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Federal Grant to Boost North Texas Transit-Oriented Development Planning

North Texas’ efforts to improve transit-oriented development (TOD) have received a $1.4 million boost. The Federal Transit Administration awarded the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) a planning grant to help the region enhance accessibility to 28 Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) stations along the system’s Blue and Red lines.

NCTCOG is leading the effort, partnering with Dallas, Garland, Plano and Richardson in addition to DART. Various Red and Blue Line stations were eligible for this grant, as they are required to be part of an FTA Capital Investment Grant.

The grant will focus on “last mile” accessibility to transit and parking needs around the stations. For example, filling in missing sidewalks and making pedestrian crossings safer can make it easier for pedestrians to access rail stations. The outcome should be a better understanding of the bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure needs at each station and a plan to address them.

The second element of the plan is a study at select TODs to help planners understand how parking is utilized. The results can inform local policies on parking provisions and allow better management of the parking supply in support of transit-oriented land uses. Additionally, stations may have opened with abundant parking, some of which could be redeveloped to offer TOD.

A third component of the plan is a survey, which will be sent to residents and employers, that seeks information on transit use in the study area, as well as residents’ transportation preferences.

The study tasks are expected to be completed in two years. The results aim to inform future policies and investments in infrastructure, mixed-use development and improved transit connections for bicyclists and pedestrians.

The study’s transit station areas are economically diverse and include some of the original DART stations, which provide opportunities to learn from TOD success stories and replicate them in other transit station areas in the regional rail system. This grant could help the region improve access to transit, jobs and educational institutions for residents who depend on public transportation to get to work, medical appointments and other needs. It could also benefit people who prefer transit and active transportation options as alternatives to driving alone.

NCTCOG will pay $300,000 of the $350,000 required match, with DART contributing the remaining $50,000. NCTCOG is one of 16 organizations nationwide that will share $14.7 million to improve public-transit access as part of the FTA’s Transit-Oriented Development Planning Pilot Project.

For more information, visit http://www.nctcog.org/trans/sustdev/tod/.

About the North Central Texas Council of Governments:

NCTCOG is a voluntary association of local governments established in 1966 to assist local governments in planning for common needs, cooperating for mutual benefit and coordinating for sound regional development. NCTCOG's purpose is to strengthen both the individual and collective power of local governments and to help them recognize regional opportunities, eliminate unnecessary duplication and make joint decisions.

NCTCOG serves a 16-county region of North Central Texas, which is centered on the two urban centers of Dallas and Fort Worth. Currently, NCTCOG has 238 member governments including 16 counties, 169 cities, 22 school districts and 31 special districts. For more information on the NCTCOG Transportation Department, visit www.nctcog.org/trans.