Calif.’s Big Blue Bus honored for eco-maintenance facility

Posted on December 6, 2010

[IMAGE]BigBlueMaintFacility-Exterior-Photo-Credit-Lawrence-Anderson-2.jpg[/IMAGE] Santa Monica, Calif.’s Big Blue Bus has been honored with the 2010 Project of the Year award from the Southern California chapter of the American Public Works Association (APWA). The award is being given in recognition of the transit agency’s environmentally significant 66,000 square-foot maintenance facility expansion project, which was completed in the fall of 2009.

"Each year, the APWA recognizes public agencies for their outstanding achievements, and also for the wealth of good ideas they share with others,” said George Alvarez, president of the Southern California chapter of the APWA. “The Big Blue Bus facility expansion project has earned this recognition for its demonstrated awareness of the need to protect and enhance the environment, while also contributing positively to the community it serves."

[IMAGE]BigBlueMaintFacility-Bus-on-Lift-Photo-credit-Gary-Kruger-2.jpg[/IMAGE] The $60 million project, which was financed entirely by public transit funds, features the latest in sustainable transit maintenance technologies, including the ability to service every type of alternative fueled vehicle in the transit agency’s fleet. The project was a collaborative effort between the Big Blue Bus and the city’s Department of Public Works.

“The city’s architectural and construction management on this project was outstanding, and we owe a lot to them for having this project turn out so exceptionally,” said Stephanie Negriff, director of transit services for the Big Blue Bus.

The expansion project included the construction of 21 high-tech service bays, which can handle the maintenance and repair of up to 20 buses a day, and also the demolition of the previous 40-year old maintenance building. Two of the new bays are dedicated to Santa Monica Fire Department vehicles, while three others are extra-long to service the new 60-foot articulated buses on order.

In keeping with the city’s commitment to sustainability, the facility includes many eco-friendly and energy efficient features, such as 600 roof-mounted photovoltaic panels, minimum energy water heaters to help reduce operating costs and an urban runoff system to filter storm water.

In addition, recycled content was used extensively in a variety of constructions materials, including concrete, structural steel, carpeting, gypsum board, finishes and insulation.

A distinctive feature of the facility is the 200-foot long programmable glass art wall situated along the perimeter, which contains special translucent panels that change colors and patterns to simulate movement along the glass skin. The wall helps provide privacy for the expanded bus yard, and also incorporates a bus stop at one end.

The Los Angeles office of HOK served as the facility’s architect and Morley Builders handled the construction.

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