By Gail Cooksey, President, Cooksey Communications
This week, the connection between North Texas’ communities was strengthened with the opening of the first phase of the DART Orange Line, the highly anticipated public transit light rail train that travels through Irving with stops at the University of Dallas, the Las Colinas Urban Center and the Irving Convention Center at Las Colinas. It is the first step toward providing light rail service directly to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.
During the years and months leading up to the opening celebration, the Orange Line has been called a tremendous accomplishment for Irving. The generation of approximately $8 billion in planned transit-oriented development demonstrates the Orange Line’s effectiveness as an economic driver. However, if the opening celebration was any hint of things to come, the Orange Line is also an effective tool for connecting North Texas residents with Irving, and vice versa.
This weekend, when the Orange Line trains rolled along the newest stretch of the longest light rail system in the United States, the crowd consisted of hundreds of people from communities across the entire Metroplex. They came for different reasons – some live, work or attend school in Irving, some enjoy the restaurants, retail and entertainment options in Las Colinas, and others were simply curious about all the hype. Regardless of why they came, they had one thing in common. They used the light rail line to connect with another part of the Metroplex.
As home to over 10,000 businesses, including the global headquarters for five of North Texas’ 18 FORTUNE 500 companies, Irving is the third largest employment center in the Metroplex. A business community of this size requires an enormous workforce consisting of individuals traveling from all over North Texas. As an Irving business owner, I can attest to this. My employees travel from Irving, Dallas, Coppell, Colleyville, McKinney and Southlake. The DART Orange Line will make it easier for employees to connect with their workplaces. And, when completed at the end of 2014, the Orange Line will make it easier for individuals to connect with flights coming in and out of Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.
While the DART Orange Line is a great economic development tool, its ability to connect individuals with communities throughout the region is equally beneficial. In fact, I would not be surprised if its ability to connect North Texas will be the Orange Line’s true legacy.
About Cooksey Communications
Cooksey Communications Inc. is a Dallas/Fort Worth-based strategic communications consulting firm that specializes in issues management for transportation, water resources, energy and economic development clients and strategic communications for professional services firms and retail/hospitality clients. Cooksey represents clients such as Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP; National Math and Science Initiative; Hillwood; City of Irving; and Devon Energy, among others. For more information, visit www.cookseypr.com. Cooksey Communications is located in Irving and has been a member of the Dallas Regional Chamber since 1996.