Green Doors is excited to announce that Austin’s first-ever green roofed bus stop has been installed … and it’s at Pecan Springs Commons!
Located at the intersection of Manor Road and Rogge Lane in Northeast Austin and serving passengers of the north-bound 20 bus line, this groundbreaking project is the result of a lengthy collaboration that started way back in 2009. Green Doors was just one year into the redevelopment of Pecan Springs Commons, a massive undertaking that was designed and executed in part by the Austin Community Design and Development Center, or ACDDC.
“Sam Gelfand at ACDDC contacted me one day almost three years ago about the idea of having Green Doors participate in our newly launched program, GRO Austin (Green Roof Over Austin),” recalls Lauren Woodward Stanley. Lauren, along with Dylan Siegler and Casey Boyter, are the founders of GRoWERS, a local group dedicated to advancing awareness of green roofs in Austin. “Sam knew about this program, in which we seek candidates who want to build a small (postage-stamp sized) green roof in the Austin area, and thought it might be an interesting fit since the Pecan Springs housing project needed a sort of gateway.”
So, Green Doors applied for CapMetro’s Adopt-a-Stop program. After several meetings with CapMetro to ensure that everyone was on board with the concept, Lauren set out to design what would become a first for the City of Austin: a bus stop with a living roof.
The fabrication of the intricate metal art structure was completed by Lauren’s partner in life and work, Lars Stanley. (The pair, who work together as Stanley Studio, are at the forefront of the green roof movement in Austin, having been featured in last summer’s New York Times singing the method’s praises.) The team also consulted with Stephanie Tsen, a structural engineer and member of the Pecan Springs Neighborhood Association. “Stephanie was a significant collaborator and contributor to the final design, since this is a highly irregular structure,” Lauren explains.
Once the structure was completed and installed, it was time for the GRoWERS team to work their magic. Joined by a pair of Green Doors volunteers, the group – which includes Dave Williams, Drew Sloat, and Jon Kinder — spent a Saturday filling and hoisting buckets of soil before raking and prepping the roof for a summer-hardy garden 13 feet in the air.
Engineered soil (a mix of lava rock, granite, composted cow manure and rice hulls) serves as the perfect home for spineless prickly pear and lechuguilla agave. Come fall, the team behind GRoWERS will be adding native grasses and wildflowers to the mix. “The idea was for it to be low maintenance and highly visible to the neighborhood,” explains Casey Boyter, though she points out that there is also an irrigation system which can be turned on manually in the dry season.
Now that it’s actually a part of the neighborhood, the new bus stop has everyone excited. Christa Noland, Green Doors’ deputy director, was out taking pictures of the final phase of installation when a gentleman from the neighborhood approcahed her to ask what was going on. When she explained the metal art sculpture topped with a cactus garden was the new bus stop for the number 20 bus, he was happily suprised. “Here?” he replied, smiling incredulously. “Y’all are putting it here? We never get anything like that! That’s for the west side!”