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DART To Look At Alternatives After Residents Oppose Height Of Tracks Along Silver Line Passenger Rail

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - After an outcry by some North Dallas residents about the tracks on DART's Silver Line passenger rail, the organization's President and Executive Director Gary Thomas said the agency will look at alternatives.

Thomas made the comments Tuesday afternoon while briefing the Dallas City Council's Transportation and Infrastructure Committee about the $1.2 billion project.

Maura Schreier-Fleming said the passenger rail threatens her far North Dallas neighborhood.

She's unhappy DART will have two tracks that intersect with a walking trail near Meandering Way and McCallum Boulevard. "Somebody's going to get killed, that's what's going to happen. It is unsafe to run trains over a walking path."

Aside from safety, she and other residents are also concerned about DART's plan to raise the tracks above street level at several locations, including along Hillcrest Road near McCallum Blvd. and along Coit Road near the University Place neighborhood north of McCallum.

Schreier-Fleming said residents fear with the higher tracks, "The neighbors are going to have a lot more noise. They're going to have their quality-of-life impacted significantly."

During the briefing, council members who represent far North Dallas told DART it should stick to a plan approved by council members in 2018, that the train tracks remain at or below grade.

Cara Mendelsohn told Thomas, "That you would even come to us with this is quite shocking."

Thomas said he got the message. "We're going back to look at other alternatives to see what we can come up with."

But in remarks to reporters after the meeting, Thomas wouldn't say whether their plan will comply with the council's 2018 resolution.

Thomas said doing so, would cost up to $30 million more.

Council Member Lee Kleinman said it's an important project for the city, but that DART must protect residents' interests.

"The council has already passed a resolution approving this train, it's a alignment, which included the grade crossings and what their profile was, so really all we have to do is hold firm to the resolution we already passed and ask them to stick to it," he said.

DART says it will discuss its alternatives with its board, but there's no timetable for that agency to come back to city council.

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