Garland, Downtown Rowlett

953

LBJ/Central, Spring Valley, Arapaho Center, Galatyn Park, Bush Turnpike, Downtown Plano, Parker Road

954

Lawnview, Lake June, Buckner

As a special note, keep in mind that during severe weather, the Trinity Railway Express (TRE) may experience delays.

When we know a scenario is necessary, we’ll place notices on DART.org as well as send them to local media outlets 6-8 hours prior to start of service on the day of implementation. Please keep this information handy during the winter season, as it contains important information regarding your daily commute.

Stay tuned to DART Daily’s Winter Weather series to learn more about transit travel this winter. For more information about our severe winter weather plans, visit DART.org.

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Winter Weather: Preparedness

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DART wants to prepare you for safe travel this winter — no matter what the weather brings.

We’re always working to find better ways to take care of our customers. The severe weather plans we’ve developed over the past few years are good examples.

But, we need your help when the weather is more like northern Michigan than North Texas. Follow these tips to understand these plans and prepare for how a winter storm might alter your travel:

1. DART has two severe winter weather plans
These two scenarios deliver the widest range of service and restore full operations sooner. The plans also help riders limit the risk of spending long periods of time on out-of-service vehicles while DART staffers work to rescue them and help them continue their trips.

2. Download the GoPass app to make purchasing a ticket easy
Instead of purchasing your transit passes outside through the Ticket Vending Machines (TVM), buy your tickets from the warmth of the indoors with the GoPass app. The app is free through the Google Play store or the App Store.

3. Stay in the know of DART’s rider notifications and alerts
Customers can sign up for email and text notifications of all service disruptions, including winter weather, through DART.org and @DARTalerts on Twitter.

Stay tuned to DART Daily’s Winter Weather series to explore these tips in detail.

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The Road Ahead: 2 Projects, 1 Goal


2017 will be an exciting year for DART and all the cities and residents that are part of the DART system. With several transit projects in the works and on the horizon, we will be working to ensure taxpayer dollars and federal funding combine to bring the greatest benefit to everyone affected.

Imagine: It’s the big Friday night game and there are only 15 seconds left in the fourth quarter.  Your team needs one more touchdown to bring home a win.  The best play would be to throw a pass — if you’re on the 50-yard line. If your team is positioned on the 1-yard line, your likeliest path to victory would be to run the ball. The end-goal (pun intended!) is the same, but the way you get there is strategically different.

DART approaches funding for each Capital Investment Project like a new football play.  The nature of each project determines what federal program we tap for the funds we need to build a transit solution. 

First up in the New Year: D2 — The time may not feel short now, but DART has just six months — until June 2017 — to submit a new, subway-based Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA) for the second downtown rail alignment (D2). That means completing research, gathering community input, assessing funding options, and building a consensus around the route that best meets the needs of the city, the riders, and the businesses and residential areas affected by D2.

On deck for DART are additional transit projects like the Cotton Belt, platform extensions, and the downtown Dallas streetcar.  The Cotton Belt will be a 26-mile rail commuter rail adding new rail to Addison and improving connections in Plano, Richardson, Dallas, Carrollton and Irving.  This transit project will open up the region, giving access to DFW Airport and the University of Texas at Dallas.

It is clear DART has a lot going on in the New Year, but our goals remain the same for every Capital Investment Project: providing affordable, flexible mobility; stimulating economic development; uniting communities and our region; and improving the quality of life for all who live here now and in the future.

Never Either/Or

DART knows each Capital Investment Project comes with its own set of benefits and meets a specific set of needs within the larger system. That’s why we approach seeking funds for these projects in a holistic manner and consider each project as one piece of the larger DART puzzle. Monies for these projects come from different sources, so we don’t have to sacrifice one project like D2 to be able to build another project like the Cotton Belt. D2 qualifies for Core Capacity federal funding, but the Cotton Belt is a not a Core Capacity project, and therefore does not qualify for this specific federal funding program. DART is planning to use a low-interest loan from the Federal Railroad Administration to support the Cotton Belt project.

Each Project Is Important

Even though each transit project has an individual purpose, each of them contributes to achieving a single goal: providing North Texas with a transit system that moves our region forward in the most flexible, efficient way possible.

Having a variety of funding mechanisms available to support the variety of transit projects required for our system’s diverse transportation needs means DART can run the funding play that is most appropriate for each project, rather than having only one funding play that must cover every project. This flexibility enables DART to plan and budget multiple projects over multiple years, serving North Texas now and in the future.

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