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Status Update on Glen Park Bus Shelter Project

The Tarrant Transit Alliance, in partnership with the Glen Park Neighborhood Association, conducted an Urban Transit Furniture Design Competition in February of 2021. This competition was set up for design teams to utilize Tactical Urbanism to create low-cost solutions for the Glen Park Neighborhood. Each team needed to have at least one student on their team. The final design has been selected, and we are now in the process of determining how to actually build these shelters and install them in the five selected locations. We have been able to leverage our relationship with the City of Fort Worth to include some cement pads in these locations, which will be completed, pending any issues, by the end of the month. Additionally, we are working with TCC’s South Campus to see if we can make the fabrication of these shelters a student class project, to be completed in the Fall Semester.

The Winning Design

This project was designed by Dahlia Garcia, a Tarrant County College Student, and Dahlia’s cousin Jose Rodriguez, a Packaging Designer and 2020 graduate of TTA’s Transit Academy.



Additional Details about the project are outlined in this document:


Figure 1: A map of Glen Park. Stops in yellow have a bench. In red, have a shelter.


The neighborhood of Glenpark is a community in the Southeast corner of Fort Worth, TX, at the very edge of the transit network. According to the Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI), 20% of Glen Park residents identify as Black, and 73% are of Hispanic origin. This 1.46 sq mi neighborhood has 36 bus stops that serve the community there, with buses coming every 30- to 60-minutes. However, only six of these stops have seating, and only four of those have shelter. Since 2019, the neighborhood has actively petitioned Trinity Metro and the City of Fort Worth to upgrade these stops to protect their riders from the rain and hot sun. So far, they have not been successful.



Tactical urbanism is an innovative approach to neighborhood improvements that use short-term, low-cost interventions to create long-term change. Examples of successful tactical urbanism projects can be found across the US. In fact, in 2017, Fayetteville, AR, took the step of actually encouraging its residents to construct and lead tactical urbanism projects by creating a new city-sanctioned permitting process. Similarly, in 2014 in Rochester, NY, Reconnect Rochester worked with the city to develop temporary wooden bench blocks to provide seating for their transit riders. As a result, they now have fiberglass "bench blocks" adopted by the city as a permanent seating solution!

Figure 2: An example of the Reconnect Rochester Wooden bench block

The Tarrant Transit Alliance (TTA), in partnership with the Glenpark Neighborhood Association, local artists, community organizers, and other partner organizations, have developed a neighborhood-based transit project to create the ideal transit rider experience in this neighborhood. Through a combination of research and artistic action, we will bring empathetic awareness to the community about the difficulties experienced by Glenpark's transit riders while providing a creative outlet to act on their behalf and improve their experience exponentially. As the project happens, we will document the process to create a "DIY Transit Ridership Improvement Toolkit” so that this experience can be replicated throughout the city.

WHY AREN'T THERE MORE BUS STOPS?


Texas is now the only state in the US that does not have dedicated funding in its state budget for urban transit. Trinity Metro is the least funded transit authority for a major city in Texas. Compare DART's $244 per capita spending in 2018 to Trinity Metro's $122 per capita. Fort Worth has 342.2 sq mi of land that Trinity Metro must cover (not including the service they provide to other member cities in Tarrant County), all with this limited budget. The average cost of installing one of Trinity Metro's bus shelters is around $10,000. The combination of a limited budget, and a sprawling service area, means that Trinity Metro must make difficult decisions between providing service across the city, the frequency of their service to those areas, and rider amenities like benches and bus stops.


PROJECT GOALS:


Our goals for this project are as follows:

  1. To activate & empower citizens by allowing them to support their neighbors and provide an outlet for citizen frustration through citizen-created solutions.

  2. To bring awareness to the needs of the transit-dependent in our city while improving their experience through eye-catching, creative activation of bus stops.

  3. To create a community-based solution that is site-specific, yet replicable and scalable in other neighborhoods by creating a "DIY Transit Ridership Improvement" toolkit for others to utilize. This toolkit will include any legal contracts or compliance specifications from the city, ADA specifications, essential research & resources, blueprints, and other related materials.


PROJECT ACTIVITIES:


Through research, the project planning committee selected five (5) locations to activate with "Urban Furniture" designed to provide seating and shelter protection. These designs will be fabricated and installed through a collaboration between the Tarrant Transit Alliance, TCC students and faculty, community artists, and local volunteers.


At the end of the project, the Tarrant Transit Alliance will create a "DIY Transit Ridership Improvement toolkit” to share with other neighborhoods that will include –

  • The permitting process & compliance;

  • An approved Operation & Maintenance Plan;

  • An outline of considerations including the bureaucratic (e.g., code and ADA compliance) and political issues (e.g., lack of funding); and,

  • Blueprints of the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd winning competition designs, including materials and costs.

The 1st place winning design will also be fabricated and installed in the five selected locations throughout the neighborhood.


BUILDING EQUITY AND BELONGING:

The pandemic has disproportionately affected People of Color in America. Factors that contribute to this include, but are not limited to, an unequal representation of minorities in essential work settings, unequal job & wage loss, and a lack of financial reserves. According to the Pew Research Center, 61% of Hispanic Americans and 44% of Black Americans said that they or someone in their household had experienced a job or wage loss due to COVID in April of 2020.

Pre-pandemic, 44% of Fort Worth residents lived under the ALICE threshold. The ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) Threshold represents the minimum income level necessary for survival for a household. The average cost for transportation in Fort Worth is $12,885/year. Many struggling families rely on a poorly funded public transit system to get to work, school, and other essential trips. Waiting for an hour at 106° without shade or a place to sit is dangerous and untenable.


Like many Fort Worth neighborhoods, Glen Park’s community has felt left behind by a slow-moving bureaucratic system. This project aims to facilitate neighbor-to-neighbor support, providing the transit riders a dignified place to wait for the bus. Through tactical urbanism, this project will turn discouragement into empowerment.


HOW GRANT FUNDS WILL BE USED:


The project is the recipient of $7600 from the American Public Transportation Association. These funds will go towards materials, software, and marketing efforts to ensure the first project is a success.


Bench Materials x10 - $1000

Liability Insurance - $500

Shade Shelter Materials x10 - $3000

Marketing - $2300

Sign Materials -$300

Email Marketing & Surveying tool - $500

TOTAL – $7600





SHELTER LOCATION INFORMATION AND CONSIDERATIONS:


The planning team for this project has selected five (5) shelter locations to focus on:

  1. Miller & Martin - Southbound

  2. Miller & Pierce - Southbound

  3. Wichita & Seminary - Mansfield HWY

  4. Wichita Street & Alcannon Avenue

  5. Wichita & Alcannon - Seminary


These locations were selected from Glen Park residents’ survey data, a study of bus stop ridership numbers, and the sidewalk conditions.


We encourage competitors to find and visit these locations and take pictures of the sites in their current conditions.


To view a map of these locations, please click on the link below -



The Tarrant Transit Alliance is a coalition of individuals and organizations who work with contributors, community officials, and regional leaders to build support for funding regional transit in Fort Worth and Tarrant County. Our purpose is to educate, empower and mobilize policy to serve our entire region.

We are committed to:

  • Galvanizing community support for transit and transit-oriented development

  • Providing information on the benefits of transit

  • Developing regional agreement on strategies for funding transit

  • Advocating for dedicated funding for regional and local transit

What distinguishes our work


While many nonprofits in the area address neighborhood empowerment, equity, and access to food and health care, the Tarrant Transit Alliance is the only transit advocacy organization that focuses on the social, economic, and systemic issues surrounding ridership in Tarrant County.


Transit access lies at the intersection between many social issues, including economic opportunity, education access, health and wellbeing, access to healthy food, land-use, air quality, congestion, and equal access for those with disabilities.


We hope that this project will provide for those citizens who need it most while celebrating the diversity in our communities. These improvements align with Fort Worth’s celebration of art and culture and can continue to elevate our neighborhoods’ sense of place.

For more information about this project:


Please contact -


Tarrant Transit Alliance

hello@tarranttransitalliance.org

(516) 659-0791


Jonathan Guadian

Glen Park Neighborhood Association

jonathanguadian1216@gmail.com


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