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Rolling with the Times
A letter from the DART Chairman of the Board.
On Board for Cleaner Air
A growing trend toward sustainable and environmentally friendly operations leads businesses to value proximity to transit and promote its use as a greener approach to work commutes.
An Unlikely Suspect
An historic Interurban maintenance facility undergoes a $20 million reconstruction to become the new DART Police Headquarters, and hopes to earn LEED certification in the process.
On the Go. In the Know.
Improved tools via the mobile web, email and text updates, station message boards and the interactive voice response phone system are improving the communication of transit information.
Take the A-train
The Denton County Transportation Authority began operation of its 21-mile A-train commuter rail service in June, connecting to the Green Line at Trinity Mills Station.
On a Growth Curve
The McKinney Avenue Trolley extends its tracks in a loop through the Dallas Arts District and adds a turntable outside the Cityplace West Portal to bring vintage trolley cars into service.
Thomas honored for transit leadership; Young artists brush up for public transit; Streetcar project passes environmental milestone; Paid parking to test at two terminal stations.
DART Board of Directors
DART Current and Future Services Map
DART: Live, On Tape and Online
AN UNLIKELY SUSPECT
Creativity rehabilitates a repeat offender into a
state-of-the-art police facility.
In a lineup of possible locations, the circa-1914 Monroe Shops building at Illinois Station seemed the least likely candidate for the new DART Police Headquarters. But after a thorough investigation, the evidence showed there was both motive and opportunity to convert the historic streetcar maintenance facility into a modern-day hub for law enforcement.
The result is a structure that has both preservation and conservation circles buzzing with excitement. In addition to the restoration and reuse of an historic building, DART took care to create a "green" facility in line with the agency's focus on sustainability.
Dallas City Councilmember Dwaine Caraway highlights the positive impact that DART's new police headquarters will have on the ongoing revitalization of southern Dallas.
Glass walls and large windows flood the new facility with natural light and reveal exposed plaster and hardware from the original building architecture.
"DART is coming of age as a modern, urban transit agency, and the police department is growing right in step with it," says DART Police Chief James Spiller. "The new headquarters is not only a state-of-the-art facility with room to serve our current and future needs – it's right for the times."
An Homage to Transit's History
An historic Interurban streetcar - a nod to the building's original purpose - sits in the atrium of the new police facility that opened in March. For more than 30 years, Monroe Shops was home to the heavy repair work to cars belonging to the Texas Electric Railway, or Interurban, which linked much of North Texas by passenger rail until 1948.
After the Interurban stopped running, the building passed through several owners, becoming everything from a paper mill to a truck rental business to a museum.
When DART bought the building in 1991 as part of the land purchase for the Blue Line, the roof and much of the interior was rotted. Over the years, several attempts were made to redevelop the property for retail or other transit-oriented use, but they proved unsuccessful.
Then in 2007, DART succeeded in its efforts to have Monroe Shops added to the National Register of Historic Places. The historic designation, though, made repurposing the building even more challenging.
"Doing major work on a historical building presents unique challenges," says DART Architect and Project Manager Steven Bourn. "The project team worked closely with the Texas State Historic Preservation Office, and we agreed that the priority was to protect the structure's integrity while making it significantly more functional."
The solution was to design a building-within-a-building that accomplishes just that.
The newly renovated, $20-million facility now includes three floors of modern workspace, meeting rooms, staff offices, showers, lockers and an exercise room - all designed to make police operations more efficient and to allow the force to expand as needed.
Construction Engineering Manager Ron Maddox, Architect and Project Manager Steven Bourn, and DART Police Liaison Lt. James Foster.
DART Police Chief James Spiller confers with Lt. Foster in Spiller's new office.
The headquarters' proximity to Illinois Station means police and fare enforcement officers can be deployed quickly onto the light rail system. Likewise, they now can commute to work by transit, further adding to customers' sense of security.
Having the DART Police Headquarters in the Lancaster Road-corridor – with staff eating at restaurants and patronizing businesses – will do more than increase security. Many neighborhood residents hope it can lay the groundwork for increased development and investment in the area.
"It's a bright spot in our community," says Mary Tucker, an Oak Cliff resident who served on the advisory committee for the project. "Anything new built in this neighborhood is a positive thing, and the extra police presence will make this area safer and encourage more people to use public transit."
Dallas City Councilmember Dwaine Caraway says simply, "The renovation of the Monroe Shops is a victory for DART and for the City of Dallas."
|LEEDing the way
In addition to the challenge of historic preservation, DART raised the bar on the project by seeking its first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. The coveted designation is a nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high performance green, or environmentally friendly, buildings.
During abatement and demolition, DART and its contractors remediated the brownfield site, diverting approximately 92 percent of all construction waste from landfills. Energy Star®-rated systems, daylight-responsive controls, and water-efficient faucets, shower heads and toilets reduce power and water consumption. Durable finishes and recycled materials further enhance the building’s green character.
"'Going green' is not only the responsible thing to do – it saves money in the long run in energy and maintenance costs," says Construction Engineering Manager Ron Maddox.
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