D2 SUBWAY FINAL EIS/RECORD OF DECISION AND 30% DESIGN COMPLETE
On April 9, 2021, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), in cooperation with DART issued the notice of availability of the D2 Subway Final Environmental Impact Statement/Record of Decision (FEIS/ROD) along with the 30% design to the public, stakeholders, and agencies. The FEIS/ROD includes responses to comments from the public and agency review of the Supplemental Draft EIS (SDEIS). After taking into consideration the feedback from residents, business owners, developers and agency staff, a few changes have been made to the project to enhance access and minimize impacts.
The completion of the FEIS/ROD environmentally clears the project so it can continue to advance into the next stage of development. DART has been working closely with FTA to position the project for federal funding as a core capacity project, and entry into the next phase of the Capital Investment Grant (CIG) program known as Engineering. Along with a detailed "readiness review" by FTA, the completion of the FEIS/ROD is a key requirement to allow the project to be evaluated for entry into the Engineering phase. This review process can take 6-9 months; thus, entry into Engineering is not expected until late 2021. Once approved into Engineering, DART will advance the project through detailed design and construction. Public, agency and stakeholder involvement will continue to be integral to the process.
Dallas City Council Resolution and East End Evaluation Process
On March 24, 2021, the Dallas City Council approved a resolution to advance the D2 Subway, including support to issue the FEIS/ROD and submit the Project to FTA for review. The resolution also supports adding the project the DART Service Plan, subject to additional evaluation of project refinements, enhancements and/or modifications along the east end of the project (referred to as Zone B). Zone B concerns relate to opposition by the Deep Ellum Foundation and impacted property owners. Additionally, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) I-345 Feasibility Study is still in progress and more coordination is desired as they work towards a preferred alternative by the end of 2021.
Continued Dallas City Council support is subject to a mutual binding interlocal agreement(s) by and between the City, DART, the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG), and TxDOT, as well as a subsequent City Council resolution no later than March 2022. Thus, all four agencies will be working closely together over the next several months to evaluate potential east end refinements, enhancements and/or modifications to address community concerns and optimize interface with future I-345 design options. The public and downtown stakeholders will be engaged throughout the process at key milestones prior to a technical recommendation.
If any refinements, enhancements and/or modifications are mutually agreed upon by all agencies, including the DART Board, DART will work with the FTA to address any implications to a future Federal grant agreement, prepare any supporting environmental documentation, and integrate changes into the Engineering phase. The magnitude of the changes will determine what type of documentation is needed.
D2 Subway Animation Video
An animation for two of the D2 Subway stations, Metro Center and Commerce, was prepared in 2020 to help the public and stakeholders visualize the design concepts. DART has built upon this to include animations for the Museum Way, CBD East and Live Oak Station areas.
D2 SUBWAY PROJECT SCHEDULE
The DART Board approved the FY21 20-Year Financial Plan in September 2020. The D2 Subway remains in the plan assuming an approximate 50% federal grant. The DART Board will be considering financial plan amendments to update the budget, grant share, and revenue service date based on the project status and project delivery. A final schedule will be developed over the next year with the DART Board and FTA.
WHAT IS THE D2 SUBWAY?
The D2 Subway project is a future second light rail line through downtown Dallas that extends from Victory Park to Deep Ellum. DART began planning for D2 in 2007. Since then, several studies and planning efforts have been completed (see below for PROJECT HISTORY AND BACKGROUND). The most recent efforts resulted in both the Dallas City Council and the DART Board of Directors approving the D2 Subway Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA) in September 2017. The D2 Subway alignment is shown below. The alignment has been refined since 2017 due to more detailed engineering and environmental information, as well as public input. DART has completed 30% Preliminary Engineering (PE) and the FTA issued the Final Environmental Impact Statement/Record of Decision (FEIS/ROD) in April 2021.
D2 Subway Summary (March 2021) (PDF file opens in a new window) - This summary outlines the need for and benefits of the project and addresses some of the frequently asked questions about funding.
D2 Subway Locally Preferred Alternative - Commerce via Victory/Swiss
The Project alignment begins south of Victory Station. It moves south through a switch off the existing railroad alignment and then proceeds in a southeasterly direction along DART-owned right-of-way within Victory Park within the median of Museum Way and through the parking lot on the west side of the Perot Museum of Nature and Science. Adjacent to the Perot Museum will be an at-grade light rail station (Museum Way Station). After leaving the station southbound, the alignment crosses under Woodall Rodgers Freeway at street level, and then begins its transition underground. The alignment enters a property currently occupied by a parking lot and descends into a tunnel within the portal. The alignment remains underground through the core of Downtown until it reaches IH 345 on the east end of Downtown. After passing under Hord Street near the Dallas World Aquarium, the alignment turns under Griffin Street. Between San Jacinto Avenue and Elm Street would be an underground station (Metro Center Station). This station would provide the ability to transfer to the West Transfer Center, Rosa Parks Plaza, and the West End and Akard light rail stations.
After crossing under Main Street, the alignment turns east under Belo Garden and continues under Commerce Street. While under Commerce, another underground station is planned approximately between Akard and Ervay Streets (Commerce Station). After passing under Harwood Street, the alignment turns northeast and diagonally across surface parking lots and between buildings. There would another underground station (CBD East Station) between Main Street and Pacific Avenue. This station would provide opportunities to transfer to buses at the East Transfer Center.
After passing under Cesar Chavez Boulevard the alignment would begin the transition back to the surface. This transition or portal would be under IH 345 and south of and parallel to Swiss Avenue. The portal and transition ends just west of Hawkins Street. Immediately east of where it resurfaces, the alignment arrives at a switch that allows trains to travel either north or south along rebuilt Good Latimer tracks.
As noted above, DART in cooperation with the City of Dallas, NCTCOG and TxDOT, is evaluating potential refinements, enhancements and/or modifications in the east end of the corridor.
The Project introduces four new stations and one relocated station including: one surface station (Museum Way), three underground stations (Metro Center, Commerce, and CBD East) and the relocated Deep Ellum Station from just north of Gaston Avenue to just south of Live Oak Street (now referred to as Live Oak Station). The underground stations would be accessed by stairs, elevators and/or escalators, depending on space availability. The access points would be provided in new buildings, open spaces downtown, within the sidewalks or incorporated into existing buildings. The underground station infrastructure will also include emergency egress and ventilation shafts.
The existing downtown light rail line is the at-grade Bryan/Pacific Transitway mall. The D2 Subway will help to ensure the sustainability of the DART system by providing needed capacity and improving system reliability and passenger service through downtown Dallas. Reliance upon one single LRT transit route through downtown constrains the ability of both DART and the region to implement additional radial light rail line projects or increase service levels on all existing radial light rail lines. Dependence on one single downtown mall also increases the risk for system wide service disruption due to incidents on the mall, such as traffic accidents and closure of the mall due to fire in adjacent buildings. Learn more about the importance of D2 HERE.
Once in place, DART proposes to reroute the Green and Orange Lines to the D2 Subway. The Red and Blue Lines would remain on the existing Transit Mall. Rerouting the Orange and Green lines will free up capacity on both downtown lines so that DART can insert additional train service to meet increasing ridership demands.
FTA PROJECT DEVELOPMENT PROCESS
DART is following the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) process. The first phase is a two-year process called Project Development (PD) to complete Preliminary Engineering (PE) to support an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). FTA approved the original PD schedule based on the approval of the September 2015 LPA (see PROJECT HISTORY AND BACKGROUND), and anticipated that PD would be complete by November 2017. With the change in direction in Fall 2016 to pursue a subway option, and approval of the new D2 Subway LPA in September 2017, DART requested that PD be extended by two years to November 2019. In March 2018, FTA denied the extension. Thus, DART continued the PD process locally with FTA oversight. DART will resubmit the project to enter the FTA Engineering phase in mid-2021.
D2 Subway Project Development phase was estimated to take approximately 24-months through late 2020. The Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement (SDEIS) was completed in May 2020 and assessed the benefits, impacts and costs of the project is a major milestone. The SDEIS built upon and updated the 2010 DEIS (see PROJECT HISTORY AND BACKGROUND). Based on the SDEIS and public input a Final EIS (FEIS) was prepared. The combined Final EIS/Record of Decision (FEIS/ROD) outlines mitigation commitments to address identified impacts. A mitigation monitoring program is being prepared and will be put in place as the project proceeds into Engineering and Construction.
FTA Project Development Process
D2 SUBWAY PROJECT DEVELOPMENT MEETINGS
Several meetings have been held during the Project Development Phase of the D2 Subway Project., Below is a list of key meetings, where each meeting notation contains a link to a PDF file that contains meeting-specific information. The information varies by type of meeting. Please subscribe here to stay informed.
DART is in the process of evaluating project delivery methods and is preparing an industry memorandum to outline future opportunities and a planned future symposium related to the project. If your firm is interested in future design and construction opportunities for the D2 Subway project, please contact Vonda Thomas in DART Procurement at [email protected] for more information.
D2 is proposed as part of a program of interrelated projects aimed to improve capacity of the system and access and circulation in the downtown core. In addition to the D2 Subway, DART is advancing the Red and Blue Line Platform Extensions project, which entails modifications at 28 stations on the Red and Blue Lines to accommodate longer trains. This project is under construction and scheduled for completion in 2022.
DART is also supporting the City of Dallas in planning for the Dallas Streetcar Central Link to connect the Union Station/Convention Center area to the McKinney Avenue Trolley (M-Line) in uptown near Klyde Warren Park. The Dallas City Council approved the Elm/Commerce alignment as the LPA for the Central Link on September 13, 2017 concurrent with their approval of the D2 Subway. DART is coordinating with the City of Dallas on next steps, including future entry into Project Development under the FTA Small Starts program. The project schedule is pending additional streetcar system planning and a decision by the City to potentially advance the Convention Center Loop project early.
PROJECT HISTORY AND BACKGROUND
DART began planning for D2 in 2007. Since then, several studies and planning efforts have been completed (see below) which led to approval of a mostly at-grade Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA) in September 2015. DART initiated Project Development (PD) for that LPA in November 2015, which included early preliminary engineering (PE) and preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). During summer 2016, there were community concerns with the alignment and requests from the City of Dallas and key stakeholders to pursue a subway option. As a result, on October 25, 2016, the Board of Directors approved the FY17 Financial Plan, which doubled the project budget to $1.3 billion for development of a D2 Subway. Based on this action, DART initiated a LPA Refinement Phase in December 2016. This refinement phase entailed significant coordination with technical staff and downtown stakeholders, and resulted in both the Dallas City Council and the DART Board of Directors approving the D2 Subway LPA in September 2017.
To learn more about project history click on the links below: