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DART Green Line Preview

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By Michelle London Bell

Completion of the Green Line from Buckner Boulevard and Elam Road in southeast Dallas to Frankford Road in Carrollton heralds a new era of rail transportation for DART passengers. The first section of the Green Line opened September 2009 and connects the Pearl Station on the east side of Downtown Dallas to MLK, Jr. Station on the west side of Fair Park.

Monday marked the opening of the final 24 miles and 15 new stations along a 28-mile stretch called the Green Line – bringing the whole system together with “increased connection”.  What’s even more significant is that this stretch is more expansive than the original light rail opening in 1996.

Further, this route brings rail service to a larger service area previously blanketed by bus routes and hectic traffic.   It is deemed to be progressive for DART, bringing a “renewed focus and renewed vigor to communities around these stations,” cited a DART representative.  “There’s a sense that it’s a first of something,” somewhat of a green light for neighboring developments in these areas.

The platform, fencing, canopies, column platting, and paving of the Green Line is representative of each community along the route.  Unique, intrinsic design and artwork adorn each station.  “DART brought together community committees who contributed to the discussion on themes reflecting the unique history of each area as gateways into the community where you arrive,” says DART Media Representative.  Artists featured at each station include:

  • Leticia Huerta (Buckner)
  • Viola Delgado (Lake June)
  • Vicki Meek (Hatcher)
  • Emmanuel Gillespie (MLK, Jr.)
  • Brad and Diana Goldberg (Fair Park)
  • Pamela Nelson (Victory)
  • Michael Whitehead (Market Center)
  • Susan Kae Grant (Parkland)
  • Philip Lamb (Bachman)
  • Lisa Ehrich (Farmers Branch)
  • James Michael Starr (Downtown Carrollton)

The public art installations were created in mosaic tile, steel, bronze, brick pavers, glass and mixed-media.  The overarching theme from Buckner Boulevard at Elam Road to Trinity Mills shows a progression in society from Native American-influenced, to agrarian and finally, industrialization.

This is a critical time for DART, with ridership at historic lows due to the declining economy and tough climate. “There are [approximately] 60,000 people who ride daily; [and DART] would like to potentially add another 30,000 riders within a year’s [timeframe],” says President/Executive Director Gary Thomas.  Not only have improvements been made to increase connection, which survey respondents mentioned as an opposition to riding DART rail, but efficiency is another achievement marked by DART. One representative calls it the biggest service improvement change ever done by the organization, affecting 130 bus routes.

Completion of this rail route was bolstered by receipt of $78.4 million in funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) in 2009.  “The Green Line changes everything for our customers, [with] seamless access to jobs at Baylor, Downtown, the Market District, UT Southwestern, Parkland, Love Field, “  beamed Thomas.

Come out and experience the progressive movement yourself – with an upcoming Super Saturday on December 4th from 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. at six select stations, where patrons can celebrate the openings and ride free of charge along the Green Line.  Or, you can check out this premier rail route on grand opening day, Monday, December 6th – with customer appreciation activities from 5 to 9 a.m.

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