You would think they would put an urban lab in an urban area... like somewhere near downtown???
Just to check, there's going to be a Cotton Belt station at the doorsteps of UT-Dallas and A&M AgriLife Center, right?
Regardless of where the Cotton Belt-Blue/Red Line gap junction is located, I think the expanding universities will generate more rail riders.
Doesn't UT-Dallas want to double enrollment? And it's kinda hard to tell what A&M has in store when building out it's Dallas real estate, but recent announce of an Urban Living Laboratory seem to indicate public transportation will be critical:
...Located at the Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Dallas, the Urban Living Laboratory will be the world's largest Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design-certified research, demonstration and teaching laboratory. The development, with more than 1 million square feet of planned buildings, will occupy 73 acres of land, Hussey said. The mixed-use, multi-purpose development will include apartments, offices, retail and hospitality....
No kidding - I remember when it seemed that going over the railroad tracks there would surely put you in Oklahoma.
It's a scientific Potemkin village to try out different technologies that buildings might use, all the technology that is out of sight in a real building. It's not really a place to test what this forum typically sees as design.
So what is this line going to be and who are they riders? Does it connect across from the Red Line station over to the Orange is that what it is for? I personally would rather see a light rail connector down LBJ as it would serve more business and shopping regions. This line seems to just cut across a vast swath of large lot single residence neighborhoods. Just my perspective from a downtowner looking north.
That is exactly how I feel about it....Originally Posted by CDallas
There's no reason you couldn't have the link across 635 also, as long as people wanted to pony up for it. The Cotton Belt being already a rail corridor needs alot fewer ponies to get moving, so it gets the attention. And remember it is not just to Orange Line or D/FW, but through downtown Fort Worth and out south. Unlike the auto-oriented 635 area, there are some larger open areas which can be developed as TOD, which is part of the funding hopes.Originally Posted by CDallas
"Ultimately, helmet laws save a few brains but destroy many hearts."
- T.J. DeMarco
I completely agree...if they are going to be tearing up LBJ for the next 4+ years, why the hell don't they just go ahead and put a DART line in the "tunnel" with the managed toll lanes...seems like at least a start...Originally Posted by CDallas
"...Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free..."
Because TxDOT's job is to build 61434-lane highways, not light railways.Originally Posted by gchrisbailey
Where do we get the money for the added work?Originally Posted by gchrisbailey
Looks like Plano has abandoned turning the Cotton Belt trains north to the Downtown Plano or Parker Road stations. I suggested that would be the result of DART selling excess light rail corridor lands to an unnamed Plano church. So now Plano is sweetening the mix with a Cotton Belt station near Shiloh Road.
Note, Richardson is still advocating turning the Cotton Belt trains south to George Bush Turnpike station. It's my opinion that neither the 12th Street or George Bush Turnpike stations would make a great terminus for the Cotton Belt. There's just not enough room for multiple tracks for staging trains at the end of the line. I believe there will be plenty of room to build a good terminus station at Shiloh Road. A station at Shiloh Road would be much closer to north Garland, which might add its political backing to it.
Last edited by electricron; 31 March 2011 at 12:17 PM.
It'll be hard for Plano folks to be more convincing with their route desires than the Richardson folks will be with the UT-D route. I'm wondering about communities to the east which do not currently have an operational relationship with DART. The Lewisville Leader article mentions NCTCOG anticipates an additional 4 million residents to the area by 2035, so, I wonder if it will be possible to get both routes built...?Originally Posted by electricron
Only if sufficient money can be raised. They still haven't raised enough money to build one route. I thought the UT-D and Cotton Belt were the same routes?Originally Posted by tamtagon
What's strange about the Cotton Belt? In Dallas County it's more akin to a cross town route while in Tarrant County it's a commuter route through downtown Fort Worth.
The MOST important thing to remember is that the planned line is 67 miles East - West.
It is critical that this be a Cooperative line from all 3 transit authorities, The-T, DART, and DCTA.
Remember, in Tarrant County this used to be called SW to NE, and has been recently renamed to TEXRail.
First steps of getting this Western portion underway are already happening.
True success will not happen until / unless the ENTIRE corridor is operational - SW FTW to DFW airport to NE Dallas County.
Long process, but at least the first steps are being taken.
Lets all keep on local officials, elected officials, and others to be sure it is a truly regional and cooperative effort!
Last edited by N5VAV; 01 May 2011 at 12:29 PM.
Who are Mike Krusee and the Partnership for Livable Communities?
As for status, it appears TIFs are projected to raise $380 Million - no where close to the projected $1.54 Billion total costs. It'll be interesting to see how the remaining $1.16 Billion is raised, if it is raised?
Getting the entire Cotton Belt built soon doesn't look promising.
A Sneak Peek at the Cotton Belt Regional Rail Corridor. One Day. Fingers Crossed.
By Robert Wilonsky Tue., Aug. 2 2011 at 9:25 AM
Friend of Unfair Park BigJonDaniel passes along the video you see above: a Dallas Area Rapid Transit-produced sneak peek at the Cotton Belt Regional Rail Corridor, which would stretch from Wylie to southwest Fort Worth. Of course, right now it's closer to concept than reality: Last summer, the North Central Texas Council of Governments signed on to raise money for the massive project in the hopes of securing private and public funds. But the environmental impact study's underway, and due by winter, because, as DART spokesman Morgan Lyons says this morning, "should funding come available, particularly in the form of federal funds, we'd like to be in a position to move forward" as quickly as possible.
NCTCOG has released a report on their "Innovative Financing" scheme.
And DART Board members had a special meeting this past week over it.
Looks likes DART wants to place its stamp (have its own way) over the whole project, including the sections in Fort Worth. Looks like a battle is brewing between DART and FWTA. If these two agencies can't work together, this unified rail line will die before its birth.
Both transit agencies (Chapter 451 and 452 under the Texas Transportation Code) got modifications in the code during the last Legislative session allowing the ability to form a private entity (able to operate the Cotton Belt with a PPP). They both have the legal powers to make the Cotton Belt a reality. Now they're squabbling over which of them will.
Now, if just one or the other or both solve the financing issues.
Looks like the idea of finding a private corporation to fund and operate it has been dropped. They're looking at taxing schemes on property redevelopments, advertising and fare revenues to fund it. In my opinion, there's way too many cities to line up and get onboard to finance it, but I'm willing to wait and see what will happen in the near future.
Additionally, that Shiloh station proposal keeps popping up in more and more studies, while turning the Cotton Belt trains north all the way through Plano have disappeared. I'm thinking Plano expects to lose to Bush Turnpike, but they haven't given up on Shiloh yet.
Last edited by electricron; 06 August 2011 at 02:14 PM.
So I went to the Cotton Belt meeting last night at the Addison Conference Center, and most of what I heard I already knew. They did show off their recently-created video, detailing where they expect the stations to be. It's the same video as the link in post #318 has. I did learn about the 100-year water level mark, and the fact that they cannot do a full-height trench in some areas due to this water level. In these areas they are doing a half-height trench with a higher sound barrier wall. Of course the NIMBY'ers were out in full force screaming "That's not good enough!" And to them I say "Well you should've thought of the fact that you're buying a house next to railroad tracks before you bought a house next to railroad tracks."
Also I'm noticing that the Preston road station seems to be a bad station for its location and the surrounding area. There's not much density there, nor is there much room for development. It seems that the Preston Road station would only disrupt the residents of the neighborhood.
The Knoll Trail station is a good idea. There's a large amount of apartments and businesses within a 1/2 mile of the station, and plenty of room to redevelop and expand.
"Bow down... bow down... before the power of Santa! Or be crushed... be crushed... by his jolly boots of doom!" --Elves:: Invader Zim episode 29, The Most Horrible Xmas Ever
Look at the difficulties DART has had building light rail and commuter rail lines within existing rail corridors, and yet I read some propose lines here often nowhere near an existing rail corridor. Not everyone is up to pace with the urbanists yet. Let's, at least for now, limit our rail transit proposals not within existing rail corridors to streetcars.
I suggest if DART proposed to build a subway in north Dallas that there would still be many who will oppose it. You've got to study how many oppose a transit line on principal, and how many oppose what's being proposed isn't good enough. Not everyone opposing a rail line is against rail, some just want something better built...
Last edited by electricron; 09 August 2011 at 10:13 PM.
Is the fact that it's a train or is any large construction an issue? These projects are very disruptive for years. Tell people in North Dallas neighborhoods you want to put a four lane limited access road through their areas and see how they react. It won't be any different. I live near tracks/station now and it's fine. I would not have wanted to be there 10 years ago when DART worked on it for years and years.
Very good point. Some will be against any disruptions of their daily life.
Seems like a lot for 3/8 but I guess the main difference is that the 3/8 is dedicated only to the Cotton Belt while DARTs 1% is divided between multiple lines, buses, administrators etc.. Plus Grapevine just generates a LOT of sales tax revenue.
i actaully still remember the quote from the article. "dart balked at the construction costs..."
If there were a hill to cut through, making a cut makes sense to avoid longer grades, but there isn't a hill, making a trench creates longer grades. Longer grades usually mean increase operation costs over time. So, this trench through north Dallas neighborhoods creates a double hit in higher costs, initial construction and operations over time. A sound wall would be just as effective as a trench reducing noise, the very sound walls that were acceptable everywhere else in the metroplex. Why do the neighborhoods in north Dallas feel they should be treated better than others? Hypocrites!
Compromise just means spending less than before, but still spending more than what's necessary. Digging even a partial trench is going to cost more than erecting sound walls - if it were otherwise that's what DART would have done before.
The only compromise I think that would be acceptable from an economical point of view is to dig down and go under street crossings instead of building up and going over. Reviewing the corridor within north Dallas, the Cotton Belt corridor crosses the following streets as follows:
Dallas North Tollway > The Tollway goes down and under the tracks, its access roads cross the tracks at grade. The track remains level.
Knoll Trail > At grade. Both the street and tracks remain level.
Country Club's golf-cart > The path and creek go under the track. In this location the track rises slightly. Would like to suggest a trench is improbable at this location because of the creek.
Preston Road > The street rises up and goes over the track. The track remains level. Preston Road's bridge over the track would look too high if it was lowered.
Brentfield Road > At grade. Immediately to the east of this location is that same creek again. A trench is just as improbable here because of the creek.
Campbell Road > At grade. Immediately to the west of this location is that same creek again. A trench is just as improbable here because of the creek.
Davenport Road > At grade. Immediately to the west, north, and east of this location is that same creek again. A trench is just as improbable here because of the creek.
Hillcrest Road > At grade. <900 feet away from McCallum
McCallum Boulevard > At grade. <900 feet away from Hillcrest and Meandering
Meandering Way > At grade. <900 feet away from McCallum
Whatever way you route the Cotton Belt; over, under, or at grade; you'll need to do the same for all three. Additionally, that same creek is closer to the Cotton Belt than these streets are to one another.
Dickerson Street > At grade. That start of that same creek is just to the north.
Coit Road > At grade. Whoopie, the only street in the north Dallas neighborhoods where the tracks should be able to go down and under a crossing street without difficulties from nature. Too bad that the eastern half of Coit Road is in Richardson, and under that half of Coit Road is a major water line in north Dallas. It would add significant additional costs digging under that water line. One of roads without natural difficulties has man-made utility difficulties.
The other roads without natural difficulties have already been grade separated from their major highways - with the tracks remaining at grade and with the highways either going below or above them.
Get real, the easiest, simpliest, and cheapest solution is to use the rail corridor at the grade it was built and exists today. There was a valid engineering reason why the track was laid at its height and the route was chosen as it is now 100 years or more ago. Going up along this stretch of the corridor will be far easier and cheaper as far as engineering is concerned. And I'm absolutely positive going up will be far more politically unpopular than at grade tracks.
Last edited by electricron; 13 August 2011 at 07:10 PM.
If North Dallas neighbors complain enough there might not be a choice. I'm all for the least expensive solution so long as it doesn't negatively impact ridership. Even if it is politically unpopular for that part of the DART service area I'd say this falls under the "too bad" category. $500 million extra is ridiculous
Or it might not get built if there is too many complaints and not enough funding. Maybe it's better for DART to focus on inner city matters and attracting more riders to existing lines heading towards Downtown we already know they badly need the D2 alignment or risk eroding what customers they have.Originally Posted by DallasMichael
Dropping the Cotton Belt, or delaying its construction beyond our lifetimes, will only offend Irving, Carrollton, Addison, Richardson, and Plano, suggesting they aren't important to DART. DART will fail financially if just one of the larger suburban cities voted to drop DART.
So, it's build the Cotton Belt soon or close up shop! Plano has already started looking at the consequences of dropping DART. Other cities might start doing so too.
Dallas needs to learn that the metroplex doesn't revolved exclusively around it, that it shouldn't automatically deserve higher entitlements or influence. Garland provided more funds for its larger station embellishments, Irving provided more funds for rerouting the Orange line, every city has provided more funds for extra embellishments, AND Dallas should provide more funds for the Convention Center Hotel D2 alignment and excavating the Cotton Belt trench. It's not fair to the entire region for all cities to step up and pay more for DART embellishments while just one doesn't or won't.
Times weighs down on you like an old, ambiguous dream. You keep on moving, trying to slip through it. But even if you go to the ends of the earth, you won't be able to escape it.
It is not a matter of wanting. Until the sales tax starts bringing in more revenue, we wait.
BTW, Richardson doesn't touch Coit until south of there, halfway between McCallum and Campbell. Highland Springs, Urban Living Lab development, and the A&M site are within Dallas on the east side of Coit.
And that creek still runs parallel and across the Cotton Belt tracks most of the way within north Dallas. It's the main challenge to lowering the track's grade. It exists, and it will not disappear. I guess we could spend far more replacing the creek in a huge sewer, or concreting its banks. In either case, most of the trees along the creek will be torn down to make room for all the extra machinery.
I'm still suggesting an at grade alignment for the Cotton Belt is best...
Last edited by electricron; 15 August 2011 at 09:33 PM.
A sound wall will always be cheaper than trenching, even without the interfering creeks and u/g utilities.
What is the difference between Mechanical Engineers and Civil Engineers?
Mechanical Engineers build weapons, Civil Engineers build targets.
They've already said they cannot do a full-size trench, due to the 100-year flood point. They either have to make the tracks higher than the flood point, or install expensive water pumps. This half-trench/half-soundwall option is unlikely to appease the homeowners, but then again I doubt there's anything that would appease them.
"Bow down... bow down... before the power of Santa! Or be crushed... be crushed... by his jolly boots of doom!" --Elves:: Invader Zim episode 29, The Most Horrible Xmas Ever
I know it's never going to happen, but a subway would be really nice
Patrick Kennedy, in December 2011's D Magazine, opines in favor of the Plano-friendly north alignment: http://www.dmagazine.com/Home/D_Maga...Rail_Line.aspx
The place to improve the world is first in one's own heart and head and hands. - Robert Persig
The consultant's final Phase One Cotton Belt report, completed last month, answers some of the questions about station locations, etc.
Is the airport contributing to the inter-modal train station building fund? I'm all fuzzy how much each 'route partner' is kicking-in, Orange Line, Cotton Belt (to Collin County), SW2NE (to Tarrant County), the airport....?
Grapevine through 2015 = $60 Million
FWTA = $60 Million
Texas Mobility Fund = $60 Million
Other FTA = $66 Million
Tarrant County = $20 Million
Other = $5 Million
Station Construction = $70 Million
Sub Total = $342 Million
FTA New Starts = $415 Million
Total (FW side) = $757 Million
Starting 2016 and ending 2051, here's what could be committed for funds.
Grapevine .375% sales tax = $508 Million
4B sales tax collections from transit agency non-member cities (Colleyville, Coppell, Haltom City, Hurst, North Richland Hills, and Southlake) = $152 Million
Farebox $0.10/rider mile = $694 Million
Farebox $0.14/rider mile = $891 Million
Farebox $0.30/rider mile = $1.68 Billion
DART will be able to commit $109 Million until 2036, rising to $125 Million in 2051. Over those 16 years, DART's total could be $1.86 Billion.
Other Potential Revenue Sources
Naming Rights = $28.8 Million
Advertising =$30.8 Million
Fiber Optics lease = $89.3 Million
Sub Total = $149 Million
Value Capture =
The current average land value per acre is approximately $80,000. Assuming $100,000 per acre as a conservative market-based benchmark, the current total land value is approximately $429.50 million. The projected incremental growth along the Cotton Belt Corridor is slightly more than $1 billion.
Assuming the Cotton Belt is able to capture 25 percent of the difference ($1.0492 billion) the value is $262.31 million. This figure is expressed in 2010$ as transactions likely will occur in the near future. No attempt is made to report the estimate in inflated dollars.
There's plenty of money by 2051 to build the entire corridor without raising taxes - the only new taxes listed above involve "value capture". The question that needs to be asked is there enough revenues left over to fund Cotton Belt train operations at the level we expect?
Additionally, will there be any revenues available to build other "regional rail" lines, to Frisco, McKinney, Cleburne, and Waxahachie?
Last edited by electricron; 12 January 2012 at 12:19 PM.
I really hope this thing doesn't get built and DART saves their money. There has to be better ways to please the locales who feel they are not being adequately served for their contribution to DART than by building this rail line when the rest of the system needs so much work. It really feels as if this line will be used soley as a funnel for the airport.... Building a free parking lot and paying for 121 tolls would almost make more sense than this thing -___-
I agree this line seems like a third tier proposition when we desperately need to fix the D2 through Downtown Dallas. It does seem like a shuttle train to DFW especially considering that Love Field will open up in 2014 before this line and is right off the tollway and an existing Dart line. I would rather see the people mover get built to Love than this.
Hot transit opinion from Garl Latham:
The Cotton Belt Conundrum
...as it now stands, the Cotton Belt service proposal is doomed to failure because it's been designed by politicians for political purposes.
Advertise here! Ask me how!
I've read Garl Latham's blog, and he's not against the Cotton Belt in principle, he's really against the way it is being designed (below grade in North Dallas and using DMUs for trains) and financed (PPP).
Well, public transit agencies have to accommodate public opinions, and find alternate financial solutions when there's no money in the till until 2030 to 2040 timeframe. Citizens of Dallas would prefer electric powered light rail trains vs DMUs in North Dallas - believing they will be healthier and quieter. DART's DMU alternative should be cheaper to build, and almost as quiet. North Dallas neighborhoods still haven't completely jumped upon DART's DMU bandwagon, they would never approve conventional commuter railcars and diesel locomotives used by the TRE. So criticizing the plans to use DMUs without mentioning why they're being proposed is hitting below the belt, in my opinion.
He's also criticizing DART PPP financing model. I also don't like it, and I agree it probably won't work over the long time. But it is the only way DART can move the project up granting a Plano an additional project and keeping Plano in DART. Because without it, Plano will probably drop DART sooner rather than later. And I believe it can work over the short period of time before DART can afford to absorb it into it's publicly financed network of rail lines. Yes, a financial plan designed to fail around the time DART can afford to rescue it. Remember, DART's goal is to get the Cotton Belt built quickly, not 20 to 30 years in the future. DART also accomplishes its goal to find new revenue sources as well. These same new revenue sources might provide a model to extend train lines to Mesquite, Allen, McKinney, and Frisco. As it is, DART is tied to one cent sales taxes from member cities forever, finding new revenue sources will allow it to keep existing level of services and increasing them without overpricing their fares. Look at DART's potential 23%-25% fare increase this winter, during a period of little to no inflation, which is not even close to 10%, and definitely not 20%.
So I disagree with him. He didn't provide any solutions for implementing the Cotton Belt line soon, or give financial proposals for adding additional services in the future. So, I guess that means he favors waiting until 2030 or 2040 before doing anything. And that my friend, is not an acceptable answer politically. So what's so wrong with politicians designing the Cotton Belt and at the same time designing the future of DART?
Transportation planners need to listen to their communities; if they fail to do so thinking they know best, they'll be laid off quickly. Just look at how swiftly the Democratic Governor of California swept out CHSR authority's board earlier this year. And I think he's going to have to do so again sooner rather than later. America has been designed by politicians over 200 years. I see no reason for that fact to change soon.
I don't understand the piece about having to come up with some new type of hybrid vehicle, other than trying to score points by putting the manufacturing plant in DFW. Why not get a waiver and use the Stadler vehicles that DCTA is using for the A-Train. A-Train was built fairly cheaply, same could be done on the Cotton Belt, even if there will be a higher frequency of stops than a typical commuter train (but less than a typical LRT)? Aren't the Stadler vehicles supposed to be quiet and environmentally friendly?
I think Garl's analysis is thoughtful and spot on. My perspective is from the point of the Tex Rail line on the western portion of the Cotton Belt. A project that I don't know if it is the best interest of Fort Worth's efforts, the way the cards are stacked.
Advertise here! Ask me how!
What is so innovative about this financing? Did not California try it in consumer real estate with those asinine no money down, interest only payments for a few years, dependent on someone to swoop in and "buy" the property before the loan came due or reset? When will we ever learn? What group is going to pony up the funds and be on the end of that trapeze flying without a net in a few years when DART promises to catch them?
The main problem I have with value capture being used to finance transit projects over as many miles as the entire Cotton Belt will be, is there is no guarantee there will be any additional value to capture when that money is needed. We've all seen proposed projects fail before even starting construction. I've seen holes dug up in Dallas that had to be refilled because the project failed.
It's one thing to use value capture to finance local amenities, amenities needed if the project is completed. It's entirely another thing to use value capture to finance regional amenities, because individual projects within the many needed regionally may never be built.
IMHO, It's okay to use value capture to finance the Las Colinas people mover, DFW airport people movers, or future Love Field people mover. Even a mile or two streetcar line stretching through and subsidized by a single development. It's not okay to use value capture to finance a rail line stretching completely through a city, county, or region.
Last edited by electricron; 06 June 2012 at 01:27 PM.
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