You Should Care about DART Ridership
DART rail projects are expanding and it’s a good thing. Since DART debuted light rail in 1996, more than $5.3B in private—capital transit-oriented development projects have been built, are under construction, or are planned near Dallas Area Rapid Transit's light rail stations. Additionally, office properties located within 0.25 mile of a station command an average 13.9% higher lease rate, says DART prez/executive director Gary Thomas (right, with DART board chairman John Carter Danish). Additionally, he tells us that the DART bus and rail system provides about 250,000 trips every weekday. (No word on how many of those trips include losing cell phones.)
Developers have announced plans to build roughly $3.8B in mixed-use projects (with 8,500 multifamily units, as well as several million square feet of office and retail space) near DART rail stations over the next decade, Gary says. Utilizing data from the Xceligent, researchers at UNT looked at stations that opened between 1996 and 2002—through the Garland, Richardson, and Plano extensions—and found the premium held through the recession and recovery periods of 2008 to 2012. (Rendered is the State Farm project, which is located within walking distance of a DART station.)
The latest expansions of the light rail include the blue line to the South Oak Cliff corridor to the University of North Texas Dallas campus. The two stations—a Camp Wisdom station and a UNT station—are part of an almost three-mile extension from Ledbetter Station to the UNT Dallas campus with the early stages of construction leading to an opening in late 2016, three years ahead of the previously scheduled 2019 opening. (Why wait?) Additionally, the Orange Line will lead to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport in August.