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Mobility Matters - Images of a freight truck traveling on a highway, downtown Fort Worth, a TRE locomotive, downtown Dallas skyline and highway traffic; Celebrating 35 Years of Regional Transportation Excellence, 1974 - 2009

Future Bright for N. Texas Aviation
Push Toward Cleaner Air Involves Everyone
      A Message from Michael Morris, Transportation Director

Cedar Hill Mayor is Optimistic About the Region
     Member Profile, Rob Franke, Mayor, City of Cedar Hill
After 40 Years, Key Road is Coming
NCTCOG Hopes to Open New Window with YouTube Channel
Streetcar on Track for Dallas Return
Art Contest Winner Crowned

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After 40 Years, Key Road is Coming

When Cleburne Mayor Justin Hewlett was a teenager, he remembers his father, a city councilmember, coming home one night and talking about a road that would connect the Johnson County seat to Fort Worth.

That was 1973.

“I remember thinking, ‘Wow, if this road is built, in two years, when I get my license, it will give me another way to get up to Fort Worth. Now I hope to be driving on it before they take my license away,” Hewlett joked.

He won’t have to wait that long.

Residents, business leaders and public officials, some of whom had waited 40 years for the project to take shape, celebrated the groundbreaking of Chisholm Trail Parkway in December at separate events in Fort Worth and Cleburne.

 

Photo: Chisholm Trail Parkway construction

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Many projects have been completed since the 28-mile roadway began showing up on thoroughfare plans some four decades ago. But one thing has remained the same – the dream of people living and working along the corridor that they would one day have a direct route to Fort Worth, Cleburne or in between.

That dream could become reality by mid-2014. That’s when the North Texas Tollway Authority plans to complete Chisholm Trail Parkway, the first road the agency will build in Tarrant and Johnson counties.

A common theme emerged from the beginning at the Cleburne event – cooperation. NTTA will build the road, but without the coordination of many local, state and federal partners, the project would likely still be in the discussion phase. NTTA, the Texas Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, Regional Transportation Council, Johnson and Tarrant counties, and the cities along the corridor were all instrumental in the project moving from concept to construction.

“This is one of the most important events for this area since the railroad came to Cleburne,” said Johnson County Judge Roger Harmon, an RTC member.

“And I believe that you’re going to see a tremendous change in the Johnson County area because of this.”

Officials praised the project for the expected boost to business and quality of life it will provide. It will make trips between Tarrant and Johnson counties quicker and easier, as drivers will no longer have to endure the numerous traffic lights on State Highway 174. Instead, they will have a direct route, reducing drive time and paving the way for business expansion.

Pieces of Chisholm Trail Parkway have been under way since 2010, with work on interchanges at Interstate Highway 20 and US Highway 67, and a Hulen Street bridge over the Davidson railroad yard. But now the work connecting these pieces and the communities in between has finally begun. And NTTA is listening to the concerns of residents and business leaders, holding regular meetings to discuss the project and address the public’s concerns.

Still, those residents and businesses will have to deal with the inconveniences that accompany major construction projects for the next 2 years. But that’s a small price to pay, especially for those who have waited more than 40 years for the road’s arrival.

Soon, there will be a different route from Cleburne to Fort Worth.

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NCTCOG Hopes to Open New Window with YouTube Channel

The North Central Texas Council of Governments Transportation Department recently established a YouTube channel, which will be used to further enhance communication with the public.

Logo: YouTube  

The Transportation Department plans to periodically post videos illustrating aspects of its role as the region’s metropolitan planning organization. The channel will serve as a resource to illustrate the transportation planning process to the growing region.

It’s hard to miss the many construction projects going on throughout Dallas-Fort Worth. But construction is just one phase of a multipronged approach to transportation planning. Before the first shovel of dirt is turned, a project must go through an extensive planning process, which includes public involvement and an environmental review.

Air quality is an essential component of any transportation project in the Dallas-Fort Worth area because nine counties are classified as being in ozone nonattainment. This requires transportation projects to proceed without harming air quality.

YouTube is the latest tool used to carry on a dialogue with the public about transportation, whether it’s the entire system or a specific project that aims to make trips around the region more reliable.

As with Facebook and Twitter, which the department has been on since 2010, public participation is crucial to success.

Residents are encouraged to watch the posted videos and invited to comment and ask questions. Recommendations for future videos are also welcome.

To watch the department’s videos, visit www.youtube.com/nctcogtrans.

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Streetcar on Track for Dallas Return

Dallas is turning back the clock as it looks for alternatives to cars and trucks to move people around the congested downtown area.

Streetcars will soon make their return to Dallas with construction on a 1.6-mile starter line now closer after the Federal Transit Administration environmentally cleared the project. And innovation is driving the development of this decades-old transportation mode.

 

The Dallas streetcar project received a $23 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant to fund much of the $35 milllion project. The remaining $12 million will be covered by regional toll funds received when the North Texas Tollway Authority agreed to build and maintain State Highway 121 through fast-growing Collin and Denton counties, in the northern part of the 12-county region.

Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) will use its extensive experience as a transit operator to build and manage the line, while the city of Dallas owns the assets and the North Central Texas Council of Governments serves as the federal grantee, making sure the money gets to the right places.

The line is part of the city of Dallas’ comprehensive plan update and is intended to aid the redevelopment of downtown and provide a key connection between the city center and surrounding neighborhoods.

Planners believe this is the beginning of a rebirth and by no means the completion of the vision established by streetcar proponents. The region wants a larger system, but this is what it can afford now.

In a time characterized by tight budgets, the Dallas streetcar project is set to be built thanks to the cooperative effort of three local agencies, the city of Dallas, NCTCOG and DART.

The streetcar system now moves toward final design and construction. DART will soon seek a design/build contractor and begin purchasing streetcar vehicles. The project will provide a link between the downtown core and the neighborhood of north Oak Cliff via the Houston Street Viaduct over the Trinity River and offer easy connection to other transit options at Union Station.

With another transportation option and improved connectivity, access to employment, education and entertainment centers is enhanced, and the city benefits.

With an intense focus on doing more with less, funding projects has become more difficult. Governments have to look at multiple sources for the money to provide improvements residents are asking for. With TIGER grants, the federal government is helping advance these projects, many of which may have otherwise been placed on the backburner.

Residents will always rely heavily on cars and trucks to move throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth area, but the rebirth of the streetcar in Dallas will provide them with one more option. And perhaps more important, it will give the region a model for future transportation projects – one that depends on the expertise of multiple agencies working together to deliver an improvement that makes it easier for people to access jobs and education without having to fight traffic themselves.

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Progress North Texas art contest winner

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Art Contest Winner Crowned

Congratulations to Que’Andrae Watson, the winner of the NCTCOG Transportation Department’s inaugural Progress North Texas art contest. The Department recently partnered with Fort Worth ISD to hold the contest to help determine the design of Progress North Texas 2012: A Picture of the State of Transportation in the Dallas- Fort Worth Metropolitan Area.

The students were asked how they think we will travel around the region in 2035, and Watson’s was judged the best by a panel of NCTCOG staff members, Regional Transportation Council officers and art instructors. The department received dozens of entries.

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Mobility Matters is prepared in cooperation with the Texas Department of Transportation and the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration and Federal Transit Administration. The contents of this report reflect the views of the authors who are responsible for the opinions, findings and conclusions presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Federal Highway Administration, the Federal Transit Administration or the Texas Department of Transportation.

10/31/2016 03/17/2009 JS

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