Dallas Illustrator Brings #DARTPeople to Life

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“DARTpeople 1” by Gustavo Zapata

Four men standing at the back of a DART train car may look unremarkable, but to Dallas Illustrator Gustavo Zapata, the scene creates a perfect composition developing right before his eyes. He quickly sketches them.

Zapata started drawing at a young age in his hometown of Medellín, Colombia. Mountain valleys, lush trees and multi-colored buildings backdropped Zapata’s childhood, and, along with his family, fueled Zapata’s bent toward creativity.

“I think my enjoyment for drawing is sort of a legacy from my family, and it’s part of my decision to choose a career in illustration,” Zapata said.

Now living in North Texas, Zapata works as the head of art at Dieste, Inc., an advertising and marketing firm in Downtown Dallas. He rides the Red and Orange lines to and from Plano and Dallas, and uses the people he sees on his DART commute as inspiration for his art.

“I can see Dallas’ melting pot when I ride,” he said. “In the morning, in the evening and at night, it’s like looking at a photograph of the region. It’s like watching a documentary in silence about the richness of the culture.”

Whether it’s sketching a student gazing out the window as the sunlight hits his face or two women conversing or a businessman typing away on his laptop, Zapata said creating a successful illustration on DART means finding people who let their activities absorb them.

“It’s wonderful when you get the perfect scene,” he said.

You can find Zapata’s #DARTpeople illustrations on his Instagram page, @zdezapata, where he’s gained more than 1,000 followers.

Zapata said he considers himself an old-school art director. Before executing a project, he first sketches, explores and crosses some lines on paper or in his sketchbook to develop an idea. As he created these illustrations, he soon developed a process for adding definition, lighting and color to his drawings.

After finding a subject on board his commute and quickly capturing the scene in his sketchbook, the next phase of Zapata’s process involves adding definition to each piece, using tracing paper to trace over the sketch with black ink.  He then scans those ink tracings and uses computer design software to add color, lighting and life to his drawings.

“I enjoy each moment of the process,” he said.


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DART to the 4th Annual Sunset Santa 5K & Festival

Enjoy a little holiday cheer under the sun at the Sunset Santa 5K & Festival December 9 from 3:30-7 p.m. in Downtown Rowlett. Hop on the Blue Line to Downtown Rowlett Station and don’t miss out on the fun.

The 5K race kicks off at 4:30 pm, and the festival continues past sunset until 7:00 pm.

Immediately following the 5K race, you can shop on Main Street. Shopkeepers plan to offer One Day Deals to runners. Simply shop in their store wearing your race shirt or BIB and receive their discounted offer.

More info at: http://www.rowlettchamber.com/sunset-santa-5k\

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Behind the Tracks: How we make trains good neighbors

DART’s network of transit options is intended to not only increase mobility, access and economic development, but also seamlessly fit in the existing environment as well. That’s one of the reasons why we identify a project’s potential impacts or issues during the project development process and then identify ways to reduce those impacts through mitigation.

For the Cotton Belt, we’re diving into three main impacts (noise, vibration, and visual) that DART can look to mitigate in the project development process.

Taking measures to be a better neighbor

DART takes the following steps to identify areas where noise from the Cotton Belt could be an issue. First, we identify locations of sensitive uses (including places of worship, homes, parks, etc.). Then we measure existing noise levels and estimate the new potential noise level with the transit project. Finally, we propose mitigation measures to lessen the new noise level.

DART implements measures that seek to avoid or lessen impacts of our transit projects in five different ways:

  1. Avoid: Don’t take a certain action to prevent the impact altogether
  2. Minimize: Limit the degree or magnitude of the action to minimize the potential impact
  3. Rectify: Repair, rehabilitate, or restore the surrounding environment after completion of project
  4. Reduce or eliminate: Use maintenance operations to reduce the impact over time
  5. Compensate: Replace or provide different resources to compensate for potential impacts

How loud is the Cotton Belt?

The proposed Cotton Belt vehicle, running at 50 miles per hour, causes a momentary maximum noise level of 79 dBA as it passes at a distance of 50 feet, or about the same amount of noise that comes from your neighbor’s lawn mower next door. When the Cotton Belt is still, the noise generated is about the same as standing three feet from a clothes washer.

Check out the graph below to see the current noise level of familiar transit systems, like the TRE or the DART Light Rail and City Buses to see how the Cotton Belt stacks up in terms of noise impact.

How engineering along with operations can make trains better neighbors

DART can implement a number of techniques to minimize noise of normal train operations. Techniques include:

  1. Insulating power generators in internal train compartments
  2. Conducting frequent vehicle and track maintenance
  3. Establishing quiet zones where train horns are not routinely sounded
  4. Lowering the sound in volume-warning devices, such as horns and bells, at crossings in sensitive locations
  5. Installing noise walls to create sound barriers and incorporating designs to reduce noise at rail crossings

Being a Good Neighbor Means Being a Quiet Neighbor

We aim to make transit a part of our neighborhoods by tying in local art, to involving the public in the design process, and making sure we work to ease any potential disruptions new transit projects can cause on the surrounding landscape. Guided by the Federal Transit Administration and DART Mitigation Policy, we are making sure to make the Cotton Belt both a quiet neighbor and an effective transit solution for all of North Texas!

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DART: Your Ride This Weekend


Wintertime is here, and the entertainment offerings are accordingly cheerful. Holiday celebrations abound, and it’s a great weekend to discover the cool new exhibit at the Perot, too.

Thursday, Dec. 7

Christmas on the Square in Garland’s Historic Downtown Square will be full of twinkling lights and music this evening. Taking place at Sixth and Main streets, the event features a tree lighting, photos with Santa, snow hills, holiday foods, children’s crafts – you name it. It’s also free! Nightly light shows synchronized with music will continue at the square each evening through New Year’s Day. It’s all near Downtown Garland Station.

Friday, Dec. 8

The Rowlett Holiday Parade – A Hometown Celebration is a community celebration on Main Street that’s full of music and dance. The parade will begin at Herfurth Park – a short walk from Downtown Rowlett Station — make its way through Downtown Rowlett, and finish up at the Rowlett Community Centre, where more fun holiday activities await.

Saturday, Dec. 9

The City of Garland presents several free movies throughout the year at the Plaza Theatre in Downtown Garland – no tickets required. Tonight, enjoy Will Ferrell in the modern comedy classic Elf. Concessions are only $2 each. The theater is a few blocks from Downtown Garland Station.

Discovery Days, the Perot Museum of Nature and Science’s free-with-admission, family-oriented educational program, today celebrates the museum’s magnificent traveling exhibition — Journey Into Space. There will be Planetarium Shows, Celestial Stories with the Dallas Children’s Theater, kids’ activities including an Astronaut Training Camp, and lots more. The museum is a three-walk block from Akard Station.

Today and Sunday are the 27th annual celebration of KwanzaaFest at the Automobile Building in Fair Park. At the free event, you can shop for the holiday season, get free health screenings and have your children’s teeth and health checked. The festival is accessible via Fair Park Station.

Sunday, Dec 10

Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, presented by Dallas Summer Musicals, gets its last performance of the run at Fair Park’s Music Hall. This must-see classic gets a lavish new production and tells the story of a song-and-dance team putting on a show in a magical Vermont inn. There’s dancing, laughter, romance and the incomparable tunes of one of history’s greatest song smiths. The venue is steps from Fair Park Station.

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Do Your Part to ‘Stuff a Bus’

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Volunteers organize donations during DART’s 2016 ‘Stuff a Bus’ event at Mockingbird Station.

Help DART “Stuff a Bus” and support hundreds of service area residents with donations of adult socks, blankets, canned food and unwrapped toys for children.

Drop off donations to the 40-foot long DART “Stuff a Bus” in the parking lot at Mockingbird Station, 5465 E. Mockingbird Lane, Friday, Dec. 8, from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m.

KKDA-FM ‘K-104’ will once again have crews broadcasting live at the event cosponsored by ‘Smooth R&B 105.7’ KRNB-FM.

Each year, DART bus operators and police officers put on the event, which combines two employee-sponsored drives, Santa Cops and Comforting of the Souls, to fill a bus with donations.

New adult socks and blankets go to area nursing homes while toys and food help families in need.

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Check Out Our Winter Issue of Inmotion


Our seasonal publication, Inmotion, gives you insight on the ways DART keeps you moving.

Ever wondered how the agency works to keep its system clean, safe and secure or how DART supports the next generation of transportation leaders? Wonder no more.

Here are just a few things you’ll learn about in our latest issue:

  • DART is launching an awareness campaign designed to encourage safe and courteous behavior.
  • DART collaborates with UTA for Transportation Leadership Academy.
  • DART is using the power of smartphones and a new app (DART Say Something) to make it easier for transit customers to report crime or suspicious behavior to DART Police.

Check it out for yourself at  dart.org.

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25 Days of DART!

We hear those sleigh bells jingling here in North Texas and it’s putting all of us in the holiday spirit!

Celebrate the season with DART as we post a special surprise on DART’s Facebook page and Twitter page every day until the holidays.

We’ll be sharing DART trivia, North Texas holiday traditions, and season greetings from the DART team.

So deck the halls with boughs of holly and stay tuned to celebrate the season with 25 Days of DART!


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DART is Your Ride to Holiday Activities

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With holiday music, colorful lights and festive decorations everywhere you go, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in North Texas. Create lasting memories at these family-friendly DARTable activities: 

Dickens in Downtown Plano returns on Dec. 1. Produced by the city of Plano, the event is nestled in the heart of the Downtown Plano Arts District. Live entertainment, delicious food, a variety of attractions, and a visit from Santa allow for everyone in the family to have something to enjoy. Try out the snow tubing hill, carriage rides, car show and dueling ice sculptors. sculpting. There will be three stages with live music and entertainment. The annual tree lighting is at 7 p.m. Take DART’s Red Line to Downtown Plano Station.

Each year, the Dallas Holiday Parade brings holiday magic and memories to the streets of Downtown Dallas. As one of the largest parades in the United States, this Dallas holiday tradition spans two generations of families while attracting a crowd of up to 500,000 spectators. The 30th annual Dallas Holiday Parade will march through the streets of Downtown Dallas Dec. 2, at 10 a.m. This year’s parade will feature spirited marching bands, famous characters, magical holiday floats, larger-than-life balloons and much more. Take any of DART’s four rail lines to St. Paul, Akard or West End stations.

On Dec. 2, grab your stockings and your Santa hats for Carrollton’s Santa on the Square, a fun and festive event including the Kid’s Fun Run. The Kid’s Fun Run will have your little ones running with glee as they chase Santa through the streets of Historic Downtown Carrollton. Parents are encouraged and welcome to participate in the Kid’s Fun Run with their registered children. Wagons and strollers are also allowed. All participants of the run will receive a special gift from Santa upon completion, and the opportunity for early access to photos with Santa after the run. Stick around for the free event which includes a picture with the big guy inside the gazebo and a chance to see a live reindeer. Take DART’s Green Line to Downtown Carrollton Station.

The Farmers Branch Christmas Tree Lighting is set for Dec. 2 in the Farmers Branch Historical Park. Gates open at 4 p.m. and admission is free. The night is filled with a visit from Santa, an amazing low-level firework show, fun activities for the children, tours inside the historical structures (that are appropriately decorated to their respected years Christmas’), and of course some hot chocolate and cookies to keep you warm. Take DART’s Green Line to Farmers Branch Station.

The Irving Holiday Extravaganza is a two-part event, featuring a community parade through the Heritage District followed by a tree lighting ceremony outside of Irving City Hall. The fun will begin Dec. 2, at 4 p.m. when the parade winds through the streets of downtown Irving, featuring floats, bands and community organizations. The theme for the 2017 parade will be “Christmas Movies and Soundtracks.” Immediately following the parade, head to Irving City Hall for the official lighting of the city of Irving’s tree. Take the Trinity Railway Express to Downtown Irving/Heritage Crossing Station.

The 45th Annual Richardson Christmas Parade benefiting the Network of Community Ministries is Dec. 2. This year’s parade theme is Magical, Musical Christmas! Individuals and groups are encouraged to represent this theme with their costumes, vehicles and floats. The parade will begin at 9 a.m. and will travel north from the Richardson Square shopping center on Plano Road to Apollo Road and will disband at the ball field parking lot of Huffhines Park. Take DART Bus Route 400 to Belt Line Road at Plano Road.

The city of Richardson also is hosting Santa’s Village Dec. 2-17. This tiny town of 16 holiday dwellings on the north side of City Hall is a holiday tradition for families from Richardson and beyond. Each colorful building offers children a fun activity and even a visit with Santa Claus! Attendees can also enjoy live performances, holiday photo ops and warm up with a cup of hot chocolate or a snack. Santa’s Village is free and open to the public on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights: Dec. 2-3, Dec. 8-10 and Dec. 15-17. (Hometown Thursdays, Dec. 7 and 14, are reserved for Richardson Residents and require a free ticket for entry). Take DART Red Line to Arapaho Center Station then DART Bus Route 361.

The DFW Tamale Festival and Christmas Market is back for its third year Dec. 2, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Dallas Farmers Market. There will be Christmas music for everyone, plus you can celebrate the Texas tradition of tamale making. It’s the perfect time to start your gift shopping at the Christmas Market! This year, a skating rink is being added and there will be a way for visitors to help Dallas Habitat for Humanity. There will be local vendors, seasonal drinks, a kid zone, delicious tamales, carolers and pictures taken with Santa. Take D-Link (Route 722).

Celebrate the holiday spirit at Klyde Warren Park with Nissan’s Winter Wonderlights Holiday Show & Tree Lighting Dec. 2. Enjoy big band classics, crafts, letters to Santa and more. Activities throughout the day will include: Free photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus, holiday kids’ crafts, a mailbox to send letters to Santa, holiday music and much more. The celebration culminates with a holiday show at 5:30 p.m. and the lighting of the tree at 6 p.m. (times subject to change.) Take DART’s Red, Blue, Green or Orange line to St. Paul Station, then the M-Line Trolley.

Rowlett Main Street Fest is Dec. 2 at Pecan Grove Park, from 4-7 p.m. Come on out and join your friends, family and community for a night full of fun that will also include a Tree Lighting Ceremony featuring the Trail of Trees. What better way to kick off the holiday season than with a fun filled night of live music and a wide variety of activities that include photos with non-other than Santa ($5), letter-writing to Santa, festival style foods, and more. The tree lighting is at 6 p.m. Take DART Blue Line to Downtown Rowlett Station and walk about a mile.

On Dec. 8, enjoy the Rowlett Holiday Paradea hometown celebration on Main Street at dusk. Celebrate the spirit of Rowlett with family and friends as the community comes to life with music and dance during a tribute to the holiday season. The parade will begin in Downtown Rowlett and finish up at the Rowlett Community Centre for additional fun holiday activities. Take DART’s Blue Line to Downtown Rowlett Station.

Celebrate the holidays at Christmas on the Square Dec. 7, from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. at Garland’s Historic Downtown Square. Head over to Sixth and Main streets for snow hills, photos with Santa, holiday foods, children’s crafts, pet adoptions and much more. Santa Claus will assist with the tree lighting at 7 p.m. and then spend the evening visiting with children about their holiday wishes. Take DART’s Blue Line to Downtown Garland Station.

‘Tis the season to be jolly at Holly Jolly Holidays at Reunion. On select dates and times throughout December, Santa and his elves are spreading holiday cheer with weekly trips to the Reunion Tower GeO-Deck. Guests can enjoy photos with Santa, a kid’s craft and tasty treats from Cloud Nine Café! Furry friends from the Dallas Zoo are spreading holiday cheer 470 feet in the air! The Animal Adventures team will showcase a mixture of mammals, birds and reptiles for up-close experiences for guests of all ages to enjoy. Take DART Red or Blue Line to Union Station.

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A Path to 2040

A multi-modal transit system that provides mobility, helps shape land use growth, takes advantage of technological advancements and covers more than 700 square miles of North Texas requires detailed short-term and long-term planning.

That’s exactly why DART has developed a series of Transit System Plans over the years to provide the blueprint for DART’s growth and expansion. The plan is regularly updated to meet our region’s changing needs.. Planners, stakeholders, the public, and transit professionals all work together to create a vision for DART’s transit system and how it can better serve North Texans and the region.

Why a System Plan?

Imagine the planning that goes into running the Dallas Marathon. No matter how skilled of an athlete you may be, most folks aren’t able to wake up and run 26.2 miles without any form of preparation. However, with the right training schedule, nutrition, gear, and motivation, a person may successfully cross running a marathon off his or her bucket list.

Similarly, DART must look forward to adapt, change, and expand our transit services to meet the mobility needs of our region. Just like a marathon, it would be almost impossible to successfully run a multi-modal transit system without the right kind of preparation. That’s why DART always looks to the future to outline the steps we need to deliver the best transit service.

A Service Plan Versus a System Plan

System Plan Service Plan
The System Plan uses up-to-date forecasts on demographics, growth patterns, and travel demands to create a guide for future capital and operating programs. The Service Plan was the original 1983 vision and is amended regularly to outline specific characteristics of and improvements to the transit system.

The Transit System Plan is the long-range element of the DART Service Plan. The DART Transit System Plan builds upon and refines the original plan from 1983, taking into account the changing needs of the region and then programming projects, programs and services within the bounds of the DART 20-Year Financial Plan.

Creating and submitting the Transit System Plan for approval by the DART Board is an iterative process that includes developing a draft plan for review by DART cities, the public and stakeholders.  After considering comments and evaluating different approaches, the DART Board approves a plan to serve as the guide for all forms of transit by 2040, including rail, bus, paratransit, and innovative services that may entail partnerships with private companies. The Transit System Plan goes beyond transit, highlighting how first- and last-mile solutions can benefit our system and how transit-oriented land use developments can enhance our region’s quality of life.

What Do We Plan For?

Our region is continually changing. Analyzing our current transit system periodically will help account for changes in population, growing employment centers, areas of new development, and changing technology which will affect the way we provide service and how our customers get information and make mobility decisions.

A transit system best serves a region when it can be flexible and adapt to changing transit needs. This plan allows us to allocate funds to improve, streamline, and optimize all forms of DART transit so our region can continue to grow and prosper.

A Path to 2040

We know that there is a lot of information that goes into the 2040 Transit System Plan. That’s why we’re launching a new series, A Path to 2040, dedicated to taking a deeper dive into how we are developing the draft 2040 Transit System Plan, and explaining the path forward for DART and how we will continue to be an integral part of the fabric of North Texas.

Have questions or comments about the 2040 Transit System Plan, email: [email protected].

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DART: The Best Way to the Big Run

Since its modest inception 1971 – when 61 runners crossed the finish line – the BMW Dallas Marathon has become one of the premier marathons in the country. Today, the Boston-qualifying event draws many thousands of participants and spectators. And whether you’re taking on the 26.2-mile endurance challenge or cheering the runners on, DART’s your ticket to the fun.

A new course has been selected to highlight the beauty and vibrancy of the city. Beginning and ending at downtown’s City Hall Plaza, Dallas’ largest single-day sporting event is within blocks of both Convention Center and Akard stations. From there, runners will wind through some of the city’s most scenic neighborhoods and circle White Rock Lake. Along the way, exciting cheer stations and on-course entertainment create an energetic experience for athletes and spectators alike.

In addition to the marathon, there’s a half-marathon, a marathon relay, and other events. Proceeds benefit Dallas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children. A 5K and 10K will take place on Saturday, Dec. 9, with the marathon to follow on Sunday, December 10. Olympians Shalane Flanagan and Meb Keflezighi will be on hand during race weekend. https://www.bmwdallasmarathon.com/

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