By Monty Miller Jr - Staff Writer - Denton Record Chronicle - Tuesday, June 26, 2007
The Denton County Transportation Authority reached another milestone recently in its quest to bring a high-speed regional commuter rail system to Denton County when it announced the final site for a north Lewisville rail station.
The new site will be on the east side of Interstate 35E at Garden Ridge Boulevard. The other option was to put the station at FM407, but that proposition was defeated, said transportation authority spokeswoman Dee Leggett.
“It had been a toss up between 407 and Garden Ridge,” she said. “But, what really tipped the scales for Garden Ridge was the city of Lewisville and the city of Highland Village both wanted it at Garden Ridge.”
Only the site has been approved as of now, Leggett said. The design phase is ongoing and should last through 2007 and into 2008, with construction beginning by spring 2009.
The final design and construction timetable ultimately will depend on the Texas Department of Transportation’s plan to expand I-35E, Leggett said.
Lewisville Mayor Gene Carey said the Garden Ridge location was the optimum.
“That’s where our hearts kind of lay,” he said. “It’s close to the lake and that’s a big economic area for us and Highland Village.”
The DCTA has already announced there will be two stations in Denton. One will be in downtown, most likely in the area east of Bell Avenue between Sycamore and Hickory streets, and the second in the south somewhere between Denton Regional Medical Center and Golden Triangle Mall along I-35E. The sites have not yet been finalized
Two other stations are planned for the Lewisville area as well — one in the city’s downtown and another on the city’s south side.
A sixth station is planned for Carrollton, where the DCTA rail will hook up with Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) system.
Since 2002, the transportation authority has been studying the effect that a passenger rail system would have on Denton County, and in 2003, voters approved a one-half percent local sales tax to fund public transportation projects.
The transportation authority’s ultimate goal is to develop a commuter rail line between Denton and Carrollton that will connect to the DART line that stops in Carrollton. The line is meant to alleviate traffic congestion on I-35E and improve air quality.
Transportation authority officials hope to begin rail service to Lewisville as early as 2010, with service to Denton not likely until 2013.