The start of spring might make you think of yardwork or gardening. But if you think your outdoor chore list is long, think about the team that maintains the landscaping at DART’s 83 rail and bus facilities!
You’ve probably enjoyed the fruits of their work while you sat in the shade waiting for your bus or train. Landscaping not only beautifies facilities, it also helps to absorb heat reflected by hard surfaces.
Yet in a region where summer unofficially lasts half the year and watering restrictions must be taken into consideration, caring for greenspaces can be challenging.
DART works to reduce water consumption and landscaping costs by replacing trees and plants at its older rail stations and transit centers on an ongoing basis. The new native and adapted plants are more drought-tolerant and require less pruning and replanting.
At Kiest and VA Medical Center stations, for example, the agency installed yucca, sage and agave plants in beds of decomposed granite. These Southwest desert plants do not require pruning and will not get tall enough to block views, and the decomposed granite does not need to be replaced regularly like mulch.
Along the original Red and Blue lines, DART is replacing end-of-life trees with more compact shrubs where Oncor power lines parallel the rail right of way. The agency also is exchanging dense hedges and tall ornamental grasses for smaller plants, so rail operators and riders have better visibility.
"Updating the landscaping design reduces watering and other maintenance, both of which provide a savings," said Yolande Harrison, Senior Manager of Passenger Amenities.
Now you know how DART saves green by having a whole crew dedicated to keeping things green!