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Honoring courageRosa Parks Plaza connects transit's past, present and future
In 1955, Rosa Parks stood up for her beliefs by sitting down in the front of a segregated bus in Alabama, becoming a catalyst for change and earning a place in history as the “mother of the civil rights movement.” Now her courage is being memorialized in a new DART transit facility in downtown Dallas.
Situated on a quarter-acre at Elm and Lamar streets, Rosa Parks Plaza will be a relaxing, new respite featuring a 13-foot-high wall of water, a drinking fountain and green spaces flanked by two bus bays and spacious passenger shelters.
The focal point will be a life-size bronze statue of Parks sitting on a bus bench, by San Francisco artist Erik Blome. The sculptor says he designed the statue to "invoke a feeling of determination and a presence that has a solidity to it and a beauty that transcends time." Visitors to the plaza can actually sit next to Park's likeness to reflect on the courage she displayed decades ago.
The statute of Rosa Parks is designed to "invoke a feeling of determination and a presence that has a solidity to it and a beauty that transcends time."
Erik Blome, San Francisco sculptor
Connecting the past to the future
Connecting citizens to a monumental time in public transit history, as well as to the future of public transit in North Texas, this park-like-setting will serve as an oasis for the downtown West End community and meet the needs of 1,400 daily bus customers.
"It will add to DART patron comfort at a time of significant growth in ridership," says Rob Parks, DART project manager. "This plaza is the first of its kind in downtown Dallas. It serves as a signature project to prototype what can and will be done for downtown bus passengers."
"DART has served all the different communities of North Texas, but especially the working community and minority community," Johnson said at the plaza groundbreaking in August. "As a result, it hasn't been difficult for me to help bring over a billion dollars here for transit projects. It's thoughtful and appropriate to honor Rosa Parks in this way."
Construction of Rosa Parks Plaza is scheduled to be completed as early as February 2009.
Rosa Parks Plaza will welcome more than 1,400 daily bus customers with sheltered waiting areas, a peaceful water wall and attractive landscaping.
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