The LBJ-Skillman is on DART's light rail system on the Blue Line, and includes a major bus transfer terminal as well. The project included vehicle access ramps, new roadway infrastructure, the widening of the Miller Road bridge, and a new frontage road. However, the planned TOD here has not yet been developed.
Project Type:Station Project Mode:Light Rail Average Weekday Riders:1,186 Length (mi):1.25
Project Flags:Intermodal Economic Distress:1.13 Population Density (ppl/sq mi):2658 Population Growth Rate (%):0.64
Employment Growth Rate (%):-0.14 Market Size:1,772,930 Airport Travel Distance:13 Topography:4
Region:Southwest State:TX County:Dallas
City:Dallas Urban/Class Level:Metro Local Area:Dallas
Impact Area:County Transportation System:N/A GIS Lat/Long:32.897892 / -96.711763
Initial Study Date:2001 Post Constr. Study Date:2007
Constr. Start Date:1999 Constr. End Date:2002
Project Year of Expenditure (YOE): 2001 Planned Cost (YOE $):N/A
Actual Cost (YOE $):85,400,000 Actual Cost (curr $):112,334,996
Intermodal Actual Cost (YOE $): 81,400,000Intermodal Actual Cost (curr $): 107,073,404
Highway Road Access Improvement Cost (YOE $): 4,000,000Highway Road Access Improvement Cost (curr $): 5,261,592
Average Annual Daily Traffic: 370,000Number of Parking Spaces: 654
NOTE: All pre/post dollar values are in 2013$
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NOTE: All impact dollar values are in 2013$
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Completed at a cost of $85.4 million the LBJ Skillman Station of the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) system, was the first light rail stop to reach beyond the LBJ Freeway (I-635), Dallas' inner loop highway. The stop included numerous roadway improvements to allow vehicular access toI-635. The 50-acre transit oriented development site surrounding the station has not yet been developed due to a number of factors, including difficult pedestrian access to the site. Planning studies that lay out a vision for the site are expected to commence in the near future. This is expected to include a mix of residential and commercial uses as well as pedestrian enhancements to the site.
2.1 Location & Transportation Connections
The LBJ-Skillman DART Station is located on an access road on the eastern side of the LBJ Freeway in the northeastern part of the City of Dallas, not far from the City of Garland, a populous post-World War II suburb. The station is situated between Miller Road and Skillman Street, both major arterial roads in the City of Dallas. Two intersections from the LBJ Freeway serve the station, Miller Road/Royal Lane to the south and Skilling Street/Audelia Road to the north.
Via the LBJ Freeway, the station has access to the North Central Expressway (to Dallas's northern suburbs) and I-30 (to the eastern suburbs). The LBJ Freeway interchanges with I-35 (to Austin and San Antonio) and I-45 (to Houston). Also via the LBJ Freeway, Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (the world's 7th busiest) is about 25 miles to the west. Within the City of Dallas, Love Field, a Southwest Airlines hub, is 13 miles west of the LBJ-Skillman Station.
The LBJ-Skillman Station is on the northeast segment of DART's Blue Line, only two stops (4 miles) from the last outbound station, Downtown Garland. The alignment of the northeastern leg of the Blue Line does not follow a roadway and provides commuters destined for Downtown Dallas with a direct diagonal route so that drivers don't have to negotiate the congested grid patterns of arterials and expressways.
The first of several stations in Downtown Dallas, Pearl, is five stops to the southwest of LBJ-Skillman, about a 20 minute ride (9 miles). In Downtown Dallas, riders can transfer to the Red and Green Lines (the Green Line will be greatly extended by late 2010) to reach other employment centers and other destinations throughout the DFW area. From the downtown Union Station riders can take the Trinity Rail Express (TRE) to DFW International Airport.
The station serves as a transfer center for DART's bus network. The bus network provides access to eastern and northern Dallas, Garland, and Richardson. The number 42 bus connects Richland Community College with the station, running every 20 minutes. For those driving to the station, there are 662 parking spaces to accommodate riders and 10 passenger drop-off areas.
2.2 Community Character & Project Context
The Blue Line's LBJ-Skillman Station primarily serves the cities of Dallas, Garland, and, to a lesser extent, Richardson within the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area. The metropolitan area is one of the fastest growing in the United States, especially in areas to the north. However, being part of the older, urban center of the region, Dallas and Garland are more built-out than other parts of the metropolitan area and, hence, are growing more slowly. Since the completion of the LBJ-Skillman Station in 2002, the cities of Dallas and Garland have added a combined 57,000 people (2002-2007), a gain of 4.0 percent1. By comparison, metropolitan Dallas-Fort Worth and the State of Texas grew by 12.4 percent and 9.8 percent respectively over the same five-year period.
The area around the LBJ-Skillman Station is a mix of residential and commercial areas. Reflecting a period of rapid growth following World War II, the station area was built-out with homes and older-style garden apartments primarily from the 1960s through the 1980s. The areas in the City of Dallas and Dallas County adjacent to the station area tend to be lower to mid-income and the employment base features a mix of financial services, wholesaling, and manufacturing.
Few residences are within walking distance of the station which primarily serves park and ride transit users. A north-south BNSF freight rail line abuts the LBJ-Skillman Station, creating an obstacle for drivers and pedestrians wishing to reach a large industrial/warehousing district to the east. With no road or pedestrian crossings nearby, access to the industrial district from the station would require pedestrians and vehicles to go several blocks north and then south again to cross the freight rail tracks.
Empty grass lawns, primarily owned by DART and slated for future development, lie between the station's parking lots and the LBJ Freeway which forms a barrier to the south . A pedestrian bridge over the freeway, funded in early 2010 by the Federal Economic Stimulus, will open up access to a large residential neighborhood on the other side of the LBJ Freeway from the LBJ-Skillman Station. The 50-acre station area, longer term, will be a site for future transit-oriented development, likely to include mixed-use residential and commercial activity.
The development of DART's light rail system on which the Blue Line and the LBJ-Skillman Station are part, was a response to the fast population and economic growth in the Dallas Fort Worth metropolitan area. The area added 1.6 million people between 1970 and 1990 (a 63 percent increase), a period that included the initial planning phases of the light rail system.
Although Dallas-Fort Worth has a well-developed Interstate network, the region's explosive growth and the anticipation for significantly more in coming decades pushed the region to seek alternatives to mitigate congestion and accommodate future travel needs. The DART light rail network provides new capacity, reaches several of the region's key employment centers (Downtown Dallas, several large medical centers, Southern Methodist University, Victory Park, and soon, to Love Field Airport), and supports a denser, less auto dependent form of development.
The total cost of the LBJ Skillman Station was $85.4 million (2000 $'s). This includes $4 million in roadway improvements. Vehicle access, rather than the maximization of TOD potential, were paramount in the site selection process. Before the station opened, new roadway infrastructure included the widening of the Miller Road bridge over the LBJ Freeway from four to six lanes; a widened sidewalk for pedestrians; the addition of two ramps from Miller Road to provide access to the station for cars and buses; and a new frontage road between Miller Road and Skillman Street.
The roadway enhancements to provide ingress and egress for the LBJ-Skillman Station were planned, designed, and built as part of a much larger corridor improvement project that began in 1993 to add capacity to the northern and northeastern segments of the LBJ Freeway. The capacity expansion on the freeway was necessitated by the region's growing population and jobs, contributing to traffic volumes that were well in excess of the beltway's design capacity of 160,000 vehicles per day.
Capacity increases and traffic flow improvements for the project include continuous frontage roads and new HOV lanes (still in the planning stages; the plan includes direct access from the HOV lanes to the LBJ-Skillman Station). The cost of the entire set of LBJ Freeway improvements is estimated to be $1.7 billion (in $2005). The corridor project costs of the East Section which includes the improvements for the LBJ-Skillman Station are estimated to be $516 million. The actual ramps and access roads built to support the LBJ-Skillman station are estimated to have cost $4 million ($2000).
4.1 Transportation Impacts
DART initially projected daily ridership on the northeast extension of the Blue Line from Mockingbird to Downtown Garland to be 10,000. Today, ridership on the extension averages about two-thirds that level. Overall ridership on the Blue Line is steady at 22,000 to 24,000 weekday riders per year. Since the LBJ-Skillman Station opened, total DART light rail ridership has increased from 52,000 to 64,000 riders per weekday (2009). The period coincided with several expansions to the system.
Average weekday ridership at the LBJ-Skillman Station has remained fairly steady since its opening in 2002. Likely due to curiosity about both the new station and the Blue Line northeast extension, the highest ridership levels were recorded in 2002: 1,690 riders per weekday. In most years, the LBJ-Skillman Station handles 1,400 to 1,500 passengers per day, but reached nearly 1,600 riders per day in 2008 when gasoline prices hit historical highs.
With only 1,400 boardings a day it is unlikely that the building of the LBJ-Skillman Station has had a significant effect on vehicle traffic on neighboring highways. Nevertheless, increases in traffic levels on the LBJ Freeway and the major roadways going into Downtown Dallas are a testament to the overall growth of the region, underlining the importance of providing alternatives for travel in the metropolitan area. The segment of the LBJ Freeway closest to the DART light rail station saw AADT jump from 152,000 in 1990 to 189,000 in 2001. This grew only slightly to 190,000 in 2007. Just inside the LBJ Freeway, AADT on I-30 rose from 94,000 in 1990 to 117,000 in 2001 and then dropped slightly to 115,000 in 2007. Over the same period, traffic on the North Central Expressway surged at a steady rate from 115,000 in 1990 to 197,000 in 2007.
As a park-and-ride station located on an Interstate, the LBJ-Skillman Station is generating economic benefits, today, by allowing travelers who would have otherwise driven to their destinations with an alternative to their cars. It is estimated that annual savings for commuters to the Dallas CBD using the station are about $2.2 million per year.
4.2 Demographic, Economic & Land Use Impacts
In terms of transit oriented development (TOD), the LBJ-Skillman Station has had no discernible employment impact since it opened in 2002. This is because the station is somewhat isolated due to the current configuration of the LBJ Freeway, Skillman Street, and Audelia Road, and uncertainty about the timing and design of the Skillman Street-Audelia Road interchange just north of the LBJ Station. This has inhibited developers from investing in the station area according to economic development officials. There are engineering studies underway with TxDOT to look at reconfiguring the intersection for better traffic management as well as potentially better property access and pedestrian safety/connectivity.
Improving bicycle and pedestrian connections to DART are considered to the key to tapping the development potential at DART Stations. In 2005, the Skillman Corridor Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District was created to allow the City of Dallas to invest public funds in the LBJ-Skillman station area and towards the southwest to encourage redevelopment, transit-oriented development, and pedestrian connectivity. A pedestrian bridge over the LBJ Freeway to connect the station with the neighborhood to the west which recently received funding will make the area more attractive for TOD
Despite the lack of recent development activity, the station's immediate proximity to multifamily and commercial uses, combined with the availability of numerous vacant tracts, provides many opportunities for transition and economic growth in the future. This includes 50 acres of land adjacent to the station that have been zoned as a "planned development district", permitting larger-scale, mixed use development which would not be possible within standard zoning districts. Such zoning, eliminating height restrictions and allowing buildings to cover entire sites, has allowed the large-scale, mixed use complexes including Mockingbird Station and Victory Park to be developed adjacent to DART stations. A City of Dallas plan developed for the station area in 2005 envisions a transition to: (1) regional shopping in areas that are currently industrial; (2) offices around the DART station; and (3) senior housing adjacent to the station.
In the late 2000s, DART issued an RFP to developers for developing (through lease or sale) surplus property adjacent to the LBJ-Skillman Station, an approach used successfully at the Mockingbird Station. None of the proposals received for the 50 acre TOD site were accepted. Today, the LBJ-Skillman Station area has been designated and funded by NCTCOG as an Urban Planning Initiative to encourage sustainable development. In early 2011, a land use study is expected to begin (also funded by NCTCOG) to look at how to encourage TOD development in the station area, including pedestrian safety/connectivity and better property access.
The area around the LBJ-Skillman Station has land that is suitable for development and longer term, planners in Dallas expect the station area to be developed. Today, however, the station is somewhat isolated from pedestrians by freight rail lines and roads but needed bridge improvements will help resolve these issues. Uncertainties regarding the present economic climate have clouded immediate development prospects for the 50-acre TOD site. The first thing that needs to be resolved before residential and commercial developers will commit investments in the area is the final design and configuration of the planned new intersection at Skillman and Audelia Streets, from which the station is accessed.
City of Dallas Economic Development
City of Dallas Economic Development
Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART)
TxDOT, Dallas District Office
This case study was developed by Cambridge Systematics