picture tour of DART’s future transit hub

Check out the most recent renderings of DART’s Transit Hub by Substance Architecture of Des Moines.

DART’s Chief Development Officer, Elizabeth Presutti, who is in Washington D.C. this week with General Manager Brad Miller talking to Iowa’s congressional delegation about the project, wanted the building to be a downtown landmark and to feel very open to the public.

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How do you think Substance is doing?

2 thoughts on “picture tour of DART’s future transit hub

  1. A perfectly suitable layout for those who are transferring from one route to another, with perhaps some increased distances for walks depending on what routes pull up in what lanes.

    The majority of the facility is open air, which is basically what we have now on Walnut St. I think the roof should extend over the entirety of the structure and not be limited to waiting areas and a central walk path. Many riders who are transferring will not limit themselves to the central path to cross lanes when making their connection, unless barriers are placed in the covered waiting areas to prevent them.

    Many downtown commuters will also not care to walk the extra distance to catch or depart from their bus at the new facility, but will focus on bus stops as routes pass through downtown, unless DART is planning on deviating the routes to MLK as their approach. Also with no obvious connection to the downtown skywalk system, commuters will be less interested in the long walk at street level, and will flock to the closest location to their work. If given the option, I would not walk there if a particular route comes closer.

    As for the actual building on Cherry St., it appears to be developed more as space for DART administrative offices or rented out as business space. A trimmer building centrally located with lanes that pull up to the north and south sides would offer more protected space for passengers when weather is either too hot, cold or inclement.

    Having to abandon a centrally located hub downtown appears unavoidable. For reasons mentioned above, my biggest concern is the altering of routes to avoid the core of downtown as much as possible when going to and from the new facility.

    If routes are altered, passengers’ commute times will increase either if they make the walk to work from the facility or utilize a shuttle. Shuttle stops in downtown will become congestion points for pedestrians and traffic.

    And if routes are not altered, the downtown bus stops will still face congestion issues.

  2. Hey, slakingfool.

    I’m told the architects explored covering the entire hub with a roof but that the price would have been too high. The partial cover should be an improvement over Walnut; plus there’s indoor waiting area.

    Not sure about barriers, per se, but I’ve been reassured that the architects are working to make it uncomfortable for pedestrians to be where they’re not supposed to be. Can’t say what “uncomfortable” looks like ’cause I don’t know.

    The hub would be better even without pedestrian barriers, because it will eliminate buses turning through the primary transfer spot like they have to do on Walnut. As DART is painfully aware, pedestrian accidents are most likely when buses are turning.

    Yes, the hub will be farther from the downtown core than Walnut is. I’m not up on my downtown real estate, but I’m guessing it would have been tough to find a closer site. Also, the county donated part of the land.

    It’ll certainly be closer to downtown than DART’s current office south of the 9th Street viaduct. Ever try walking to the current office from downtown? The sidewalks along 9th south of MLK might as well not exist because they’re covered with gravel.

    No doubt that some people won’t want to walk to the new hub and will try to find a bus stop nearer to their offices. But I haven’t heard any talk of rerouting the lines to avoid downtown. Wouldn’t make much sense to do that, as downtown employees are some of DART’s most loyal riders. So bus stop should continue to be scattered throughout downtown.

    Yes, the transit hub will include admin offices, mostly on the second floor but some on the first floor. That includes space for DART’s customer service reps, whose current interaction with passengers is almost exclusively by phone, not face-to-face as will be more feasible at the hub. Also, moving admin out of the current office makes room for operations to expand.

    — gunnar

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