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33rd & Dauphin Bus Loop Improvement Project: A Transformational Initiative

Andrew Busch
SEPTA Press Officer

Construction is underway on a project that aims to transform a critical part of SEPTA's bus operations - and in the process, help with community revitalization efforts.

The 33rd and Dauphin Bus Loop Improvement Project, a $4.4 million initiative funded by a competitive grant from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), will result in the full renovation of a key, but aging facility for city bus operations.

The loop, located in the Strawberry Mansion community, is one of SEPTA's last remaining "trolley barns". The start of its 18-month reconstruction was officially marked on September 10, 2012 with a groundbreaking ceremony. SEPTA was joined by local officials, community members and other dignitaries for the occassion.

Standing in front of a backhoe and other construction equipment now being used to transform the site, U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah said the project represents another step forward for SEPTA and the communities it serves.

"Today is another great day for SEPTA and for Philadelphia," Fattah said. "It seems like I've been at one of these announcements and groundbreakings almost every week, for SEPTA infrastructure, for 'green' buses, for newly restored depots. I'm proud that we have been bringing home federal funds to make it happen for the best run transit system in the nation.

"It is also a great day for Strawberry Mansion and its community leaders," Fattah added. "This has been a fight over many, many years, to upgrade this historic but rundown depot. Today we can claim victory. This is tax dollars being spent right here in your neighborhood."

The 33rd and Dauphin Bus Loop serves 2,115 riders daily as the terminus for routes 7, 39 and 54, and with stops on routes 32 and 61. In addition to neighborhood residents and nearby businesses, it provides service to institutions such as the Dell East Music Center and Strawberry Mansion High School.

"This facility has long been a landmark for SEPTA and the community," said SEPTA General Manager Joseph M. Casey. "We look forward to its transformation into a state-of-the-art transit hub that can serve as a centerpiece for neighborhood revitalization and provide customers with the modern amenities they deserve."

The community played a critical role in the planning stages of the project. SEPTA worked closely with the Strawberry Mansion Community Development Corp. and the Strawberry Mansion Neighborhood Action Center, Inc. to ensure the design fit in with - and enhanced - the surrounding neighborhood.

"The community was intricately involved in the design process," said Wendy Green-Harvey, SEPTA's Constituent Relations Coordinator-Public and Government Affairs. "We appreciate their input and patience in seeing this project come to fruition, and we're looking forward to the ribbon-cutting."

The project will result in a variety of improvements in and around the loop, starting with the overhaul of the main corner building that anchors the facility. The restored building will feature salvaged brick to preserve the "trolley barn" heritage. In addition, existing decorative cornice trim will be repaired and painted, and the masonry repointed. The building will provide areas for storage, operator restrooms and retail space.

A number of new amenities for customers will be added, including a bus canopy, passenger shelters, benches, enhanced lighting, trash cans and signage. Bike racks will also be installed, as will new plumbing, heating and ventilation systems. An Art-in-Transit project is also planned.

SEPTA is making sustainability a key part of the new loop, which will feature a green roof. This helps improve the environment, and also helps alleviate storm-water problems by reducing run-off. There will also be a landscaped bio-retention basin on the 33rd Street side, which faces Fairmount Park.

Upon completion of the project, the loop will be fully accessible under the standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). ADA-related improvements include raised-boarding areas and new curb cuts.

There will also be safety enhancements for customers, pedestrians and motorists using surrounding roads, such as a redesign of bus lanes to optimize traffic flow and a new curbside bus berthing area. The new facility will reduce the number of bus lanes to three, from the current four, to allow for wider lanes and enhanced boarding access for customers.

The loop will be closed for the duration of construction. Customers are being directed to nearby temporary stops to accommodate work. For more service information related to the project, click here.

SEPTA also has a special section online with details about the project. For more information, click here.

From left: SEPTA General Manager Joseph M. Casey; City Councilman Kenyatta Johnson; U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah; Tonetta Graham, Executive Director, Strawberry Mansion Community Development Corporation; Pa. State Rep. Gary Williams; James Fitzpatrick, representing U.S. Sen. Patrick Toomey; Curtis Wilkerson, representing City Council President Darrell Clarke.

U.S. Rep Chaka Fattah speaks during the groundbreaking ceremony.

SEPTA Deputy General Manager Jeffrey D. Knueppel discusses the project.

GM Casey (left) looks at design plans with Frances Jones (center), SEPTA's Assistant General Manager of Government Affairs, and Robert Lund, SEPTA's Director of Capital Construction.

The SEPTA project team for the 33rd & Dauphin Bus Loop initiative.