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Finding Function and Identity in a New Joint Operations Facility

erie metropolitan transit authority Erie, pennsylvania, USA
The Erie Metropolitan Transit Authority's new joint operations facility consolidates operations, provides a new functional and energy-efficient space, and establishes a new identity within the community.

Since 1966, the Erie Metropolitan Transit Authority (EMTA) has been serving the public transportation needs of Erie County. To meet current and future needs, EMTA is building two new facilities that will consolidate their operations so all transit facilities and staff are in one location instead of spread across four.

EMTA’s new Joint Operations Facility project is being done in two phases. Phase 1 was completed in 2016 and includes a 61,000-square-foot maintenance facility that houses 12 maintenance lifts to accommodate bus and paratransit vehicles, a four-bay body and paint shop, bus wash, and fueling systems for CNG, diesel and gas vehicles. 

square feet of new maintenance, storage, office and retail space
buses and transit vehicles

CDM Smith de­signed and is cur­rently pro­vid­ing con­struc­tion ser­vices on Phase 2, a 147,000-square-foot fleet stor­age fa­cil­ity that will pro­vide stor­age space for EMTA’s grow­ing fleet of 160 buses and para­tran­sit ve­hi­cles. The pro­ject in­cludes a two-story ad­min­is­tra­tion build­ing and three-story park­ing garage to ac­com­mo­date all em­ploy­ees’ of­fice and park­ing needs. The ground level of the park­ing garage has 10,000 square-feet of tran­sit-ori­ented re­tail space that will help gen­er­ate in­come for EMTA.

One of the biggest chal­lenges was main­tain­ing bus ser­vice with­out in­ter­rupt­ing EMTA’s op­er­a­tions due to fa­cil­ity con­struc­tion. The pro­ject was de­signed to in­clude 5 stages of de­mo­li­tion and con­struc­tion to allow par­tial ac­cess to park­ing, ex­ist­ing build­ings, ex­ist­ing fu­el­ing and cir­cu­la­tion of the site while main­tain­ing ser­vice.  

When the project is complete in late 2018, EMTA will have all staff, from operations and maintenance to their highest executives, at a single location. 

The new site’s long and nar­row foot­print also cre­ated chal­lenges for the de­sign team who had to cre­ate proper cir­cu­la­tion and seg­re­ga­tion for buses, per­son­nel ve­hi­cles and de­liv­ery trucks. In ad­di­tion to hav­ing to de­mol­ish nine build­ings, the site sat atop a high pres­sure gas line, re­quir­ing CDM Smith to ad­dress en­vi­ron­men­tal mit­i­ga­tion con­cerns and be com­pli­ant with the Find­ings of No Sig­nif­i­cant Im­pact and the Fed­eral Tran­sit Ad­min­is­tra­tion mit­i­ga­tion re­quire­ments.

When the pro­ject is com­plete in late 2018, EMTA will have all staff, from op­er­a­tions and main­te­nance, to their high­est ex­ec­u­tives, at a sin­gle lo­ca­tion. The new space will be func­tional and en­ergy-ef­fi­cient, and give EMTA a new iden­tity within the com­mu­nity.  

Tim King Tim King
Construction of the joint ops facility will accommodate current site operations without interruption.

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