Anatomy of a Subway: Stations, More Than Meets the Eye

Once the D2 Subway is in operation through downtown Dallas, riders will make their way down an elevator, escalator, or steps to reach the station below ground. Although it may not look like much, there is a lot that goes in to building a subterranean station that has the necessary spatial and safety requirements to accommodate a large amount of people.

Think of an underground station like a layer cake. There are multiple levels or steps to building a station below the surface; whereas, an above-ground light-rail station is simpler (much like a sheet cake is easier to assemble than its layered cousin).

Like a pastry chef following a recipe for assembling a layer cake, engineers must follow a detailed plan before diving into construction.  For the D2 Subway to be a success, DART must undertake the delicate task of balancing the key elements of building a station: safety, space and access.

SAFETY: Safety is like the cake batter — absolutely essential. Elements that you do not need above-ground become imperative below-ground. Like we mentioned before, you have more layers to a subway station than a surface-level light-rail station.

For example, creating an effective ventilation system is necessary to maintain good air quality in the station, as well as to filter and remove any unhealthy air conditions associated with emergency situations like a fire.  Ventilation and  fire suppression systems are essential for keeping riders safe and will be a priority for the D2 Subway.  Safety can also be enhanced through design.  Keeping the platform open, visible and well-lit, as well as incorporating security and surveillance technology will be important to maintain a safe system.

SPACE: Fitting everything underground can be a delicate task — like determining the perfect icing to cake ratio. DART must take extra precaution and plan differently when constructing stations underground due to limited space. Engineers often have to relocate utilities, pipes, and underground infrastructure to create enough space to build a station.  Everything must be compressed as well as be supportive enough to house heavy machinery, equipment, and an electrical system below the surface.

ACCESS:  Before getting to the cake you’ll often see decorations or candles on top — which is akin to the station access points, or pedestrian portals.  Just like fitting the station itself underground, finding the right space and path for pedestrian access to the tunnel can be difficult, especially in a downtown area.  Taking advantage of public right-of-way and linkages to nearby buildings or tunnels will be part of the process to defining these locations.

DART is a public transportation leader not just in North Texas, but a leader for the nation. We are committed to finding the most innovative and effective ways to plan and build the D2 Subway – including safe and effective stations. By effectively planning just how we will accomplish this engineering feat, we can build safe subway stations and make the D2 Subway a success for all of North Texas.

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Rider Stories: DART Police Officer Wood

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Riders like you aren’t the only passengers on DART Rail or Bus – DART Police also ride. And when they do, they’re on the lookout for your safety, conduct and well-being.

For the final story in this week’s “Your Ride, Our Lookout” series, we visited with DART Police Officer Wood, who gave us a glimpse into how DART’s police force meets the needs of the communities it serves.

DART Police function just like any other police department and enforce laws, have arrest powers and educate the public on codes of conduct.

Whether it’s stopping someone from running on the tracks as trains are approaching or informing an individual not to smoke at a station, the duties of the job require constant human interaction.

“From sunrise to sundown, our duties are constantly changing,” Wood said. “During the morning rush hour, we receive high volumes of service calls and are on the move from station to station.”

As you commute, you can find DART’s police officers enforcing rules and regulations on board trains and buses, keeping watch as night falls and riders head back to their cars to go home as well as responding to rider calls and medical emergencies.

Such was the case one Monday morning as Wood ushered paramedics to a medical emergency at Morrel Station.

A look out the window of a DART train or bus might be a daydreaming opportunity for some, but serves a different purpose for DART Police. As they pierce through the glass, they’re carefully observing each destination for situations or emergencies that need their attention.

A big part of DART Police’s role is involving itself in community events such as school and daycare visits, reading to children and participating in Coffee with a Cop events.

Woods said these events, along with DART Police’s day-to-day duties, allow the police force to closer connect with local communities and show riders like you that they’re a visible face across the DART System.

Thanks for joining us on this week’s “Your Ride, Our Lookout” series. For more information about our police officers and how DART gets you to your destination, visit DART.org.

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DART: Your Ride This Weekend

There are plenty of DARTable events going on this weekend – a bunch of them in the Dallas Arts District, plus a beloved annual festival in Richardson. Here’s the lowdown:

Friday, May 19

Paula-Poundstone-2Paula Poundstone, famous for her razor-sharp wit and spontaneity, performs at the Majestic Theater. The Majestic is a super short walk from St. Paul Station.

Dallas Black Dance Theatre is holding its annual Spring Celebration, dallasblackdancetheaterwhere it will premiere two new works by its new artistic director. The performances take place at the Wyly Theater, near Pearl/Arts District Station.

The Dallas Symphony’s Soluna Festival is in full swing. Go to City Performance Hall to mingle with members of the Dallas Symphony dallassymphonyOrchestra and enjoy their cool re-imagining of Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The venue is a short walk from Pearl/Arts District Station.

Saturday, May 20 

Wildflower!, Richardson’s popular, family-friendly music and arts festival, is happeningwildflower this weekend. Saturday will see the B-52s take the stage. The festival takes place mere steps from Galatyn Park Station.

The Downtown Carrollton Movies on the Square series continues with The Secret Life of Pets. Taking place in a secretlifeofpets2New York apartment building, it’s the story of Max, a favorite pet whose life is turned upside down when his owner brings home a new dog. The screening begins at sunset. The square is a very short walk from Downtown Carrollton Station.  

Sunday, May 21 

Today is the last day of the Dallas Theater Center’s production of Electra — a one-of-a-kind outdoor theater experience happening at Annette Strauss Square. Expect the unexpected in this one-of-a-kind production that will take the audience on a journey through the grounds of the square. The performance may not be appropriate for people under the age of 11. You can walk to the square from Pearl/Arts District Station.

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Test your knowledge: Cotton Belt Question #4

With more than 93 miles of light rail in North Texas, we know that you all are familiar with this form of public transportation. But do you know how regional rail is different than light rail? Find out in our Friday quiz question on our newest regional rail line, the Cotton Belt.

Check out the link below to see if you can guess the right answer!

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DART police honor one of their own at annual police memorial

Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson told a crowd of law enforcement officers, their family and friends at a special ceremony today at DART Police Headquarters that she “supports the blue 110 percent.”

May 14-20 is National Police Week. DART used this opportunity to honor law enforcement officers who gave their lives in the line of duty. The event also paid tribute to DART Police Officer Brent Thompson, who was fatally shot while responding to an incident last summer in Downtown Dallas.

“You put on your uniform and go to work every day. You put your lives on the line every day, just for us,” Johnson said. “I love you. I appreciate you. Thank you.”

To honor Thompson and the four Dallas Police Department officers, who also lost their lives in the July 7 shooting in Downtown Dallas, DART installed shadow boxes in the lobby of its police headquarters. These shadow boxes contain memorabilia from the officers.

Additionally, the agency renamed the street in front of DART Police Headquarters as Officer Brent Thompson Way.

brent shadow box        Brent street sign

 

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D2 Subway + Dallas Streetcar = More flexibility for the region!

Imagine this: you’re making your way from downtown Plano to check out some of the new restaurants in the Bishop Arts District.  Instead of catching a cab or navigating through traffic on foot in the Texas heat, you can take the Orange Line to downtown Dallas and transfer at a new D2 Subway Station and hop on the Dallas Streetcar shuttling you in minutes to your destination.  As DART goes through the project development process for the D2 Subway, we’re investigating how this project will connect to other forms of transportation, like the Dallas Streetcar, high speed rail, the Trinity Railway Express, Megabus or McKinney Avenue Trolley.

Successful transit systems include multiple modes of transit that can connect together and increase flexibility.  When DART plans a new project, we consider not just how a singular project will help address a particular capacity issue or solve an individual congestion problem, we also think about how it will strengthen and connect to the entire transportation network as a whole.

Connections between Modes Creates a Stronger System

While the planning process is underway for the D2 Subway, we are also thinking about not just how to construct this tunnel but how it fits into the larger multi-modal system. One of these connection points is linking the D2 Subway to the Dallas Streetcar. The Dallas Streetcar is an existing 2.4-mile streetcar track that connects the Oak Cliff community to rail centers at Union Station.

The D2 Subway + the Dallas Streetcar

Similar to the three proposed D2 Subway routes, DART has developed four potential streetcar expansions that will increase flexibility for the system overall. This new streetcar path is referred to as the “Central Link,” and the proposed routes are:

Option #1 Elm & Commerce Alternative: The Elm and Commerce Alternative utilizes both streets to create a loop.  The streetcar will travel up Lamar connecting at Elm Street.  It will then travel across that street until connecting to North Olive Street.  The streetcar will proceed up until it makes its way back down North St. Paul Street eventually finishing its loop by connecting to Commerce Street.

Elm & Commerce Alternative

Option #2 Main Street Alternative: The Main Street Alternative travels up Lamar Street before making its way down Main Street before completing the loop up North Olive and down North St. Paul Street.

Main Street Alternative

Option #3 Young Street Alternative: The Young Street Alternative snakes down Young Street, heading up North Olive, eventually making its way back down North St. Paul Street.

Young Street Alternative

Option #4 Ross & San Jacinto Alternative: The Ross and San Jacinto Alternative travels up Griffin and makes its way down San Jacinto before completing the loop up North Olive and down North St. Paul Street, back to Ross before returning to Griffin.

Ross & San Jacinto Alternative

The DART light rail system is more than just our 93 miles of light rail; it includes an array of modes of transit working together to provide flexibility for our entire region.  That’s why as we forge ahead in the project development process for the D2 Subway, we’re thinking about how it will connect to the larger system.  Whether light rail, regional rail, subway, or streetcar, DART is working to continue moving North Texas forward.

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DART Police Headquarters Serves the Officers Who Serve Our Customers

As part of both National Police Week and National Transportation Week, we’re showing you how DART looks out for your ride in our “Your Ride, Our Lookout” series. Today, learn more about the historic and environmentally sustainable building that the DART Police Department calls home.

Located in the historic Monroe Shops building adjacent to the Illinois Station on the Blue Line, DART’s Police Headquarters offers visibility, convenience and room to grow. The building has been home to the DART Police Department since 2011.

The agency acquired the circa-1914 Monroe Shops building – a former interurban streetcar maintenance facility – in 1991 as part of its land acquisition for the Blue Line. In 2007, the U.S. Department of the Interior placed Monroe Shops on the National Register of Historic Places.

Historic preservation of the building made adapting it for a new use more challenging. Steven Bourn, former DART architect, designed a building within a building to protect the integrity of the original exterior walls. He fit three floors into the vertical space, giving DART Police a 69,000-square-foot facility to make their own.

Additionally, DART’s construction and design efforts earned the United States Green Building Council’s LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum certification, the organization’s highest recognition. DART Police Headquarters was the first publicly owned building listed on the National Register to achieve LEED Platinum status.

Ground level arranged for convenience
Lt. James Foster led the needs assessment that ensured the new building functioned effectively for a police department. The project committee also hired a consultant that specialized in designing law enforcement facilities.

“The building’s flow is designed to meet the needs of the police officers first,” Foster said.

Officers enter through a private entrance and then move sequentially past firearm storage, locker rooms and the detail room. When they leave the building, they reverse the path and depart fully equipped.

A public entrance leads to the front lobby, which houses one of the historic streetcars once repaired in the building. The space is large enough to hold events and meetings and at least one group uses the lobby monthly. Records, recruiting and hiring also are located on the first floor.

The city of Dallas leases space for the South Oak Cliff Veterans Treatment Community Court in the building because of its proximity to the Dallas VA Medical Center and convenient rail service between the two facilities.

Dedicated spaces support police activities
There may not be a jail on the premises, but DART Police Headquarters contains nearly everything else a modern law enforcement facility needs.

Interview rooms – used for complainants, suspects and internal affairs – contain video and audio recording equipment, which gives the department an accurate and secure record of what happens during every conversation.

DART Police Headquarters also contains several dedicated training rooms, including one with computer stations for e-learning modules and a simulated firearms training space that emulates a gun range. On the third floor, a large classroom houses a variety of training sessions and meetings.

A highly secure evidence storage room features a computerized locker system, including some refrigerated units, that facilitates tracking and helps preserve the chain of evidence. Another room can transform into an emergency command center if needed. The area has numerous phone and Internet ports, its own HVAC system, and emergency generator power.

Learn more:
Check out these 2011 news releases and Inmotion article to learn more about the DART Police Headquarters building.

Continue to stay tuned to this week’s “Your Ride, Our Lookout” series to learn more about our police officers and how DART gets you to your destination.

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The Route Less Taken

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As part of both National Transportation Week and National Police Week we’re showing you how we look out for your ride in our “Your Ride, Our Lookout” series. Today, embrace something new and discover a few of DART’s services you may not know about.

When you think of DART, you may only think of trains. Hopefully, you think of buses, too. There’s a lot more to DART Bus Service than you might think – unique services tailored to the communities they serve.

The typical bus route is referred to as “fixed-route.” These routes come to the same stops at scheduled times, adhere to a time table and, as the name implies, stick to the same itinerary from day to day. But there are two other types of service offered by DART: On-Call and FLEX.

On-Call is a curb-to-curb, on-demand service restricted to specific neighborhood zones. All On-Call buses link to the DART Rail System or a transit center – and they also connect to neighborhood services like shops, restaurants and more. The service is economical, efficient and easy: just pick up the phone, and your ride will be there within an hour to deliver you directly, anywhere within the zone. (Patrons also can make reservations as much as a week in advance.) There are currently eight On-Call zones, and the ride is covered by a local fare or day pass.

FLEX service is something of a hybrid – it offers fixed-route advantages and curbside convenience. FLEX buses have conventional bus stops and a route that they follow, but they can veer off the established course to drop customers off anywhere within a designated FLEX zone. There are currently six of them. Like On-Call, the service is covered by a local pass.

On-Call and FLEX are win-win solutions for neighborhoods where ridership demand may not warrant fixed-route service. They save DART (and the tax-paying public) money, while providing excellent, personalized service to residents.

There are other non-traditional bus services, as well. For example, DART Shuttles operate like regular buses, but with shorter routes. Most shuttle services operate directly between a rail station and a specific destination – such as SMU or NorthPark Center. They are generally subsidized by the entity they serve.

Then there is DART Rapid Ride Route 987, which travels along Forest Lane and Alpha Road.  This route was designed as a pilot program, and offers fewer stops– allowing for faster service. It also has more frequent service than ordinary bus routes. Customers may see more Rapid Ride routes in the future.

For more information about DART On-Call, visit DART.org/On-Call. If you’d like to learn more about our FLEX Service, visit DART.org/FlexService.

Stay tuned to this week’s “Your Ride, Our Lookout” series to learn more about our police officers and how DART gets you to your destination.

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From Morning to Night: Duties of DART Police

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It’s both National Police Week and National Transportation Week and DART’s all about looking out for your ride. This week on DART Daily, learn more about our police officers and how DART continues to take you to your destinations on this week’s “Your Ride, Our Lookout” series.

A Role That’s Ever-Changing

Lt. Don Hyder has been with DART Police for nearly 15 years, and in all his years on the force, he says every day is different.hyder06

“There really is no such thing as a typical day in law enforcement,” Hyder said. “You encounter different people, different situations and different circumstances. It’s constantly changing, and some days are better than others.”

As a DART police officer, your day-to-day job involves a great deal of public interaction. And that is what Hyder enjoys most about the job.

“As a police officer, sometimes you serve as a counselor, other times as a coach. You may be a defender one day and a paramedic the next,” Hyder said. “But every day you have the opportunity to help people in need. Protect the weak. Inspire a community. Make a difference.”

DART police are responsible for covering a 700-square mile area, including rail lines, bus routes and facilities, such as rail stations and bus transit centers. They also work closely with police departments in DART’s 13 service area cities.

While there are many challenges in policing today, Hyder believes there also are opportunities for building trust.

“Trust is not inherent because I am a police officer. Trust is earned and my job is to earn the public’s trust,” he said. “You can earn that trust by being a visible face in the community and listening to their concerns.”

Community engagement is one of the many roles a DART Police officer plays. Annually, the department gives 120 “Let’s Help Keep DART Safe” presentations throughout North Texas. They also host National Night Out at DART headquarters. And they participate in Coffee with a Cop – a relatively new initiative that brings police officers and members of the community together over coffee.

Three words he uses to describe his job as a DART police officer are: humbling, rewarding and inspiring.

Nothing brings more joy to Hyder than a member of the public saying, “Thank you for what you do.”

For more information about DART Police, visit DART.org. Stay tuned to this week’s “Your Ride, Our Lookout” series to learn more about our police officers and how DART gets you to your destination.

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What type of North Texan are you?

Do you love seeing the newest show, or maybe searching the region to try the newest North Texas delicacy? On the weekends are you front and center at the Mavs game or have a front row seat to the newest art exhibit?

Take our quiz and see what type of North Texan you are!

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