SH 360 Corridor Improvement Study, Fort Worth - Meeting Minutes
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Project Coordination Work Group - Meeting Minutes
Mr. Matthew Asaolu, Project Manager for the Fort Worth District of the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) welcomed the group. Self-introductions of attendees followed. Mr. Asaolu gave a brief overview of the meeting purpose. Minutes of the previous meeting were distributed, and it was asked that any comments be returned to Mr. Asaolu within 10 days. Matthew also noted that the meeting minutes would be posted on the TxDOT project web site. Martin Molloy with Halff Associates then gave an overview of the meeting.
Erin Clark with NCTCOG gave a status report on the traffic modeling. The various alternatives have been run and the volumes are being reviewed. The target date for publishing the QA/QC is June 28th. Matt Craig with Halff Associates explained that all improvements will be measured against the baseline network. Mobility 2025 improvements will then be added to the baseline network, which consists of eight general-purpose lanes, SH 161 in place and the Dorothy spur being utilized as a commuter rail line. Once HOV lanes have been modeled and the unconstrained model is complete, the traffic volume estimate of 70,000 trips can be verified. Mr. Molloy commented that the modeling by the Texas Transportation Institute would be used to shortlist the number of alternatives to be considered and decrease the workload for everyone involved.
Mr. Molloy then introduced Steve McCollum, a City of Arlington councilman, who stressed the importance of SH 360 to the city of Arlington.
Mr. Molloy then introduced Carol Walters with TTI to give an overview of the planning methodology used by TTI to evaluate alternatives in the SH 360 corridor. The planning methodology is a result of cooperative efforts between TxDOT, TTI, DART and NCTCOG that allows the evaluation of corridors that center around major interchanges. The methodology provides recommendations based upon lowest public cost. The public costs include the cost of construction, the operating costs, and congestion costs. The congestion cost is the value of the time lost due to delay experienced by drivers.
Ms. Walters asked Ed Pultorak to discuss the preliminary analysis done by TTI for the SH 360 Corridor. The alternatives considered included no build, increasing the number of general purpose lanes to handle capacity, and adding HOV to facilitate the traffic in the corridor. The methodology holds the number of people traveling in the corridor constant while the number of people per vehicle varies for each alternative. Mr. Pultorak said that the preliminary results were based upon 24-hour volumes and are for discussion purposes only. Once NCTCOGs peak hour volumes for morning and evening traffic are published, the exact locations of ramps and typical section transitions can be determined. Ms. Clark said that NCTCOG would provide TTI with the published traffic volumes. In addition, it was noted that the lowest public cost does not include reconstruction of frontage roads or right-of -way cost.
Based upon the preliminary analysis, Mr. Pultorak concluded that the critical area in the corridor is from Pioneer Parkway (Spur 303) to Division St. This area has high traffic volumes entering SH 360 at Pioneer Parkway and exiting at Division St, requiring a section with 10 general-purpose lanes and two HOV lanes. To adequately handle the capacity through the remainder of the corridor, a section with eight general-purpose lanes and two HOV lanes would be necessary from Division St to IH 30, and from IH 20 to Pioneer Parkway. In this same area an alternate section of ten general-purpose lanes with one HOV lane would be acceptable. In addition, Mr. Pultorak noted that the majority of HOV traffic is passing through the corridor. Ms. Walters noted that by looking at managed lanes, additional capacity not being used by HOV vehicles could be sold to single occupant vehicles. It was agreed that six lanes in the peak direction and four lanes in the off peak direction would handle the demand, based on the preliminary analysis.
Mr. Molloy suggested that the SH360 Evaluation Matrix distributed at the meeting be used as the framework for discussion. A summary for each work plan item follows:
Item 1 - Make Existing Roads Work More Efficiently (CMS/ITS):
Bill Parsons with Chiang, Patel & Yerby said that work is continuing on this item pending information from TxDOT. Mr. Molloy then moved to the topic of Bike-Pedestrian facilities, noting that the city of Grand Prairie has approved a revised bike plan, which had been received within the past week. Mr. Craig said that this information would be implemented into the traffic modeling by NCTCOG.
Item 2 - Improve Rail/Transit Service:
Wilma Smith, Assistant Director of Transportation for the City of Arlington elaborated on the City Councils Transit summits held on June 9th and 12th. This was the first time the council was able to take a close look at the alternatives being considered and identify concerns that they would like addressed. The three areas of concern were facilities for seniors and the disabled, easy access for visitors to the area, and service for the entertainment district. The council agreed that option 2 most closely addressed their concerns.
The city council suggested that doubling the capacity of HandiTran would help address concerns for seniors and the disabled. In addition, the council agreed that increasing the number of transit stations in South Arlington should increase access to North Arlington. Ms. Smith said that the city council is considering a ¼ cent sales tax to help fund improvements along the SH 360 corridor, and that the first opportunity to hold the election would be February 2002. In addition, prior commitments such as street maintenance and payment towards the Ballpark in Arlington preclude the allocation of revenue towards the project until 2002.
Councilman McCollum then noted that the citys plan to implement a park and ride program utilizies a bus system that shuttles people from South Arlington to the Trinity Railway Express (TRE) via the Centerport station. This shuttle relies heavily on SH 360. Ms. Smith said that three parking areas have been established for this purpose: Park Springs Park & Ride, the Ballpark parking lot on Lamar, and the Maverick stadium parking lot at UTA. Although a final solution has not been formulated, Mr. Craig said that the connection to the TRE Centerport station is being considered as slip ramps connecting to frontage roads near the Trinity River, then accessing the Centerport station from Trinity Blvd.
Mr. Parsons with Chiang, Patel & Yerby then gave an update on the status of work on the Dorothy Spur comparing the viability of commuter versus light rail. Mr. Parsons distributed a handout with existing sections and explanations of the steps that would need to be taken to implement either alternative. The typical Right-Of-Way along the Dorothy spur is 50 feet, with three locations where it increases to just over 100 feet. Mr. Parsons explained that either alternative would require relocating the existing rail lines. Due to the required two tracks for light rail in addition to the existing freight line, as well as additional Right-Of-Way required in the corridor, light rail is not a viable alternative. Commuter rail would require only one additional line, but would still call for relocation of the existing line to provide the minimum required separation of 18 feet between cars. Additionally, commuter rail traffic would require timing and switching of freight rail traffic on the existing line, contrary to the existing situation in Great Southwest Industrial Park. Finally, rail alternatives, which include lines along the median of Great Southwest Parkway, were discussed. Mr. Parsons explained that the median width from Avenue H to IH 30 was 61 feet, and from IH 30 to Division St it decreases to 43 feet. Mr. Asaolu questioned that the location of a station within the median of Great Southwest Parkway could pose problems and additional cost. Mr. Parsons explained that with commuter rail there would only be one rail station along Great Southwest Parkway and it could be elevated and a pedestrian crossing structure could be used for access. Mr. Craig commented that an at grade station could also be used in conjunction with a striped pedestrian crossing similar to DARTs rail stations in the median along Ledbetter. In addition, Mr. Molloy commented that the use of rail along Great Southwest Parkway would help peak hour congestion along SH 360 and the main arterials.
Mr. Molloy then showed alternative alignments for rail traffic moving north to south through the corridor. The alternatives vary with connections to the Ballpark area being common to both. Mr. Molloy noted that Cissy Sylo with DFW Airport will give a status report at the next PCWG meeting concerning the work being done to connect light rail to the Airport. No decision has been made yet as to the best way to connect the commuter rail from the TRE into DFW. Mr. Parsons said that considering there will be a rail station within the airport, DFW officials will likely not want to have rail stations on both the north and south sides of the airport. To decide whether the second station should be located to the north or south of the airport, all corridors around DFW are being evaluated. Essentially the two options are light rail from the north into the Centerport station interfacing with commuter rail along the TRE and south into Arlington, or light rail along the entire north to south movement from the Airport. Mitzy Ward with NCTCOG said that modeling for the commuter and light rail is ongoing, and Mr. Parsons said that a summary of the findings along with the cost estimates should be completed at the same time as the rail traffic modeling.
Item 3 - Improve Major City Streets:
Mr. Molloy noted that all of the cost estimates for arterial improvements have been completed and added to the matrix. Pending the results of the travel modeling these alternatives will be evaluated to determine which perform well.
Item 4 - Incremental Improvements to SH 360:
Matt Craig commented that the cost estimates for the various capacity improvement options as well as the cost estimates for the Division St. and IH 30 interchanges with SH 360 have been completed and added to the Matrix. The process for arriving at the total construction cost consists of adding together the cost of the capacity improvement option, along with the cost of a Division St option and a IH 30 interchange option.
In regards to the geometric design, Mr. Craig explained that the section of SH 360 from Division St to Avenue J does not meet current design standards and therefore will need to be completely rebuilt regardless of the option selected. The latest information on the options at Division St and IH 30 are summarized as follows:
Area 1 Division St
Mr. Craig noted that options 1 and 3 are being considered the two most desirable options available at Division St but the selection of the final alternative depends upon several items.
Area 1, Option 1: This option requires the reconstruction of the UPRR Bridge to the south of Division St as well as the Division St underpass itself. In addition, new frontage roads would be constructed, providing new continuous frontage roads from the General Motors plant north to the Division St interchange. Mr. Craig said that discussion about rebuilding the railroad bridge has begun with the UP, and agreement on the concept of reconstruction looks promising. Mr. Molloy said that a meeting has been set up with Steven Martchenke of the Union Pacific Railroad to further discuss the options being considered.
Area 1, Option 2: There was nothing new discussed for this option.
Area 1, Option 3: This option would maintain the existing railroad bridges while elevating the main lanes above the railroad bridges and utilizing the old main lanes as the new frontage roads below the bridges. This option creates more visual intrusion than option 1, but the cost estimate for this option is in the neighborhood of that for option 1.
Matthew Asaolu noted that the deciding factor in selecting the most desirable option would be the typical section along the main lanes. Focusing on options 1 and 3 as the preferred alternative, Mr. Craig summarized that using an eight lane section results in option 3 being more cost effective. However, with the addition of HOV lanes to the typical section option 1 is the more cost effective option.
Area 2 IH-30 to SH 360 Interchange
Mr. Craig noted that option 3 is the main focus for the interchange, which not only improves movements from IH 30 to SH 360 but improves the affected arterials in this area as well.
Area 2, Option 1: There was nothing new discussed for this option
Area 2, Option 2: There was nothing new discussed for this option.
Area 2, Option 3: This option provides direct connectors from SH 360 to IH 30 and rebuilds Six Flags Drive, connecting it to 107th St. One challenge is to clear the P.A. Watson cemetery with the west to north moving direct connector while providing a design that allows traffic to move at least 45 mph. Mr. Craig commented that the grades and tie in points are currently being evaluated. In addition, HOV connections allowing an exit to IH 30 via frontage roads have been added. The exact location of these exits will be based upon the NCTCOG traffic volumes. The main concern with the diamond interchange is the ability to get the direct connectors under or over Six Flags Drive. The current layout for option 3 calls for moving the Six Flags Drive overpass east. Kevin Spohrer with TxDOT asked Mr. Craig about the eastern extent of the direct connects along IH 30, and if they would change the locations of the connectors on the SH 161 to IH 30 interchange. Mr. Craig said that they should not interfere with the SH 161 connectors. Mr. Spohrer then asked about whether the HOV on SH 360 completely ends at IH 30, or if it would continue to the north. Mr. Craig commented that one lane of HOV is planned to continue from IH 30 to SH 183. The addition of HOV lanes north of IH 30 would not require the reconstruction of the underpasses, but would require excavating some of the side slopes and adding retaining walls. In addition, by reclaiming the median for use as an HOV facility, no new right of way would need to be purchased.
Item 5 - HOV Lane Improvements to SH 161:
Mr. Molloy raised the question as to whether there would be any discussion about changes to SH 161, and Mr. Craig said that there would not be any changes to SH 161. The consensus on this item is to leave the plans for SH 161 as approved in the environmental impact statement record of decision. Carol Walters asked about the section approved on SH 161, and Mr. Craig explained that the typical section approved consists of four lanes from IH 20 to IH 30, and six lanes from IH 30 to SH 183 with room for a six-lane section from IH 20 to IH 30 in the future. Any changes to the approved sections would require a new environmental impact statement, which is not desireable.
The next meeting of the Project Coordination Work Group has been scheduled for Thursday, July 19 at 2:00 p.m. Meeting adjourned at 4:00 p.m.
Materials Distributed at the Meeting:
Other Materials Distributed with these Minutes:
This concludes the Meeting Minutes. Our goal is to provide a complete and accurate summary of the proceedings of the subject meeting in these minutes. If you feel that any of the items listed above are not correct, or that any information is missing or incomplete, please contact Halff Associates so that the matter can be resolved, and a correction issued if necessary. These minutes will be assumed to be correct and accepted if we do not hear from you within ten (10) calendar days from your receipt.