[Federal Register Volume 65, Number 214 (Friday, November 3, 2000)]
[Pages 66295-66297]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 00-28302]



Federal Transit Administration

Environmental Impact Statement on the Northwest Corridor--
Carrollton Line Light Rail Transit Project in Dallas, Farmers Branch, 
and Carrollton, TX

AGENCY: Federal Transit Administration, DOT.

ACTION: Notice of Intent to prepare an environmental impact statement.


SUMMARY: The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and Dallas Area Rapid 
Transit (DART) have issued this notice to advise interested agencies 
and the public of their intent to prepare an Environmental Impact 
Statement (EIS) on the proposed Northwest Corridor-Carrollton Line 
Light Rail Transit (LRT) Project in Dallas, Farmers Branch, and 
Carrollton, Texas. The EIS will be prepared in accordance with the 
National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), as amended. The 
Dallas-Fort Worth region is currently designated as a serious non-
attainment area for ozone by the Environmental Protection Agency.
    The Northwest Corridor-Carrollton Line LRT Project is the product 
of the Northwest Corridor Major Investment Study (MIS) completed by 
DART in early 2000. The MIS identified a Locally Preferred Investment 
Strategy (LPIS), which included a light rail element with two service 
lines, the Carrollton Line and the DFW Line. The Carrollton Line is 
being advanced into the EIS phase of project development at this time. 
The DFW Line will be advanced into the EIS process at a later time when 
alignment and land use issues are resolved. A separate EIS is also 
being prepared for

[[Page 66296]]

a DART LRT extension in the Southeast Corridor of the Dallas 
metropolitan area.

DATES: Comment Due Date: Written comments on the scope of the 
alternatives and impacts to be considered should be sent to Kay 
Shelton, Project Manager by December 20, 2000. See ADDRESSES below.
    Scoping Meetings: Three public scoping meetings will be held at the 
following locations and dates. Scoping material will be available at 
the meeting or in advance of the meeting DART and the cities of Dallas, 
Farmers Branch, and Carrollton will conduct public scoping meetings on 
the following dates and at the following locations:

Tuesday, December 5, 2000, 6:30 p.m., Bachman Recreation Center, 2750 
Bachman Drive, Dallas, Texas
Thursday, December 7, 6:30 p.m., Farmers Branch Elementary School, 
13521 Tom Field Road, Farmers Branch, Texas
Friday, December 8, 10 a.m.-1 p.m., DART Board Room, 1401 Pacific 
Avenue, Dallas, Texas
    Interagency Coordination Meeting: DART will conduct an interagency 
coordination meeting with appropriate federal, state, and local 
agencies on the following date and at the following location: 
Wednesday, December 6, 2000, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., DART Board Conference 
Room 1-C, 1401 Pacific Avenue, Dallas, Texas

ADDRESSES: Written comments on the project scope should be sent to Kay 
Shelton, DART Planning, P.O Box 660163, 1401 Pacific Avenue, Dallas, 
Texas 75266-7213. Telephone (214) 749-2841, Fax (214) 749-3662, E-mail: 
[email protected].

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Jesse Balleza, Community Planner, 
Federal Transit Administration, Region VI; Telephone (817) 978-0550.


I. Scoping

    The FTA and DART invite interested individuals, organizations, and 
federal, state, and local agencies to participate in refining the 
Carrollton LRT Line, including alignment and station locations. 
Comments should focus on identifying any significant social, economic, 
or environmental issues related to the alignment. Specific suggestions 
related to additional alternatives to be examined and issues to be 
addressed are welcome and will be considered in the final scope for the 
project. Scoping comments may be made at the scoping meetings or in 
writing no later than December 20, 2000. (see DATES and ADDRESSES 
    Scoping comments should focus on identifying specific social, 
economic, or environmental impacts to be evaluated, and suggesting 
alternatives that are less costly or less environmentally damaging, 
which achieve similar transit objectives. Comments should focus on the 
issues and alternatives for analysis, and not on a preference for a 
particular alternative. Additional information on the EIS process, 
alternatives, and impact issues to be addressed will be included in the 
``Scoping Information Document''. Copies of the document will be 
available from DART immediately prior to the scoping meetings (see 

II. Description of Study Area and Project Need

    The Northwest Corridor Study Area includes a large part of 
northwest Dallas County. It extends from downtown Dallas on the south, 
to SH 121 on the west and north, to east of Marsh Lane and IH 35E on 
the east. The Major Investment Study's Locally Preferred Investment 
Strategy (LPIS) includes two rail lines, the D/FW Line and the 
Carrollton Line. Each of the two rail lines has independent utility in 
meeting transportation needs of the Study Area. The Carrollton Line is 
being advanced now into the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) phase. 
The D/FW Line will be advanced into the EIS phase at a later time when 
land use and alignment issues are resolved.
    The Northwest Corridor Major Investment Study defined and evaluated 
a range of project alternatives using a 4-step evaluation process. In 
addition to the No Build Alternative, a Transportation Systems 
Management (TSM) Alternative, Commuter Rail Alternatives, several 
variations of Light Rail Transit (LRT) Alternatives, and some 
alternatives that combined both LRT and Commuter Rail were considered. 
Based on work group and public input, and based on the technical 
analysis, the above-described build alternative was selected. While 
some alignment refinements will continue for the LPIS, the other 
alternatives considered during the MIS were dropped from further 
consideration. The EIS will consider the No Build Alternative in 
addition to Carrollton LRT Line as the Build Alternative (see 
    The proposed project for environmental review consists of a light 
rail transit (LRT) line of approximately 17 miles. The LRT alignment 
begins in downtown Dallas and extends north from the existing LRT 
transitway mall beginning at a point between the West End Station and 
Union Station. The alignment will utilize a portion of the former Union 
Pacific Railroad (UPRR) right-of-way, sharing the corridor with Trinity 
Railway Express (TRE) commuter rail and freight rail operations between 
downtown Dallas and approximately Wycliff Avenue. The proposed LRT 
alignment crosses over Market Center Boulevard, continuing in the 
median of Harry Hines Boulevard. North of Inwood Road the LRT alignment 
turns east along Bomar Street and north at Denton Drive, then crosses 
under Mockingbird Lane near Denton Drive. Alignment options to serve 
Love Field will be considered during the EIS process, including 
continuing north on the former UPRR ROW, or an alignment that provides 
more direct access to the Love Field passenger terminal. North of Love 
Field, the alignment follows the UPRR ROW north through the cities of 
Farmers Branch and Carrollton, terminating in the vicinity of Frankford 
    Eleven stations are proposed in the following vicinities: the new 
American Airlines Center (Victory), Market Center, Medical Center, 
Mockingbird/Love Field, Northwest Highway/Bachman Lake, Walnut Hill, 
Royal, Farmers Branch Park-and-Ride, Belt Line/Old Downtown Carrollton, 
North Carrollton Transit Center, and Frankford Road. The Carrollton 
Line and its associated stations provides the opportunity to serve 
several important regional activity centers, including downtown Dallas, 
American Airlines Center (Victory), the Stemmons (IH 35E)/Market Center 
business area, Medical Center area, Love Field Airport, and the 
suburban cities of Farmers Branch and Carrollton. The proposed rail 
line will provide numerous opportunities to interconnect the region's 
transit services, including DART's expanding LRT system, the Trinity 
Railway Express commuter rail operation, and DART's local and express 
bus service.
    The corridor parallels IH 35E, one of the most congested highway 
corridors in the region. Regional growth has added to this congestion, 
especially employment growth in Dallas County, and population growth in 
northern Dallas, northeast Tarrant, and Denton Counties. In 2020, the 
northwest quadrant of Dallas County will account for 33.6 percent of 
employment in the entire Dallas-Fort Worth region. While covering only 
6.4 percent of the region's land area, the study area is a large net 
importer of employees. In 1995, employment outnumbered population by 
over 200,000 jobs. In 2020, the surplus of jobs over population is 
expected to grow to more than 336,000.

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Land use in the corridor consists of a major concentration of 
employment with residential uses occurring east of IH 35E and in the 
northern portions of the Study Area. Industrial and commercial land 
uses are primarily confined to land adjacent to IH 35E. Traffic volumes 
on IH 35E parallel to the Carrollton LRT Line are expected to be more 
than 300,000 vehicles per day in 2020, an increase of 30 percent from 
1995 levels. The EPA has designated the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan 
area as a ``serious'' non-attainment area for the pollutant ozone.
    The proposed LRT project is part of a multi-modal strategy that 
also incorporates bus service refinements, highway and HOV lane 
improvements, Transportation System Management/Travel Demand Management 
(TSM/TDM), and bicycle and pedestrian improvements. This strategy was 
developed during the preparation of the Northwest Corridor MIS 
completed by DART in early 2000.

III. Alternatives

    The transportation alternatives proposed for consideration in this 
project area include:
    No-Build Alternative--The No-Build Alternative involves no change 
to transportation services or facilities in the corridor beyond already 
committed projects.
    Build Alternative--The Carrollton Line LRT project is approximately 
17 miles in length and extends from the downtown Dallas West End area 
to Frankford Road in Carrollton. The alignment will use the former UPRR 
ROW, purchased by DART for future transit use in 1990, and surface 
streets where required to make key connections. The project will 
connect with the existing LRT system in the West End area of downtown 
and will operate in a shared use corridor with freight traffic and 
Trinity Railway Express commuter rail traffic for a distance of 
approximately two miles. The alignment will use a combination of 
surface streets and UPRR right-of-way in order to serve the Medical 
Center area and the Love Field environs (approximately three miles). 
North of the Love Field area, the alignment remains within the UPRR 
right-of-way to Frankford Road (12 miles). Where the alignment is 
within the UPRR right-of-way there will be potential shared use with 
freight traffic. Eleven (11) LRT Stations have been identified for 
service access. Two significant design options have been identified for 
evaluation during the EIS process: (1) Griffin alignment: an alignment 
between the proposed Victory Station and the Downtown Transit Mall via 
Griffin Street; and (2) Love Field: an alternative alignment to serve 
Love Field has been proposed, swinging east of the UPRR right-of-way 
and entering the Love Field Terminal area east of Cedar Springs Road.

IV. Probable Effects

    The FTA and DART will evaluate all significant environmental, 
social, and economic impacts of the alternatives analyzed in the EIS. 
Impact areas to be addressed include: land use, zoning, and economic 
development; secondary development; land acquisition, displacements, 
and relocation of existing uses; historic, archaeological, and cultural 
resources; parklands and recreation areas; visual and aesthetic 
qualities; neighborhoods and communities; environmental justice; air 
quality; noise and vibration; hazardous materials; ecosystems; water 
resources; energy; safety and security; utilities; traffic and 
transportation impacts. Potential impacts will be assessed for the 
long-term operation of each alternative and the short-term construction 
period. Measures to avoid, minimize, or mitigate any significant 
adverse impacts will be identified.

V. FTA Procedures

    The EIS process will be performed in accordance with applicable 
laws and Federal Transit Administration regulations and guidelines for 
preparing an Environmental Impact Statement. The impacts of the project 
will be assessed, and, if necessary, the scope of the project will be 
revised or refined to minimize and mitigate any adverse impacts. After 
its publication, the draft EIS will be available for public review and 
comment. One or more public hearings will be held during the draft EIS 
public comment period. On the basis of the draft EIS and comments 
received, the project will be revised or further refined as necessary 
and the final EIS prepared.

    Issued on: October 30, 2000.
Robert C. Patrick,
Regional Administrator.
[FR Doc. 00-28302 Filed 11-2-00; 8:45 am]