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the Cotton Belt line

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The_Overdog
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Re: the Cotton Belt line

Postby The_Overdog » 01 Jan 2018 03:18

I've haven't seen a downtown line future plan (which I guess would be D3) but there is certainly a 2040 plan for a line north up the DNT to the Plano Legacy area that tees off the Cotton Belt line.

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electricron
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Re: the Cotton Belt line

Postby electricron » 10 Feb 2018 20:45

Recent speech by Tim McKay at SW Rail Conference
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7mx_6YQF5G4

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Austin55
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Re: the Cotton Belt line

Postby Austin55 » 30 Mar 2018 17:15

I watched the most recent presentation which mentions using the TRE maintance facility for CB. How would the CB trains get there?

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northsouth
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Re: the Cotton Belt line

Postby northsouth » 31 Mar 2018 11:28

Presumably via the BNSF line from Irving to Carrollton. Would be quite out of the way though, not to mention having to deal with freight trains. I wonder why Carrollton is so opposed to the site that was proposed as the Cotton Belt yard facility.

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Re: the Cotton Belt line

Postby Austin55 » 31 Mar 2018 17:17

TEXRail's EMF would probably be easier

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electricron
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Re: the Cotton Belt line

Postby electricron » 31 Mar 2018 19:10

northsouth wrote:Presumably via the BNSF line from Irving to Carrollton. Would be quite out of the way though, not to mention having to deal with freight trains. I wonder why Carrollton is so opposed to the site that was proposed as the Cotton Belt yard facility.

While the BNSF may be the major user of this section of track, between Irving and Carrolton it is owned by DART. North of Carrolton towards Frisco this railroad corridor is owned by the BNSF.

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The_Overdog
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Re: the Cotton Belt line

Postby The_Overdog » 02 Apr 2018 15:21

Recent speech by Tim McKay at SW Rail Conference

That's a good example of a speech by a guy who's job title is "Director of line Growth at DART" or whatever it actually is. It's not particularly inspiring as a catalyst for any kind of growth or change in thinking at DART into a better transit system.

Worryingly, he's more excited talking the payment app and making it 'seamless' which is minor IT development work than anything to do with making DART more usable.

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tanzoak
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Re: the Cotton Belt line

Postby tanzoak » 19 Apr 2018 23:16


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Re: the Cotton Belt line

Postby tanzoak » 19 Apr 2018 23:26

The Knoll Trail and Preston Road stations will have neither pick-up/drop-off areas nor dedicated parking. Riders could access the station on foot, by bicycle, or via connecting transit services.

Um.. what

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tanzoak
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Re: the Cotton Belt line

Postby tanzoak » 19 Apr 2018 23:36

Omg lol and even if we were to forget that we were in the north Dallas suburbs, the transit connections at these stations are basically non-existent. A single line with 30/60 min headways at Knoll Trail, and two lines to Preston road--two 30/60 headways (with one proposed to be upgraded to all-day 30).

There's like two, maybe three apartment complexes and a 5-story office building within easy walking distance of Knoll Trail and just Fairhill School near Preston Rd.

So I guess they're expecting people to bike there?

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tanzoak
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Re: the Cotton Belt line

Postby tanzoak » 20 Apr 2018 00:17

Image

Ah, apparently they're just anticipating that no one uses those stations.

Though the lowest ridership station is actually 12th street, with a whopping 370.

And this is with the 20-min peak headways, which is a long-term aspirational goal, rather than the planned 30-min peak headways.

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tanzoak
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Re: the Cotton Belt line

Postby tanzoak » 20 Apr 2018 00:31

$996 million out of the $1.14 billion would ultimately come from local sources, though mostly through utilizing very low interest loans.

Image

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Cbdallas
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Re: the Cotton Belt line

Postby Cbdallas » 20 Apr 2018 11:01

This line is being built to service that area in 2058. It is a toy train for the burbs that hardly anyone will ride. Meahwhile in the densest most urban part of Metro the entire system is clogged through a single line. I really don't see this being good for the overall system.

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The_Overdog
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Re: the Cotton Belt line

Postby The_Overdog » 20 Apr 2018 13:31

The data formatting is a mess, but here's a chart from the Dallas Morning News about current jobs/residential population within 1/2 mile of the stations, ranked by total, and then with 2040 ridership at the end. Knoll Trail with 530 daily riders is the #2 stop on this line based on jobs + population numbers. The ridership numbers are not at all correlated with population or jobs density at any site.

Stop -City -Current Jobs -Residents -Total jobs/res -Rank -2040 Riders
Addison -Addison -48636 -9041 -57677 -1 -1690
Knoll Trail -Dallas -32579 -12786 -45365 -2 -530
Shiloh -Plano -23172 -9218 -32390 -3 -660
UT Dallas -Richardson -20823 -6485 -27308 -4 -850
Cityline -Richardson -20586 -4981 -25567 -5 -1380
Preston -Dallas -7668 -12782 -20450 -6 -400
Coit -Dallas -8409 -11844 -20253 -7 -760
Downtown Carrollton-Carrollton -12108 -4479 -16587 -8 -1970
12th Street -Plano -10074 -2953 -13027 -9 -370
Cypress Waters -Dallas -1128 -5359 -6487 -10 -910

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tanzoak
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Re: the Cotton Belt line

Postby tanzoak » 20 Apr 2018 15:14

That’s not that surprising, really. First, network distance is a lot farther than spatial distance, particularly in suburban settings like these. So what you have within 1/2 mile walking (network) distance is just a couple of apartment complexes and an office building. Ridership at these stations is driven primarily by auto and transit access, so it’s to be expected that stations with neither would have poor ridership.

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The_Overdog
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Re: the Cotton Belt line

Postby The_Overdog » 20 Apr 2018 17:37

Ridership at these stations is driven primarily by auto and transit access, so it’s to be expected that stations with neither would have poor ridership.


Maybe but it's not correlated to that either. Otherwise, downtown Carrollton (#1 in ridership) would be #8. I guess they are basically counting cannibalization of the existing line to be added to Carrollton's numbers. Knoll Trail has almost as many jobs & residents as Addison, but it's got 1/3 the transit use. That makes no sense.

Also this line has constantly been sold as allowing the residents of Plano to get to the airport, but then they don't actually expect anyone to ride it for that purpose, and one of the busiest Plano-adjacent sites (Coit) is considering being scrapped until later.

I just wish they would be more honest as to why they are building this line.

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tanzoak
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Re: the Cotton Belt line

Postby tanzoak » 20 Apr 2018 20:37

The_Overdog wrote:Maybe but it's not correlated to that either. Otherwise, downtown Carrollton (#1 in ridership) would be #8. I guess they are basically counting cannibalization of the existing line to be added to Carrollton's numbers. Knoll Trail has almost as many jobs & residents as Addison, but it's got 1/3 the transit use. That makes no sense.


Sure it is. Four of the top five ridership stations have rail connections, and the fifth is at the Addison Transit Center, which has 14 bus lines going through it. Knoll Trail, on the other hand, only has two very low frequency lines hitting it.

The point is that despite the fact that Knoll Trail is near some jobs and residents, there's no way for those people to access the station. There's no pick-up/drop-off zone, no parking lot, it's out of walking distance for most, and the bus connections are limited to the point of uselessness.

Riders transferring from the Green line to the Cotton Belt at Carrollton isn't cannibalization, it's the project working as intended. Cannibalization would be someone who used to drive to an existing DART station now taking the Cotton Belt to the existing DART lines instead. But a) that's actually a good thing bc it demonstrates a benefit to the project, though it would inflate the gross ridership of the line, and b) I don't think that will be a big thing with this project, regardless, because low frequencies make tranferring unappealing--if you were close enough to an existing DART station to drive/bus there before, it'll probably be preferable to continue doing that.

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tanzoak
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Re: the Cotton Belt line

Postby tanzoak » 20 Apr 2018 21:00

The_Overdog wrote:Also this line has constantly been sold as allowing the residents of Plano to get to the airport, but then they don't actually expect anyone to ride it for that purpose, and one of the busiest Plano-adjacent sites (Coit) is considering being scrapped until later.

I just wish they would be more honest as to why they are building this line.


I'm out of the area, so I don't really know how they're selling this, but the big winner of the Cotton Belt is Addison, not Plano. It significantly increases the value/connectivity of the Addison Transit Center (8 min reliable ride to/from Carrolton DART vs less reliable 22 min on Route 400), Addison was too far to drive to DART before so it's a new option, and now they get a 30 minute ride to the airport.

Don't get me wrong, I don't think this is a very good project. But if I were Addison, I'd be pretty happy.

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Re: the Cotton Belt line

Postby The_Overdog » 22 Apr 2018 02:21

There's no pick-up/drop-off zone, no parking lot, it's out of walking distance for most, and the bus connections are limited to the point of uselessness.


It's half a mile radius. If people aren't willing to walk that far, then a transit system is never going to work and the money shouldn't be spent. 20 years is plenty of time to rework the street grid in that area to make it conducive to walking that far.

And if you want to call '2000 rides a day' 20 years from now the big winner, then ok. I'd call Richardson the big winner though. They get rail transit connectivity N/S and E/W in their city out of this.

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Re: the Cotton Belt line

Postby electricron » 22 Apr 2018 09:06

It's an EIS, every possible construction item that might be built within the next 20 years is included. Not everyone of them will be built at startup. The idea that there will be train stations built spaced just one mile apart is very unlikely. One will most likely be set aside to be built later and may never be built.
Here's a few of them I suggest may not be built although they are included in the EIS;
(1) Through platform at DFW North
The idea that either DART or FWTA would allow the other agency to run trains in their territory is not likely, therefore the through platform would never be used and therefore should never be built.
(2) Knoll Trail
Too close to Addison Transit Center. Station site is too small to even allow kiss and ride parking. The surrounding neighborhood doesn't want it.
(3) Preston Road
Station site is too small to even allow kiss and ride parking. The surrounding neighborhood doesn't want it.
(4) 12th Street
Too close to Cityline/Bush Station. It's not needed for a Red Line transfer.
It's too far away from downtown Plano to attract much ridership.

With these reductions in stations, you'll be hard pressed to find one with significantly less ridership than the less busy light rail stations.

The main reasons they have been included in the EIS is because they give DART options for future in fill expansion and political cover. There are other stations in past EISes DART did not build - there will be stations in future EISes DART will not build - including this EIS.

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Re: the Cotton Belt line

Postby Tucy » 22 Apr 2018 09:54

electricron wrote:
FIFY: If we pretend they won't build the weakest 1/4th of the stations, you'll be hard pressed to find one with significantly less ridership than the less busy light rail stations.


With stats like that, how could anyone be against it? :?

FWIW, the EIS specifically says the DFW Pass-Through platform is a future plan. There is no such indication regarding any of the stations.

I'd be curious to know what stations were not built on the other DART lines that were included in the applicable EIS, and that were not discussed in such EIS as future or potential stations.

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Re: the Cotton Belt line

Postby tanzoak » 22 Apr 2018 11:52

The_Overdog wrote:
It's half a mile radius. If people aren't willing to walk that far, then a transit system is never going to work and the money shouldn't be spent. 20 years is plenty of time to rework the street grid in that area to make it conducive to walking that far.

And if you want to call '2000 rides a day' 20 years from now the big winner, then ok. I'd call Richardson the big winner though. They get rail transit connectivity N/S and E/W in their city out of this.



It's a half-mile radius as the crow flies, which is different from a half-mile walking distance. The Tollway is 0.15 miles away from the station and is uncrossable in the area. So a huge chunk of that employment+residents captured in that half-mile radius is completely irrelevant (and is mostly closer to Addison Station, regardless). The long block lengths in the area also increase the walking distance vs the crow-flies distance.

As I said before, I don't consider this a good project. But yes, Addison Station is clearly the biggest value. Dramatically increases the value of the existing transit hub, provides rail access to existing DART (which is where the destinations are), and provides visitors easy, walkable access to their downtown (and downtown residents easy access to rail). Yeah, 2,000 riders on a $1.1 billion line is bad, but it's less bad than all but one other station, so I don't know where you're going with that.

As for Richardson, residents near the Plano border get a 50+ min ride to the airport and rail access to Downtown Addison (which is even better for Addison). The ridership at CityLine is (comparatively!) not bad, but those riders are mostly transfers from existing DART, as opposed to Richardson employees/residents (11% walk access mode/150 pax vs. 49%/830 pax for Addison). Even with the secondary stations, Knoll Trail has more local use than UTD (480 pax v 270 pax), though assumedly some of those bus transfers at UTD are coming from Richardson residents.

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Re: the Cotton Belt line

Postby tanzoak » 22 Apr 2018 12:05

electricron wrote:(4) 12th Street
Too close to Cityline/Bush Station. It's not needed for a Red Line transfer.
It's too far away from downtown Plano to attract much ridership.


I believe 12th Street is in there because that's where the tracks have to go if you want to go down to CityLine.

Preston Road is clearly the most useless, is surrounded by a bunch of suburban single-fam, and has community opposition. I'm guessing it's just in there because Plano wants two stations?

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Re: the Cotton Belt line

Postby muncien » 23 Apr 2018 09:43

Tucy wrote:
electricron wrote:
FIFY: If we pretend they won't build the weakest 1/4th of the stations, you'll be hard pressed to find one with significantly less ridership than the less busy light rail stations.


With stats like that, how could anyone be against it? :?

FWIW, the EIS specifically says the DFW Pass-Through platform is a future plan. There is no such indication regarding any of the stations.

I'd be curious to know what stations were not built on the other DART lines that were included in the applicable EIS, and that were not discussed in such EIS as future or potential stations.


I know the Carpenter Ranch station on the Orange Line was supposed to be built with the original construction, but was later deferred. I want to say it was because DART proposed a one year delay due to construction issues and Irving didn't want to play along. The deal they worked involved a phased opening and Carpenter Ranch being deferred.
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Re: the Cotton Belt line

Postby Tucy » 23 Apr 2018 11:40

muncien wrote:
Tucy wrote:
electricron wrote:
FIFY: If we pretend they won't build the weakest 1/4th of the stations, you'll be hard pressed to find one with significantly less ridership than the less busy light rail stations.


With stats like that, how could anyone be against it? :?

FWIW, the EIS specifically says the DFW Pass-Through platform is a future plan. There is no such indication regarding any of the stations.

I'd be curious to know what stations were not built on the other DART lines that were included in the applicable EIS, and that were not discussed in such EIS as future or potential stations.


I know the Carpenter Ranch station on the Orange Line was supposed to be built with the original construction, but was later deferred. I want to say it was because DART proposed a one year delay due to construction issues and Irving didn't want to play along. The deal they worked involved a phased opening and Carpenter Ranch being deferred.


Interesting. Thanks. Does anyone know if a supplemental EIS has to be filed when they make such changes?

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Re: the Cotton Belt line

Postby The_Overdog » 23 Apr 2018 12:14

Preston Road is clearly the most useless, is surrounded by a bunch of suburban single-fam, and has community opposition. I'm guessing it's just in there because Plano wants two stations?


The Preston Road site is 100% Dallas -not even close to Plano. The only station they have talked about deferring is Coit, which Plano wants because it is close to west Plano.

As for Richardson, residents near the Plano border get a 50+ min ride to the airport and rail access to Downtown Addison (which is even better for Addison).


Who cares about airport access? Residents of Plano & Richardson can hop on the GBush and have a 25 minute drive to DFW, 45 at rush hour. I'm sure it won't be more than 60 by 2040; most likely the exact same. Richardson residents get DART, not bus access, E/W and N/S which means they will at most take a 10 minute bus ride to a light rail station with better frequency and accesses all the job centers in the entire city. Richardson has more jobs and more job centers, and is more dense by population than Addison.

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Re: the Cotton Belt line

Postby tanzoak » 23 Apr 2018 13:05

The_Overdog wrote:Who cares about airport access? Residents of Plano & Richardson can hop on the GBush and have a 25 minute drive to DFW, 45 at rush hour. I'm sure it won't be more than 60 by 2040; most likely the exact same. Richardson residents get DART, not bus access, E/W and N/S which means they will at most take a 10 minute bus ride to a light rail station with better frequency and accesses all the job centers in the entire city. Richardson has more jobs and more job centers, and is more dense by population than Addison.


That was exactly the point about the airport access comment. It's not that valuable.

As for this enhanced E/W rail access that Richardson residents get.. so your idea is that they'll take a bus up to UTD, transfer to Cotton Belt, then transfer to existing DART? People don't take three seat rides even with good frequencies. Or if they're near existing Richardson DART stations, it would be a two-seat ride, but to.. where? Addison, perhaps?

The Cotton Belt provides Richardson with some improved ability to get outside workers in with the new cross-town connection, but that's less valuable to Richardson than it is to Addison because Richardson already access to the eastern N-S line and is far away from the western one. Addison gets new connections to both that are reasonably close.

As for the level of demand, minor differences in city-wide density are irrelevant, as are the number of job centers. What is important are the number of residents and jobs within walking distance of the station, both of which Addison has more of.

The big hint that this is more valuable to Addison than it is to Richardson is the fact that more people use the Addison stations. (Technically tied, but 45% of the Richardson total is rail transfers at CityLine, which is largely going to be people passing through to/from Dallas rather than Richardson end stations).

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Re: the Cotton Belt line

Postby northsouth » 23 Apr 2018 23:09

Tucy wrote:I'd be curious to know what stations were not built on the other DART lines that were included in the applicable EIS, and that were not discussed in such EIS as future or potential stations.

To my knowledge, there are 6:
-Carpenter Ranch: deferred at the last minute, now planned for construction for the Hidden Ridge development. Renderings were made for it like the other Orange line stations, and the steel archways of the canopy have been sitting in a lot next to the Green/Orange line split at Bachman station for years.
-South Las Colinas: will be built if/when the commuter line from Irving to Frisco is built in order to serve as a transfer station.
-Loop 12: will be built when redevelopment of the old Texas Stadium site happens.
-Lake Highlands: has since been built.
-Knox/Henderson: canceled due to community disapproval in the early 1990s, will probably never be built at this point due to the logistics involved.
-Plano Road: this one isn't well documented, but there is an otherwise inexplicable widening between the tracks of the Blue Line at Plano road, perfectly spaced to fit an island platform, and long enough to fit a platform (including space for the extension intended to fit 4 original cars/3 expanded cars). It's too close to LBJ/Skillman, and is surrounded by nothing but industrial development. No surprise it was never built. The only reference I've ever seen to is the map on this old webpage, where the asterisk by its name presumably means it was being deferred.

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Re: the Cotton Belt line

Postby jeffbrown2002 » 24 Apr 2018 14:41

northsouth wrote:
Tucy wrote:I'd be curious to know what stations were not built on the other DART lines that were included in the applicable EIS, and that were not discussed in such EIS as future or potential stations.

To my knowledge, there are 6:
-Carpenter Ranch: deferred at the last minute, now planned for construction for the Hidden Ridge development. Renderings were made for it like the other Orange line stations, and the steel archways of the canopy have been sitting in a lot next to the Green/Orange line split at Bachman station for years.
-South Las Colinas: will be built if/when the commuter line from Irving to Frisco is built in order to serve as a transfer station.
-Loop 12: will be built when redevelopment of the old Texas Stadium site happens.
-Lake Highlands: has since been built.
-Knox/Henderson: canceled due to community disapproval in the early 1990s, will probably never be built at this point due to the logistics involved.
-Plano Road: this one isn't well documented, but there is an otherwise inexplicable widening between the tracks of the Blue Line at Plano road, perfectly spaced to fit an island platform, and long enough to fit a platform (including space for the extension intended to fit 4 original cars/3 expanded cars). It's too close to LBJ/Skillman, and is surrounded by nothing but industrial development. No surprise it was never built. The only reference I've ever seen to is the map on this old webpage, where the asterisk by its name presumably means it was being deferred.


Nice find on the Plano Road station. I hadn't previously known about it but always wondered why those tracks widened at that intersection. I think you've about summed up all the deferred DART stations except for maybe a potential station that I believe was considered early on in the planning stages for the Green Line at Bruton Rd near Jim Miller. I remember seeing a map with a station there but it was obviously abandoned pretty early on as I don't remember seeing any other evidence for it save for that map. There's that and of course the elusive station underneath the terminal at Love Field that was planned but ultimately (and disappointingly) dropped.

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Re: the Cotton Belt line

Postby muncien » 24 Apr 2018 14:45

I have a feeling that it's easier to drop stations after the initial Environmental Impact Report, than to not have them on there, and try to include them afterward. That is probably why we always see more initially, and they get deferred later. But most of these stations are marked as 'deferred' in the EIR itself. It's not very common to see them not marked as deferred, but dropped later. Carpenter Ranch is the only one I know of. But I suspect maybe one or two of the above mentioned stations may fall into that category as well.
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Re: the Cotton Belt line

Postby electricron » 30 Apr 2018 08:39

muncien wrote:I have a feeling that it's easier to drop stations after the initial Environmental Impact Report, than to not have them on there, and try to include them afterward. That is probably why we always see more initially, and they get deferred later. But most of these stations are marked as 'deferred' in the EIR itself. It's not very common to see them not marked as deferred, but dropped later. Carpenter Ranch is the only one I know of. But I suspect maybe one or two of the above mentioned stations may fall into that category as well.

Whether they were marked as deferred or not, the fact remains those stations were not built. Let's not confuse DEIS with FEIS documents and maps. Almost all transit EIS processes involves finding the preferred ones from multiple alternate ones. The Cotton Belt EIS isn't Final yet, so there's time left in the process to mark any deferred stations.

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Re: the Cotton Belt line

Postby Tucy » 30 Apr 2018 09:18

electricron wrote:
muncien wrote:I have a feeling that it's easier to drop stations after the initial Environmental Impact Report, than to not have them on there, and try to include them afterward. That is probably why we always see more initially, and they get deferred later. But most of these stations are marked as 'deferred' in the EIR itself. It's not very common to see them not marked as deferred, but dropped later. Carpenter Ranch is the only one I know of. But I suspect maybe one or two of the above mentioned stations may fall into that category as well.

Whether they were marked as deferred or not, the fact remains those stations were not built. Let's not confuse DEIS with FEIS documents and maps. Almost all transit EIS processes involves finding the preferred ones from multiple alternate ones. The Cotton Belt EIS isn't Final yet, so there's time left in the process to mark any deferred stations.


Good point

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Re: the Cotton Belt line

Postby tamtagon » 30 Apr 2018 10:31

Downtown Plano, UTD and neighbor (former) TxA&M site, Addison & Airport... these four stops have so much potential for concentrated development I think passenger rail service is necessary. I guess the Country Club stations could be developed as park & ride and kiss & ride for the handful neighborhood residents and long term airport paid parking for area residents going to the airport.

Hard to believe the tollway will not eventually have passenger rail service between Frisco/Plano - Addison Airport - Galleria/Midtown - Oak Lawn and Downtown.

Cotton Belt is expensive for our current time and ability of DART to gather money for it, and ridership is projected as low. But, I doubt ridership will remain low as time progresses. Downtown Plano and Addison are going to redevelop far more than DART ticket counters anticipate.

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Re: the Cotton Belt line

Postby The_Overdog » 01 May 2018 13:17

UTD and neighbor (former) TxA&M site


At that former TXA&M site (I think it is actually still an Aggie research center-whatever) they are building an office building but kept the greenhouses which used to be on the ground but are now on the 2nd story. It's a bizarre design. Images here- it looks pretty close to this in real life. https://dallas.tamu.edu/

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Re: the Cotton Belt line

Postby electricron » 03 May 2018 02:38

Whether ridership is high or low, it gives far more people more options than they have now.
From central Dallas, you can ride the trains in many directions:
SW, S, SE, NE, N, NNW, and WNW. Outside of let's say Loop 12 to keep it simple, you can only rdie the trains in one direction - toward central Dallas. If you wish to ride in a different direction, you must first ride the train to central Dallas, and most likely transfer trains. This isn't attractive to many, which might explain why ridership is so low once outside of Loop 12..
It's not so much the lack of density near the stations as much as the lack of convenience on places to travel directly to.
The Cotton Belt double the directions riders can travel from these northern train stations, adding both an east and west travel direction without riding all the way to central Dallas. Which should make DART two times more convenient to these riders....
.

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Re: the Cotton Belt line

Postby muncien » 03 May 2018 08:56

electricron wrote:Whether ridership is high or low, it gives far more people more options than they have now.
From central Dallas, you can ride the trains in many directions:
SW, S, SE, NE, N, NNW, and WNW. Outside of let's say Loop 12 to keep it simple, you can only rdie the trains in one direction - toward central Dallas. If you wish to ride in a different direction, you must first ride the train to central Dallas, and most likely transfer trains. This isn't attractive to many, which might explain why ridership is so low once outside of Loop 12..
It's not so much the lack of density near the stations as much as the lack of convenience on places to travel directly to.
The Cotton Belt double the directions riders can travel from these northern train stations, adding both an east and west travel direction without riding all the way to central Dallas. Which should make DART two times more convenient to these riders....
.


Just to highlight this fact... I live in Cypress Waters now, and I just pulled up the trip planner for DART. The shortest option takes 2 hours and 9 minutes to get to downtown Plano station. That is with one bus, and two trains... assuming no wait to catch the bus. That is pretty bad...
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tamtagon
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Re: the Cotton Belt line

Postby tamtagon » 03 May 2018 10:30

By itself, Downtown Plano has the potential to house thousands more residents in mixed use mid/high rise developments. Historic building conflicts is practically non-existent within the warehouses between Red Line and Shiloh Road Cotton Belt station but the presumed low density zoning being a major barrier, the city could provide DART's longest of range plans to promote development fertile ground to feed the rail system to the airport, the 75 corridor to Downtown Dallas as well as bus service to the West Plano-Frisco tollroad employment district.

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Re: the Cotton Belt line

Postby The_Overdog » 03 May 2018 10:55

I live in Cypress Waters now, and I just pulled up the trip planner for DART. The shortest option takes 2 hours and 9 minutes to get to downtown Plano station.


I just don't see this as a problem that needs to be solved, unless you are looking at every transit stop as a regional draw (then none of them are). The land price imbalances along the line are basically non-existent, in that housing in Plano, Carrollton, Richardson, North Dallas, Addison, etc) all cost basically the same and the cost variation is relatively wide, and none of the job bases are particularly outsized. If you have a job and need to live in Addison you can. No need to live in far east Plano and commute there via train. Downtown Plano isn't that unique where you would want to go there regularly from Cypress Waters. Compare this to downtown Dallas that has some legitimate regional draws (stadiums, arts district), the jobs base is high and growing, and the price imbalances are high for the region (for the price of an apartment rent, you can buy in the suburbs).

You can actually see the results of this at the downtown Plano station, which is surrounded by decent amounts of housing but has low ridership. They have all their needs met without riding down to CityLine much less downtown Dallas.

I guess if this line had been built 10-15ish years ago when Addison was a regional draw for partying and the outlying suburbs sucked, then it makes sense. But now, Addison is dead and the suburbs have their own scenes. And again, if they expected this to change in the future, then I could support that. But the 2040 ridership numbers are what are presented, not the 2025 numbers.

That's still why I think if this line has any value, it's for local (within 1-3 stops) commuting, not opening Addison to people who commute from Sachse. But the single track and long headways destroy that too.

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Re: the Cotton Belt line

Postby tanzoak » 03 May 2018 11:04

electricron wrote:Whether ridership is high or low, it gives far more people more options than they have now.


"More options" is basically tautological. Unless a line is built that exactly duplicates an existing line, it will provide more options. The question is whether the new options are useful options, and if so, if their usefulness justifies the cost.

Ridership is the way we primarily judge the usefulness of new options, as a transportation improvement is only a meaningful improvement if it's good enough to use. The line clearly improves travel for some people, as indicated by a ridership of >0, but not for very many. Sure, for many of the people near the line who don't use it, it changes the transit option from "utterly infeasible" to "very bad, still worse than driving", but that's not worth much.

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Re: the Cotton Belt line

Postby tanzoak » 03 May 2018 11:09

Also, just a reminder that projections for new lines in heavily auto-oriented contexts tend to significantly overestimate ridership.

We're good at forecasting the ridership of things like the Second Avenue Subway in Manhattan. We're bad at forecasting the ridership of things like the Cotton Belt, and the published estimates are almost all to the over.

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Re: the Cotton Belt line

Postby Cbdallas » 03 May 2018 11:19

Start this with a dedicated bus system and see where the ridership is in 2040. If it is there then build the fixed line with more stations. Otherwise this is a waste of money and focus for the region.

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Re: the Cotton Belt line

Postby muncien » 03 May 2018 11:31

Cbdallas wrote:Start this with a dedicated bus system and see where the ridership is in 2040. If it is there then build the fixed line with more stations. Otherwise this is a waste of money and focus for the region.


Replacing existing rail with a road for buses doesn't make sense. In fact... With only 30 min headways, they shouldn't even have to replace any track or build flyovers. Just use what you got and create a short passing section at the Carrolton or Addison station. I know DART has dialed back the plans a bit, but they have a ways to go.

Nearly every major city has a decent commuter rail network. DFW does not, and it really should. Building the Cotton Belt on it's own wouldn't accomplish much. But, if done as a greater, regional commuter network, reaching up to Frisco, Denton, down through TRE corridor, plus downtown fortworth and grapevine, and you start to get something useful. Unfortunately, all of these corridors are currently operating independently, or not implemented yet.

Perhaps this is more something for NCTCOG to take on... But saying it is 'useless' is not accurate.
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Re: the Cotton Belt line

Postby tanzoak » 03 May 2018 22:30

muncien wrote:Nearly every major city has a decent commuter rail network. DFW does not, and it really should. Building the Cotton Belt on it's own wouldn't accomplish much. But, if done as a greater, regional commuter network, reaching up to Frisco, Denton, down through TRE corridor, plus downtown fortworth and grapevine, and you start to get something useful. Unfortunately, all of these corridors are currently operating independently, or not implemented yet.

Perhaps this is more something for NCTCOG to take on... But saying it is 'useless' is not accurate.


..there is a line to Denton (DCTA A Train), the TRE exists (which serves downtown Ft Worth), and TexRail is about to open (Grapevine and Ft Worth). So, all we're missing from this network is Frisco.

I'm unclear what bringing everyone under one operator would do. So long as DART and TexRail can cooperate to provide timed transfers, there's not much difference.

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Re: the Cotton Belt line

Postby muncien » 04 May 2018 10:00

tanzoak wrote:
muncien wrote:Nearly every major city has a decent commuter rail network. DFW does not, and it really should. Building the Cotton Belt on it's own wouldn't accomplish much. But, if done as a greater, regional commuter network, reaching up to Frisco, Denton, down through TRE corridor, plus downtown fortworth and grapevine, and you start to get something useful. Unfortunately, all of these corridors are currently operating independently, or not implemented yet.

Perhaps this is more something for NCTCOG to take on... But saying it is 'useless' is not accurate.


..there is a line to Denton (DCTA A Train), the TRE exists (which serves downtown Ft Worth), and TexRail is about to open (Grapevine and Ft Worth). So, all we're missing from this network is Frisco.

I'm unclear what bringing everyone under one operator would do. So long as DART and TexRail can cooperate to provide timed transfers, there's not much difference.


This is exactly what I am referring to. We have these bits and pieces, but unlike most metros, none of them are connected. You should be able to take a train from Downtown Fort Worth up to Frisco... or Denton to City Line, or Downtown Dallas to Legacy West. And with a consolidated regional commuter network, you can create all these routes using the pieces you mentioned, plus the two proposed lines (cotton belt and BNSF) without requiring multiple transfers to the much slower LRT. I am not one for long commutes, but I cannot believe how many of my coworkers are willing to drive 30+ miles each way to work. When you factor in that they are taking toll roads, rising gas prices, and increasing congestion, commuter rail becomes a much more attractive option.
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Re: the Cotton Belt line

Postby tanzoak » 05 May 2018 00:06

muncien wrote:This is exactly what I am referring to. We have these bits and pieces, but unlike most metros, none of them are connected. You should be able to take a train from Downtown Fort Worth up to Frisco... or Denton to City Line, or Downtown Dallas to Legacy West. And with a consolidated regional commuter network, you can create all these routes using the pieces you mentioned, plus the two proposed lines (cotton belt and BNSF) without requiring multiple transfers to the much slower LRT. I am not one for long commutes, but I cannot believe how many of my coworkers are willing to drive 30+ miles each way to work. When you factor in that they are taking toll roads, rising gas prices, and increasing congestion, commuter rail becomes a much more attractive option.


Legacy is surely a missing piece of our rail network.

But though it's unfortunate that DCTA connects at Trinity Mills, while Cotton Belt would connect at Downtown Carrollton, it's not like there's much potential ridership there that's being missed out on. Of the 205,000 workers in all of Denton County, only 8,000 work in Plano, Richardson, or Addison. And most of those are not near rail on one or both ends. Like, it's a couple hundred riders, max, that's being missed. DCTA to TRE is even less of a potential market. Service to our largest and densest job center with the most supportive land uses already has low enough ridership to be of questionable value.

As for "but other cities are doing it".. they're not. The heavily-used commuter rail services (LIRR/MNR/NJT, Metra, SEPTA, MBTA) all provide hub-and-spoke service between the burbs and the CBD. People take them to get to Penn Station/Grand Central/Union Station/etc. Transferring between lines is an infrequent use.

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Re: the Cotton Belt line

Postby PonyUp13 » 05 May 2018 08:59

Tangential question, but, are there plans to extend DCTA into a single train into downtown Dallas? Or, will a transfer to LRT always be required?

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Redblock
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Re: the Cotton Belt line

Postby Redblock » 05 May 2018 19:54

Here is link about three upcoming Public Hearings about the just completed Draft Evironmental Impart Statement.

http://dart.org/about/expansion/cottonbelt.asp

You can download pdfs on many segments.

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Re: the Cotton Belt line

Postby jeffbrown2002 » 06 May 2018 16:25

PonyUp13 wrote:Tangential question, but, are there plans to extend DCTA into a single train into downtown Dallas? Or, will a transfer to LRT always be required?


That would certainly be a nice harken back to the DCTA Commuter Express Bus that once served Downtown Dallas directly.
I'm not aware of any plans, and unfortunately it's currently impossible to just extend the A-Train down because much of the freight track that once ran into Dallas from Denton was removed to make way for the Green Line. To use the same route that DART does into Dallas would require building new freight tracks alongside much of the Green Line which would be highly impractical in the current ROW.

The only possible way I see for the A-Train to serve Downtown Dallas that is still somewhat feasible both logistically and financially is to use the route that's currently envisioned for the Irving-Frisco line (coming down from Trinity Mills through Downtown Carrollton and Las Colinas then sharing the TRE tracks from Irving to Union Station) but admittedly that's a stretch.

Don't get me wrong, a one-seat ride from Downtown Denton to Downtown Dallas would be pretty awesome if all the necessary parts came together.

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Re: the Cotton Belt line

Postby electricron » 07 May 2018 01:12

A routing through Irving could physically be done, but not politically. Downtown Dallas is just too far into Dallas County for a transit agency based upon taxes from Denton County to support. Likewise, it's just as unlikely politically for DART to extend the Green Line into downtown Denton.
I can see DCTA extending their A-Train into downtown Carrolton, if and when the east-west Cotton Belt Line service commences. It's entirely possible the A-Train could turn northeast and follow the BNSF line to Frisco, as parts of both Carrolton and Frisco lie within Denton County. But that will require a political contribution via taxes from Frisco into DCTA's bank account. :)

It's important to acknowledge that DCTA, DART, and FWTA are three different transit agencies collecting taxes from entirely different cities, and that each has tax paying citizens who wish to see transit services provided to them locally. They do not wish to see taexs from Denton County spent in Dallas County, and the same is true vice versa. Dallas is just as far away as Houston as far as citizens of Denton County is concerned.

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Re: the Cotton Belt line

Postby jeffbrown2002 » 07 May 2018 03:32

electricron wrote:It's important to acknowledge that DCTA, DART, and FWTA are three different transit agencies collecting taxes from entirely different cities, and that each has tax paying citizens who wish to see transit services provided to them locally. They do not wish to see taexs from Denton County spent in Dallas County, and the same is true vice versa. Dallas is just as far away as Houston as far as citizens of Denton County is concerned.


That's absolutely true but I would imagine that hurdle could be overcome (if there were any political will for it) with a cooperative agreement between DART and DCTA for trains between Dallas and Denton, similar to how the Trinity Railway Express operates between Dallas and Fort Worth and is funded by both DART and FWTA.

Again it's highly unlikely, for a number of different reasons, but not completely impossible either.


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