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33rd & Dauphin Bus Loop: SEPTA Modernizes Important Transit Hub While Keeping Heritage In-Tact

By Andrew Busch and Manuel McDonnell Smith
SEPTA Media Relations

Fully modernize an aging transit hub to provide first-class amenities for customers, while preserving the historical value it has to the community.

These were the goals that were set - and met - as part of the 33rd and Dauphin Bus Loop Project. After a 12 months of reconstruction, SEPTA joined elected officials and members of the Strawberry Mansion community on Wednesday, September 25, 2013 to officially dedicate the new facility.

U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah (PA-02), who was instrumental in helping secure a Federal Transit Administration grant for the $4 million project, took part in the ribbon-cutting festivities.

"I am honored to help SEPTA celebrate the opening of the new 33rd and Dauphin Bus Loop, " Fattah said. "The rehabilitation of the loop was a community-driven project that would not have been possible without the support and input of Strawberry Mansion residents."

The loop has significant historic value to the community, and the reconstruction kept this legacy in-tact. The new loop incorporates original brick and masonry that has been recycled, the cherubs that have long marked the facade, and repaired and repainted decorative cornice trim - features that have made this loop unique and a neighborhood cornerstone.

"The partnership between SEPTA and the community was key to making this project a success," said SEPTA General Manager Joseph M. Casey. "The input and assistance we received from neighbors was critical throughout this process."

The loop serves 2,115 riders daily as the start or terminus for Routes 7, 39 and 54, and stops for 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.

The new 33rd and Dauphin facility has a number of stand-out features, including a "green roof" that utilizes plant modules and other materials. In addition to improving sustainability and helping create a more livable urban environment, the green roof reduces storm-water run-off. A new underground storm-water management system will also help improve drainage.

Reconstruction also made the facility fully accessible under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), with improvements such as raised boarding areas and new curb cuts. In addition, the reconstruction included safety enhancements for customers, pedestrians and motorists who use the roads surrounding the loop, such as the redesign of bus lanes to optimize traffic flow, and a new curbside bus berthing area. The new main bus shed also provides enhanced boarding access for customers and provides better operating conditions for buses. The original facility served as a loop and depot for trolleys.

Other amenities for customers include a new bus canopy, passenger shelters, benches, enhanced lighting, trash cans and signs. Bike racks have also been installed, as have new plumbing, heating and ventilation systems.

"With a focus on livability and preservation, this project reflects the ongoing economic revitalization efforts in the area and maintains the legacy of this historic facility," Fattah said. "The loop has served Philadelphians for the past 110 years and these improvements will allow it to serve another generation of transit riders."

The reconstructed loop features a one-of-a-kind Art in Transit project , "Arches of Resurgence", by British-born artist Michael Morgan. The piece features brick arches that are designed to inspire hope and renewal, and link elements of nearby Fairmount Park with the community. The installation features a line from a song by legendary jazz musician John Coltrane, who lived in the neighborhood during some of the most celebrated years of his career.

"This facility has long been a landmark for SEPTA and the community," said SEPTA General Manager Joseph M. Casey. "SEPTA is proud of the loop's transformation into a state-of-the-art transit hub that can serve as a centerpiece for neighborhood revitalization, while also providing customers with the modern amenities they deserve."

At the center, SEPTA General Manager Joseph M. Casey and U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah (PA-02) use the large ceremonial scissors to cut the ribbon on the newly reconstructed 33rd and Dauphin Bus Loop. Philadelphia City Councilman Kenyatta Johnson (left), City Council President Council President Darrell Clarke (right), members of the Strawberry Mansion community, and other dignitaries also helped out.

A view of the newly reconstructed main building and bus canopy at the 33rd & Dauphin Bus Loop.

The reconstructed loop features a one-of-a-kind Art in Transit project, "Arches of Resurgence", by British-born artist Michael Morgan.

Congressman Fattah (left) Councilman Johnson (center) and SEPTA GM Casey (right) took a ride in a scissor lift to view the green roof on top of the main building at the loop.

SEPTA's Engineering, Maintenance and Construction team (pictured here) played a major role in the project, which was finished several months ahead of schedule.