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GRTC responds to questions on proposed Bus Transfer Center at Main Street Station

May 2, 2009 10:51 am by

The Church Hill Association has posted on their site the response from a GRTC representative to several questions submitted by CHA regarding the proposed GRTC Bus Transfer Center at Main Street Station.

I’ve taken the liberty of reproducing the entire post & editing for legibility’s sake. As an aside — I don’t recall that the CHA has voted on this yet, though the questions (see #2) seem to indicate that a point of view has already been established. Did I miss something?

April 27, 2009
Benedicte Whitworth
CHA Membership

GRTC Responses to CHA Questions re: GRTC Bus Transfer Center at Main Street Station – 30% Design Presentation of April 21, 2009

Dear CHA Membership:

Thanks for this opportunity to respond to your questions regarding the proposed GRTC Bus Transfer Center at Main Street Station.  It should be remembered that at the 30% Design stage the plan is still in design development and has many additional phases prior to approval.  The plan is flexible and can be changed to respond to community input.  It is a working plan in progress.  GRTC responses are listed below with the questions.

1. Q:  Do you think that Shockoe Bottom pedestrians will be affected by emissions from the many buses?  Also the same question for the historic structures.  What about emissions from vehicles?

A:  An important element in characterizing site-specific air quality conditions is the identification of carbon monoxide (CO) hot spots.  Hot spots are small areas where CO levels have approached or exceeded national standards, caused by large volumes of slow-moving or idling vehicles that generate heavy CO concentrations.  Implementation of the GRTC Transfer facility is anticipated to result in concentrated bus, and shuttle traffic in the immediate vicinity of the facility, with a corresponding concentration of idling buses.  Most of this activity exist today and is simply a relocation from the existing on-street bus transfer locations along Broad Street, rather then new activity (new emissions). 

Because of this and the minimal traffic impacts found by the traffic analysis, the air quality impacts of the project are expected to be negligible.  CO hot spots are unlikely in the vicinity of the proposed project because VDEQ air quality monitoring data shows that existing CO levels in the area are already well below the CO National Ambient Air Quality Standards and the project will not substantially change emission sources/quantities.

Beyond the bus activity of the GRTC Transfer facility itself, traffic analysis for the transfer center shows that traffic-related impacts attributed to the project are minimal.  The level of additional trip activity is not expected to impact regional air quality because patrons using the public transit system will transfer at the facility.  It will not be a generator of vehicle trips. 

In general, the transit transfer improvements provide long-term improvements to air quality by increasing transit use, thus reducing the number of vehicles and overall vehicle emissions on local roadways.  Furthermore, the project will allow enhanced transit access to the downtown area without expanding the roadway network, thereby reducing auto-dependency for downtown trips.

2. Q:  Why are we encumbering a city landmark and beautiful area with an outmoded technology

A: Main Street Station was originally a transportation hub of activity.  The goal of the project is the rehabilitation and adaptive reuse of the currently vacant Main Street Station “Train Shed” into a GRTC Bus Transfer Center that reestablishes the historical architectural character of the National Historic Landmark while balancing the operational needs of GRTC that makes the Main Street Station into a regional multi-modal transportation facility. 

The City of Richmond has been trying to re-configure Main Street Station into a multi-modal facility combining bicycles, passenger vehicles, taxis, buses, and trains since 1992.  It could be argued that each of those transit modes is outmoded; however, it is GRTC’s concept that the Transfer Center at Main Street Station is just the beginning of modern improvements to Richmond’s transportation infrastructure.  The Transfer Center will also serve the future Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) route down  Broad Street to Willow Lawn and out to Short Pump.  The BRT project is itself a precursor to a potential light rail development.

3. Q:  How many buses will be in the area (in & out of building) per day?

A:  Approximately 1200 buses per work-week day.  It will be reduced on weekends.  The typical work-week day for buses is approximately 20hrs. with bus transfer activity spread throughout the day.

4. Q:  How many people are we talking about in the area per day?  How many bus riders will be in this facility at any one time?

A:  The key to a successful  Transfer Center operation is movement of buses and bus riders.  The transfer center is designed for a maximum wait period at the platform level of 7 to 10 minuets.  It is difficult to determine how many bus riders will be in the facility at any one time as there will be greater transfer activity in the morning and evening rush; however, there will be approximately 5,000 transfers on a typical work-week day.

5. Q:  How is it going to impact Franklin St, Main St and 14th St during rush hour? 

A:  There are two “rush hours” a day.  For bus activity the “rush periods” are 7-9am and 4-6pm.  GRTC has performed a detailed Environmental Assessment (EA) which also contains a Traffic Impact Analysis.  The EA is available on our web site at www.ridegrtc.com under the Mission 2015 subject.  Click on the “learn more” link and go to the EA for the project.  The Traffic Impact Analysis is on Page 32. 

6. Q:  What is the position of the Shockoe Bottom Neighborhood Association regarding this proposal?

A:  They are in opposition to the Transfer Center project.

7.   Q:  I see spill out.  How can we be assured that vagrants and pedestrians do not take control?  And how will they affect businesses surrounding this proposed facility?     

A :  Excellent security and maintenance of the facility and surrounding project area are key to a successful transfer center.  The GRTC program space on the north end of the transfer platform contains office spaces for a security guard as well as a City police officer.  There is also an observation balcony that is restricted access for security personnel only that provides visual control to the platform and the bus ramps.  Additionally, the entire project and area will be under CCTV and monitored by a GRTC security service.  Access will be open to at grade pedestrians who wish to utilize the transfer platform, but can be controlled by fencing and lockable gates during off-service hours.  The purpose of a transfer center is to have efficient movement of buses and riders.  The Transfer Center is designed for a maximum wait period at the platform level of 7 to 10 minutes.  Given the sequence of bus transferring activities, security presence roaming the platform and at an elevated viewing position, and the CCTV monitoring of activities, security control and safety will be excellent. 

Facility maintenance activities are important to the overall experience of the traveling public.  It is also a necessity of a quality operation.  The GRTC will ensure that general trash pick-up and cleaning will occur daily and as needed for an emergency clean-up.

7. Q:  Trash and crime?

A:  Please refer to answer for question #7.


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