VIA Metropolitan Transit was recently recognized by the city of San Antonio with a sustainability award for its transit center.

VIA received the SA Tomorrow Sustainability Award for the VIA Villa: Centro Plaza in the Commercial Project category.

Centro Plaza, located on the near-West Side of Downtown San Antonio, was conceived as a full-service transit plaza to complement the VIA Administrative headquarters building — The Grand, located across the street from Centro Plaza.

The City’s SA Tomorrow Sustainability Award recognizes VIA’s overarching goals for the Plaza—integration of transportation planning, sustainability, historic rehabilitation/adaptive reuse and placemaking — which provide the overall framework and approach to its development. The honor was presented Nov. 1.

VIA’s newest transit center opened in fall of 2015 — a significant development that is among many capital improvement projects underway from VIA SmartMove, a set of initiatives developed from VIA’s Long Range Comprehensive Transportation Plan.

In addition to enhanced passenger amenities and expanded transportation options, VIA integrated a larger sustainability-conscious footprint at Centro Plaza. The site incorporates several components which reduce the use of natural resources. Compressed Natural Gas buses access the Plaza. A comprehensive underground water storage system utilizes storm water and irrigates the Plaza’s tree grove, or bosque. The area is shaded by a canopy system which supports an energy-generating, solar panel collection. The shade reduces the amount of conditioned space that is needed, which decreases energy consumption.

The Plaza provides complimentary 4G LTE WiFi, digital next-bus arrival signs, enclosed waiting areas, a full Customer Service Center, and the first Bexar County BiblioTech kiosks for VIA’s new Ride & Read initiative. The partnership provides VIA patrons access to an extensive digital library. Public art elements anchored by “Centro Chroma Tower,” a piece by internationally renowned artist Bill FitzGibbons utilize LED lighting, and enhance the customer experience.