Aesthetics Are Important for the Cotton Belt

Posted on Dec 19, 2017 by dartdallas
In Behind the Tracks, we’re bringing you all of the info you need to learn what goes into designing and building a regional rail line like the Cotton Belt. Today, we’re taking a look at how DART lessens potential impacts caused by rail and station construction. We’ve talked about the steps DART is taking to be a good neighbor. Mitigating potential noise, and softening vibration, are just a few of the ways DART is working to incorporate the Cotton Belt into North Texas as seamlessly as possible. Another element that DART considers when in the project design process is the aesthetic or visual impacts. What is a visual impact? Impacts on the visual and aesthetic character of an area may occur if a project:
  • Results in loss of important existing views
  • Conflicts with existing visual elements
  • Exposes undesirable views of existing urban features
  • Is out of character for significant community activities
  • Does not meet municipal ordinances
What can DART do to be a good neighbor and lessen the visual impact? DART can take many steps to mitigate potential visual impacts from the Cotton Belt.  Some of these steps include:
  • Landscaping at intervals along residential areas to visually “screen” or block the view of the train or stations and soften views of sound walls and corridor fencing
  • Preserving existing vegetation to act as a natural buffer to the view of the Cotton Belt
  • Incorporating landscaping around stations and appropriate (non-disruptive) lighting in residential areas
  • Choosing materials and finishes for stations that complement the area’s character
  • Creating a complementary structure for the Cotton Belt to travel along the corridor while appearing aesthetically appealing
  • Coordinating with the public to make some aesthetic choices together, including choosing the type of vegetation used in landscaping
Give me an example! DART introduced visual mitigation measures they can already take on the Cotton Belt. Appropriate Light Distribution: Incorporating the right balance between lighting at Cotton Belt stations that ensures that the light is focused in on the right areas for safety, and light pollution that may cause a disturbance to surrounding neighborhoods is avoided. Complementary Design for the Wheeler Bridge: In an effort to move the Cotton Belt across the North Texas region as seamlessly as possible, DART has created a complementary design for the train to move over Midway Road traffic that complements the iconic arch on the Wheeler Bridge. Making transit neighbor-friendly We work every day to design the best transit solutions possible for North Texas, and for DART that means making transit fit seamlessly into our neighborhoods and communities. Take a look at other ways DART is being a good neighbor and mitigating potential impacts from the Cotton Belt. Stay tuned as we continue to go Behind the Tracks and explore what the transit professionals, like us, are thinking about as we design North Texas’ 26-mile regional rail line.
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