Amid heat wave, L.A. transit center to combat global warming

Posted on August 17, 2012 by Nicole Schlosser

Rendering courtesy RNL Design.
Rendering courtesy RNL Design.

In the midst of a stifling heat wave, which experts say has no doubt been brought on by global warming, Los Angeles County Metropolitan Authority (Metro), like many other transit systems across the U.S., is preparing to go even greener with a new LEED-certified transit center.

Yesterday, some of us editors on METRO were able to get a sneak peek at the East Los Angeles project under construction, thanks to a gracious invitation from RNL Design, the design architects on the project (who worked with the design-build team of KPRS/Gensler on the structure) and Metro. We stood at the top of the new parking structure in the 90-degree heat and sun, watching construction workers  make progress on the bus station, canopies and buildings that will house the transit store and bike center. While it isn’t photo-ready just yet, we were able to get some renderings to share, including this aerial view: 

Rendering courtesy RNL Design.
Rendering courtesy RNL Design.

El Monte, Calif.’s almost-complete LA Metro El Monte Transit Station is expected to be the busiest bus terminal west of Chicago when it begins operating later this fall, a Metro spokesperson told us. Construction on the project began in September 2010.

With support from a $210 million federal congestion mitigation grant, Metro is rebuilding and expanding the old station to double its current size, according to Metro officials. Currently served by Metro, Foothill Transit, Greyhound and El Monte Transit, the former facility lacked the capacity to handle additional bus service and wasn't initially designed to accommodate newer-generation compressed natural gas buses.

The new facility will include a two-level station, which will mitigate traffic congestion. It will accommodate nearly double the number of passengers, from 22,000 to 40,000, as well as almost twice the number of buses (from 16 to 30).  Bikers will have an easier commute with bicycle lockers, storage and maintenance kits available. The transit center also earned LEED Gold status for its solar panels, LED lighting, use of natural light and drought-resistant plants in the landscaping.

A winner of the 2010 American Institute of Architects “Next LA” Citation Award, the project also features a regional transit store; building space for future retail opportunities; new way finding signage; and serves 40-foot and 60-foot articulated buses. It also supports additional bus service on the I-10 El Monte Busway to enhance the performance of the I-10 Metro Express Lanes Demonstration Project.

We often read and report on similar projects, but it’s still impressive to get to see one in progress. It’s encouraging to think that maybe someday, with these extra efforts being made, some of the heat of climate change will subside.

In case you missed it...

Read our METRO blog, "SEPTA helps community farm grow" here.

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