Cotton Belt line projected to save 3,800 hours of daily congestion delays, report says

Dallas Area Rapid Transit's Cotton Belt line is expected to become operational in 2022.

Dallas Area Rapid Transit's Cotton Belt line is expected to become operational in 2022.

A future east-west running rail may offer more than an easy commute between Plano and the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport—it could greatly reduce congestion in North Texas, according to a report from Dallas Area Rapid Transit.

After releasing its draft of a months-long environmental impact statement, DART reports that it expects the Cotton Belt line will shave off 80,000 vehicle miles traveled per day by 2040, and save 3,800 hours of daily congestion delays.

Those projected miles and hours saved on the road come as part of an overall estimate that the Cotton Belt line will service 12,010 daily riders by 2040—connecting riders from as far as east Plano to the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport in roughly an hour, according to the environmental report.

The city of Plano has determined five of the proposed Cotton Belt stations would service Plano residents: the Addison transit center, Coit road station, a station at the University of Texas at Dallas and the 12th Street and Shiloh Road stations.

The statement's release on April 20 came nearly a month after the Plano City Council approved a resolution in support of the construction of the Coit Road station on March 26.

City of Plano Director of special projects Peter Braster said the station would primarily service portions of west Plano, including the Legacy business area, which has seen the addition of thousands of commuters as corporations like Toyota and Liberty Mutual have opened their corporate offices.

But some members of the Dallas City Council are not as eager to see the construction of the Coit Road station.

“Dallas does not want a station [at Coit],” Dallas City Council Member Sandy Greyson said at a March 27 DART board meeting. “So why is it on your plan? Apparently because Plano and Richardson want a station on Coit. But Dallas doesn’t tell Plano or Richardson where to put stations in their cities, and we would expect the same courtesy in return.”

However, the removal of that station, Braster said, could increase the potential travel time for people falling inside the city’s designated Coit Road station service area.

But with stations still planned for Addison and the University of Texas at Dallas, the impact of removing the Coit station would only add a few minutes to motorist’s travel times to the Addison and UTD stations, Braster said.

DART is soliciting feedback from area residents regarding its environmental impact statement through a series of public comment sessions throughout North Texas. Locations and times for the public comment session are available on DART's website.
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By Gavin Pugh

After reporting for Community Impact Newspaper's Plano paper for over two years, Gavin launched the Coppell, Valley Ranch and Las Colinas edition in October 2019. As editor, Gavin's beat includes transportation, municipal government, education and Dallas Area Rapid Transit.


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