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Tuesday, September 01, 2009

DART Green Line to debut September 14

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The next phase of DART Rail will be the return of rail service to Deep Ellum, Baylor, Fair Park and South Dallas after an absence of more than 50 years and will bring new opportunities for development and offer new destinations to thousands of new passengers when the first four stations of the 20-station, 28-mile Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) Green Line open on September 14.

At one point up to four rail lines connected these communities and those around them with the greater Dallas area. Now the first three-mile section of the $1.8-billion Green Line will extend from Pearl Station on the east side of Downtown Dallas to Deep Ellum Station, Baylor University Medical Center Station, Fair Park Station (at the intersection of Parry and Exposition) and the MLK, Jr. Station, adjacent to the J. B. Jackson, Jr. Transit Center on the west side of Fair Park. Daily service to Victory Station at the American Airlines Center will also begin September 14.

The remaining 25 miles of the Green Line, scheduled to open in December 2010, will extend southeast from Downtown Dallas to Pleasant Grove and northwest from Victory Station to the Dallas Market Center, the Southwestern Medical District, Love Field Airport and downtown Farmers Branch and Carrollton.

The Green Line is the longest light rail project under construction in North America, requiring more than 2,200 construction workers daily. As of August 2009, more than 8,000,000 man-hours have been invested in the project. To promote safety during construction, nearly 9,000 workers have participated in DART's Construction Safety Education & Security program where workers receive specialized training in transit construction safety. DART developed the course in English and Spanish for use throughout the construction of the Green, Orange and Blue Lines.

In addition to local funding provided by the one-percent sales tax collected in DART's 13 member cities, major funding for the Green Line comes from a $700-million Full Funding Grant Agreement from the Federal Transit Administration. The FFGA was awarded in July 2006 at the start of Green Line construction. Construction was bolstered by the receipt of $78.4 million in funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in mid-2009. The funds are part of DART's FFGA.

Construction is also under way on the first nine miles of a new Orange Line that will branch from the Green Line in northwest Dallas to serve the city of Irving in 2011. The line will be extended to DFW International Airport by 2013. DART also is building a five-mile extension of the Blue Line from Garland to Rowlett that will open in 2012. The Orange Line is among the first projects slated to receive funds - more than $61 million - under the ARRA. Altogether, the Green, Orange and Blue line projects are expected to add 60,000 weekday passenger trips, nearly doubling ridership on the DART Rail System.

The Station Art & Design Program is a signature component of the DART Rail System. From their debut in 1996, DART Rail stations have each featured their own distinct look with colors and designs woven into the functional components of the station that reflect the community surrounding it. The stations themselves become works of art based on a theme established by neighborhood stakeholders. For example, Fair Park Station incorporates art deco elements reflecting the large collection of that style of architecture located there.

In addition, separate art works are commissioned for the station. On the Green Line, The Traveling Man, a three-part stainless steel sculpture series, was designed by a team of Deep Ellum artists to provide a new gateway to the neighborhood. This piece, along with others created for DART, represents one of the largest public art collections in the United States. Information on the station designs is available in the fall 2009 edition of InMotion.

Customers get a chance to "test ride" the new Green Line during Super Saturday activities at each of the four new stations on Saturday, September 12 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Special activities are designed to highlight the unique qualities of each station.

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