MOTHER CLARE HALE BUS DEPOT REPLACEMENT CHARRETTE REPORT
Design professionals are trained to solve specific problems in their specialized fields. Problems, however, rarely fit neatly into such narrow boundaries. But in creating a discussion between the professionals and the community, the professionals stand to learn a great deal of valuable information from the community about their overall concerns, especially how a new project can affect the quality of life in their neighborhood.
MTA New York City Transit, in conjunction with the community’s Mother Clara Hale Depot Reconstruction Task Force, launched the Mother Clara Hale Bus Depot charrette with the intention of creating a new atmosphere of mutual respect and trust between the agency and the community. The hope is that this sort of relationship in turn could help in maintaining the new facility and deter vandalism. The results of the charrette are described in the report. While the meeting was very successful and many issues were aired and discussed, each of the parties will also need to recognize that this one project is part of a much wider list of issues that concern the community, and that the level of expectations is probably more than any single agency can achieve.
The hope is that the process the MTA started will spread to other municipal agencies and that the individuals who reside in the community will make their constructive voices heard, thus creating better, more sustainable projects that will not impact negatively on the life of residents in the area.
Achva Benzinberg Stein, FASLA
Professor and Director Landscape Architecture Program and the City College Architecture Center
The City College of New York
Mother Clare Hale Bus Depot Replacement
MOTHER CLARA HALE BUS DEPOT
The new Mother Clara Hale Bus Depot will replace the existing depot. The new depot will consist of three fully enclosed floors and a mezzanine. Each floor is approximately 129,000 square feet and the mezzanine is approximately 14,000 square feet, a total building area of approximately 400,000 square feet. The depot will be designed to accommodate 150 buses. The previous depot accommodated 123 buses. The additional capacity of the new depot is planned to accommodate fleet growth in the future.
Mother Clara Hale Bus depot is located on the East Side of Upper Manhattan at 721 Lenox Avenue, Manhattan. It is bounded by Lenox Avenue to the East, 146th Street to the South, a private property to the West and by 147th Street to the North. The site area is approximately 2.98 acres.
Mother Clara Hale Depot was originally constructed as a two-story trolley barn in the 1890’s. The second floor was removed in 1939 when the facility was converted for use as a bus depot. The building underwent rehabilitation in two stages between 1983 and 1990.
The 1993 Bus Strategy and Facility Development Plan had slated Mother Clara Hale Depot for closure in the year 2001 if ridership and fleet size continued to shrink. However, the success of the MTA’s fare incentives has resulted in increased fleet requirements and the need to keep the depot open. The existing facility cannot function adequately and efficiently due to its age and obsolete equipment. Consequently, it was decided to replace the depot with a modern and green bus facility.
The plan requires that the existing bus depot be demolished in its entirety. The design for the new bus depot will be based on NYC Transit’s “Latest Bus Depot Planning and Design Guidelines.” The bus depot will contain facilities for the service and maintenance functions needed to support the smooth operation of the buses assigned to it.
It will include an interior area for bus queuing, a service area for bus fueling and revenue extraction, a bus washing area and a maintenance area consisting of dedicated lift positions for regular size buses and areas for articulated buses. In addition, space will be allocated within the bus depot, for administrative activities, employee facilities, and utility requirements. The new Mother Clara Hale Depot will provide indoor storage for approximately 150 standard buses, addressing the long existing condition where, because of capacity limitations, buses have been parked on the street
NYC Transit intends to utilize the design-build method for this project and will retain a Design-Build team to fast track the design and construction of the facility. NYC Transit will provide a basic conceptual design for the facility advanced to the 10-15% design level. The design of the project is to be progressed by the Contractor through final design.
The Design-Build team shall consist of the Construction Contractor and design firm(s) (Design Professional) in a joint venture, or as a subcontractor, to perform the design work. The Design-Build team shall provide all architectural/engineering, as well as other necessary or appropriate professional or technical services for the proper design and construction of the project.
Mother Clara Hale Depot was closed on January 6, 2008, and all buses assigned to Mother Clara Hale were successfully reassigned to other operating locations. The demolition process began in early 2009. The design-build contract is scheduled for award in September 2009. The new rebuilt Mother Clara Hale Depot is anticipated to open in 2013.
Introduction: The Charrette
As part of the community outreach effort led by NYC Transit’s Division of Government & Community Relations, NYC Transit is partnering with the community in a Mother Clara Hale Reconstruction Task Force. At the Task Force’s suggestion, NYC Transit agreed to a Community Design Charrette to identify what the community considers to be the greatest impacts of the reconstruction project and to capture their recommended mitigation strategies.
The Community Design Charrette was held on September 20, 2008. The format of the Charrette was developed in consultation with the Mother Clara Hale Reconstruction Task Force. Professor Achva Stein of the City College of New York was recruited to serve as facilitator for the Charrette.
NYC Transit was represented at the charrette by staff from CPM’s Buses Program, Environmental, Electrical and Architectural groups, Department of Buses, and Government and Community Relations. CPM’s Environmental Consultant Parsons-Brinckerhoff attended to support the NYC Transit staff. Approximately 150 members of the community participated in the charrette, with community representatives from the MCH Reconstruction Task Force playing key roles.
The day began with introductions of the planned components of the charrette, developed in conjunction with community Task Force representatives, and a general description of the project. Five breakout groups were assembled and a group leader from the community, assisted by a co-leader from NYC Transit, led each group discussion. The breakout groups focused on Site; Air Quality; Energy; Water, and Materials.
The issues discussed in the breakout groups and proposed strategies to resolve these issues were prioritized within each group. The discussions were carefully and exhaustively recorded on flip charts; PowerPoint presentations of the impacts and solutions were prepared in each group during and immediately following the breakout sessions.
Following the individual break out sessions in the morning, the results of each break out session were presented by community representatives at the whole-group wrap-up meeting during the afternoon session of the Charrette. Issues and solutions often overlapped between the groups. A methodology was developed to analyze the recommendations heard at the Charrette, allowing concerns and mitigations to be ranked in order of relative importance to the community.
To analyze their relative importance a score of one (1) was given to a topic every time it was deemed a priority by any group and as such listed in the presentation; a score of one-half was given if a topic appeared on a flipchart at the breakout session but did not make it into the group presentation.
The maximum score of five corresponds to the number of working breakout focus groups of the Charrette. The Charrette Summary with back up was reviewed by the community representatives and formed the core of the discussion below.
The NYC Transit MCH Charrette Report Team arranged responses by relative ranking of importance of the topics involved as determined by the Community.
1. LEED certification - Score of 5
The community clearly considers greening of the new depot its highest priority. To ensure that the green design and construction follow an accepted set of strict guidelines and to provide third-party validation of the process, LEED for New Construction v2.2 rating system by US Green Building Council was chosen. Although LEED rating system does not lend itself easily for implementation in the design of the industrial building type, having already built a LEED certified transportation facility (the Corona Rail Maintenance Shop), NYC Transit embraced the challenge. The MCH project is registered with the USGBC under LEED for New Construction v2.2. NYC Transit is committed to building a LEED-certified facility, blazing the way for industrial infrastructure to be evaluated and certified as best examples of sustainable design.
2. Green Roof (Vegetated) – Score of 4.5
The community uniformly advocated for a green roof on the new Mother Clara Hale Bus Depot. Recognizing the importance of this environmental amenity to the neighborhood, NYC Transit is committed to providing probably the largest green roof in the City of New York at approximately 65,000 SF. This would represent 50% of the surface of the roof, which would allow space for necessary rooftop equipment, and surface used for rainwater collection.
3. Solar Panel (Photovoltaic cells) – Score of 3.5
NYC Transit continues to be on the forefront concerning Photovoltaic (Solar) applications. In the mid-nineties, NYC Transit started installing solar power units; to date, these include: a 300kW system on top of Gun Hill Road Bus Depot – one of the largest Photovoltaic facilities on the East Coast; a 65 kW PV system at Roosevelt Ave-74th Street Station; the Corona Maintenance Shop 100kW rooftop system, and the 76,000 square foot solar canopy over Stillwell Terminal, which produces 250kW of clean power.
A photovoltaic system is not included in the design because the sun exposure of the panels on the available roof space to the light spectrum used by photovoltaic process will not be sufficient due to shading, given the urban setting of the surrounding multifamily buildings. Other transit facilities are being studied to ascertain the value of photovoltaic technology; however, this facility is not among the more suitable locations.
4. Design for future technologies – Score of 3
In the course of the Charrette, community members expressed their wish for NYC Transit to keep an open mind while designing this monumental facility in their neighborhood. NYC Transit is constantly evaluating new cutting-edge emerging technologies for application, as appropriate, in its operations. If a significant future technology becomes clearly relevant and applicable between finished design and building completion that has a potential to affect fuel positively consumption, air quality, economics or other sustainability concerns, a change will then be considered.
One example of a potential new technology under consideration is SolarWall™ Technology; when installed in place of traditional wall cladding, it passively heats outside air prior to mechanical intake. The potential benefits include improving indoor air quality, providing ventilation, reducing heat loss from wall, reducing emissions, and lower heating bills.
5. Accountability & Communications – Score of 2.5
NYC Transit is committed to working in partnership with the community that surrounds the Mother Clara Hale Depot (MCH) and to keep residents informed about this important reconstruction project. Towards this end, NYC Transit’s Department of Government and Community Relations (GCR) has worked with local community leaders and elected officials concerning the progress of the MCH Project since February of 2008. In partnership with the above leaders, GCR created the MCH Task Force which is comprised of representatives from the local surrounding community, representatives from elected officials of the State Senate, Assembly, City Council and Manhattan Borough Presidents Office, WEACT and, of course, NYC Transit.
Regularly scheduled meetings of the Task Force are held where updates, progress reports and discussions about design, construction and operational issues are aired.
Prior to this Charrette GCR also worked with Environmental Engineering and Marketing to develop a Mother Clara Hale web page to provide the community with up to date information on asbestos removal, fuel tank removal and daily air monitoring data. This web site will continue to be updated throughout the project.
6. Thermal Insulation for building envelope – Score of 2.5
A bus depot is typically designed without concern for thermal design, similar to a parking garage, with an open façade. In response to the community’s desire to have a closed and environmentally responsive facility, NYC Transit will insure the envelope of this building exceeds NYS energy codes yielding a high performance façade. This will result in energy savings and corresponding reduction of emissions.
7. Trees and Landscaping –Score of 2.5
The community clearly articulated the need to introduce landscape and greenery onto the site. NYC Transit is committed to incorporate the maximum number of sidewalk trees allowable. MTA is working in partnership with New York City to attain the goal of planting 1 million trees through the city. The MCH site is a perfect example of a site that can benefit from the planting of trees to provide shade and help support the absorption of Carbon Dioxide and other pollutants within the city limits.
8. Art Work / Aesthetics – Score of 2.5
The community expressed a strong desire to include local artists’ work, specifically locally cultural and historic art in design into the fabric of the building façade. NYC Transit will insure the building design incorporates art within the exterior façade. The design team includes MTA-Arts for Transit and will work with the community to identify artists to be considered to design this architecturally integral artwork. The standard MTA Arts for Transit process will be followed.
9. Rain Water Collection - Score of 2
Rainwater will be harvested from the roof. A system will be designed to capture runoff and store rainwater in a tank that will supplement bus wash daily demand. We are also considering the use of rainwater for applications such as toilet and urinal flushing and custodial uses. Rainwater capture eases the burden on the neighborhood storm sewer at the times of significant rain events, reducing street flooding, and, when used in various critical water-intensive applications, helps minimize the use of potable water.
10. Material Recycling – Score of 2
The materials to be used during construction such as steel and concrete will have a significant amount of recycled content – materials that are derived from previously used products and/or previously discarded by-products of manufacturing processes, otherwise destined to landfills.
According to the NYC Transit standard specification “Waste Management”, included in the contract documents, it will be mandatory for this project to divert at least 75% of construction and demolition (C&D) debris from landfills through recycling, reuse and salvage of waste. Contractors’ Waste Management Plan, reviewed and approved by NYC Transit, includes all necessary provisions to achieve the target waste minimization and to provide appropriate supporting documentation as required by both internal specification and LEED process.
Both efforts shall lower this project’s burden on virgin resources, minimize landfill space, and, in case of reuse, reduce transportation impacts of the construction.
11. Wind Power - Score of 2
Currently, NYC Transit’s Environmental Engineering division is conducting a study of the available wind resource for potential use of wind energy at MCH. If the site is deemed to have enough wind resources, then the design team will consider the feasibility of adding wind turbines to help power the facility. Mother Clare Hale Bus
Renewable energy generation is beneficial in carbon footprint reduction and fossil fuel avoidance. Harvesting energy from wind is one of the leading alternative energy sources currently identified by the President of the United States as a long-term renewable energy source, so we are looking at this very carefully.
12. Lighting – Score of 2
Interior and exterior lighting will be designed in such a way to minimize light pollution and light trespass into adjacent residential units while providing for security on the site. Since this is a 24/7 operating facility that is in close proximity to multifamily residential buildings, a balance needs to be struck in order to provide lighting for security but not allow the neighboring residential units to be disturbed by the light.
13. Efficient and Low NOx Boilers – Score of 2
In preparing designs for replacing old boilers in our system, NYC TRANSIT is specifying Low-NOx boilers that can reduce the Oxides of Nitrogen (or NOx) level in the exhaust to around 30 ppm. Oxides of Nitrogen are a contributing factor in the localized formation of smog. While conventional boilers produce NOx emissions in the range of 100 ppm (gas) or 185 ppm (light oil), low NOx equipment can yield a NOx reduction in the 70-85% range (depending on fuel type) from conventional equipment. Mother Clara Hale Bus Depot will include Low-NOx (Nitrogen Oxides) boilers.
14. Efficient Equipment, Motors and Heat Recovery Units (HRU) – Score of 2
NYC Transit recognizes that Ventilation systems have a significant impact on energy use in particular because of the high costs and emissions associated with the heating and cooling of outside air that is to be introduced to establish and maintain an appropriately controlled indoor environment. To reduce a building’s ventilation energy load, Heat Recovery Units (HRU) can be utilized and are now specified for many NYC Transit projects, including Mother Clare Hale Bus Depot.
During the heating season, an HRU recovers heat from the outgoing, stale indoor air and uses a heat-exchange core to preheat incoming fresh outdoor air. The HRU system then distributes the incoming air throughout the building. During the cooling season, the HRU acts in reverse; stale, cooler indoor air is exhausted to the outside and cools the hot incoming air prior to entering the building.
NYC Transit’s standard specifications already include the use of highly efficient equipment such as compressors, lifts and motors to minimize energy consumption; many will be installed at MCH. This will contribute to lowering the air emissions emitted from the bus depot.
15. Hybrid buses – Score of 2
It is anticipated that the rebuilt Mother Clara Hale Depot will be at or close to having a 100% hybrid-electric bus fleet, assuming that new buses are delivered on schedule. Hybrid buses are more fuel-efficient than either standard diesel or CNG buses because they capture the energy from braking to generate power. Improving battery technologies are expected to enhance the performance of hybrid buses further.
NYC Transit’s Department of Buses and MTA Bus introduced 825 hybrid electric buses into service between 2003 and 2008, with more to come in 2009 based on available funding. These buses consume, on average, 30% less fuel than the buses they replaced, with comparable greenhouse gas reductions. Presently there are over 1000 Hybrid Buses within the MTA system.
16. No Idling – Score of 2
Idling, which is a term generally used when vehicles are running their engine while in a standstill position, wastes precious fuel resources and creates unnecessary pollution. It is MTA’s policy that no bus idling is permitted. NYC Transit Bus Operators are trained and refreshed annually on this policy, and are evaluated on adherence to this ‘No Idling’ policy.
17. Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel (ULSD) – Score of 2
In 2000, NYC Transit became the first public transportation system in the country to convert all diesel buses in its fleet to ultra-low sulfur fuel, years ahead of federal mandates. All hybrid and remaining diesel buses will continue to operate on ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel. NYC Transit introduced Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel fuel (ULSD) into the fleet in anticipation of a major retrofit program for exhaust particulate (soot) filters (DPF’s), which require this fuel.
18. White Roof – Score of 1.5
Traditional blacktop roofs absorb heat during the summer and necessitate the increase of energy to keep a building cool. This also contributes to what is known as the heat island effect. The heat island effect is when a preponderance of buildings in a city absorb and hold the heat creating a much hotter atmosphere during summertime. A white or reflective roof reflects the rays of the sun and reduces the absorption of heat and proportionally reduces the amount of heat emitted to the surrounds.
During the Charrette, the discussion of a white reflective roof in order to reduce the local heat island effect and provide a more energy efficient building brought to light the community’s concern about the incorporation of a highly reflective roof surface, which may be annoying to the residents in the surrounding buildings. In response, NYC Transit will insure a high efficiency roof capable of preventing heat gain, mitigate urban heat island effect yet not cause unwanted glare.
19. Energy Monitoring System – Score of 1.5
Energy monitoring systems have been installed and put into operation at various NYC Transit facilities. They tally and trend energy usage at a facility so that operating staff can change operating modes/conditions as appropriate. A computerized system to monitor and record the building’s energy performance information will be installed to help NYC Transit manage efficient energy consumption at MCH.
20. Natural Lighting and Fenestration – Score of 1.5
The Charrette process brought to light the community’s desire to improve visibility from the depot to the sidewalk in order to improve the perception of personal security. The building fenestration will be designed to improve this visibility. Natural daylight will result and serve as an integral part of the building design; both transparent and translucent applications will be incorporated.
21. Water Efficient Fixtures – Score of 1
In any facility where a lot of people work, especially performing such tasks as engine maintenance and bus inspection, a lot of potable water is used for hand-washing and lavatory fixtures, as well as toilets. Technologies exist that allow workers to maintain good personal hygiene while utilizing reduced amounts of water including aeration, dual-flush and pressure-balancing being well-known examples. Fixtures that use less water than established by the EPA Act of 1995 are called low-flow fixtures. Low-flow fixtures will be installed in this facility. This will not only reduce potable water consumption, but will also ease the burden on the local sewer system.
22. Oil/Water Separators – Score of 1
An Oil/water separator is used to pre-treat wastewater. It is a flow-through device in which wastewater enters the separator and treated water exits the separator on a continual basis. The oil/water separator provides sufficient hydraulic retention time to allow oil droplets to rise to the surface. The oil forms a separate layer that can then be removed by skimmers, pumps, or other methods. The wastewater outlet is located below the oil level so that water leaving the separator is free of the oil that accumulates at the top of the unit. Oil/Water Separators are standard in NYC Transit bus depot design.
23. Bus Wash Water Reclamation System – Score of 1
As a standard practice going back many years, NYC Transit reclaims water used in the bus washing process, then treats and reuses this water in subsequent bus washing. At MCH, this practice will save about a million gallons of potable water each year, reducing the burden on NYC’s sewers and water treatment system.
24. Alternative Fuels – Score of 1
Biodiesel will be blended into the diesel used at MCH for both transportation fuel and heating oil. In addition, NYC Transit will continue to purchase an increasing portion of its electricity generated from renewable sources. Finally, as discussed in other sections of this report, if feasible, MCH may produce renewable energy onsite. All of these measures will serve to reduce the carbon footprint of the MCH operations.
25. Diesel Particulate Filters – Score of 1
NYC Transit began a program of retrofitting the entire bus fleet with Diesel Particulate Filters and procuring all new buses with filters. Since then, NYC Transit has retrofitted over 3,100 buses with DPF’s. NYC Transit and MTA Bus together have purchased all of their new buses with factory-installed filters.
The result of this filter program, and the replacement of older buses with newer cleaner buses, has been a significant reduction in the overall fleet production of particulate material, greatly reducing particulates emitted into the air reducing the negative effects on people with asthma.
All buses in NYC Transit’s fleet are equipped with the best available emissions control technology. These systems are regularly maintained to ensure maximum effectiveness.
From the beginning of this reconstruction process, and with a clear understanding of the environmental impacts to the surrounding community, NYC Transit has been committed to designing the new MCH Bus Depot with the most current state of the art Green Design features in the region.
In following up on the recommendations elicited at the Community Design Charrette, NYC Transit has prepared this report to provide detailed responses to the recommendations as well as to solidify commitments to assure that the reconstructed MCH Depot be as “Green” and compatible with the community as possible.
Out of twenty five priority elements identified by the West Harlem Community, twenty three are currently being incorporated into the MCH design and operations (represented on the chart by green bars); one more is under study, research or consideration (yellow bar); only one is not applicable to this building (red bar). Topics of the highest importance are treated with NYC Transit’s utmost attention; for example, LEED certification process is well underway. NYC Transit will continue ongoing collaboration with the community to build the best possible bus depot for this vibrant neighborhood.
The reconstructed depot will be designed to meet the standards of the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Standards (“LEED certified”), New York City’s Department of Design and Construction High Performance Building Guidelines, or similar nationally recognized independent guidelines to achieve a comprehensive “green” design for the rebuilding, reconstruction, and landscaping of the new depot.
The reconstructed depot will also incorporate energy efficient equipment, use water conservation methods such as rainwater collection, provide environmental controls to mitigate on-site air and noise pollution, and include a high-performance roof. In addition, the depot will be designed so as not to require on-street, outdoor parking of buses.
NYC Transit will continue to meet with community representatives to review exterior design, landscaping, and construction plans. NYC Transit will make good-faith efforts to incorporate community suggestions and address community concerns through every phase of the project, keeping the community informed throughout the rebuild process.
- Google Translate