Operations & Maintenance Facility Project
Greenlink is committed to improving public transportation for Greenville County residents. The goal of this project is to replace Greenlink’s outdated maintenance facility at 154 Augusta Street, which is landlocked by development in downtown Greenville. The new facility at 205 Arcadia Drive will enable Greenlink to expand its fleet and improve its maintenance efficiencies to meet the ever-growing demand for service enhancements in Greenville County.
In 2017, Greenlink conducted a Comprehensive Operations Analysis (COA) to determine how to make the existing transit network more efficient utilizing its existing budget.
In 2018, Greenlink followed the COA with a Transit Development Plan (TDP) to determine what service expansions would be possible with more funding. The goals of the TDP were to prepare a prioritized service plan that demonstrates where and how Greenlink should operate expanded services in the next five years and make the case for additional transit funding for the service expansion.
Recommendations in the TDP included:
- Extending night service
- Extending Saturday service
- Adding weekday frequency
- Adding Saturday frequency
- Adding Sunday service
- Adding 19 new bus routes
Both the COA and the TDP confirmed that Greenlink’s current maintenance facility is a significant barrier to service improvements and that any expansion of services will require a larger facility. As a result, in 2018, Greenlink applied for a grant from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and was awarded $11 million toward the construction of a new maintenance facility.
While the award amount was significant, per FTA guidelines, the $11 million can only account for 80% of the total project cost of $13.75 million. The other 20%, totaling $2.75 million, must be provided by local funding sources. The City of Greenville appropriated $1.4 million toward the project, leaving Greenlink with a shortfall of $1.35 million.
Rather than providing funding for the project, Greenville County donated land. FTA allows the appraised value of land donations to be applied toward the local match, however, Greenlink had three criteria that had to be met:
- The land must be located on a bus route and be within a reasonable distance from the downtown Transit Center
- The land must include at least 13 acres of developable property, which disqualifies property in a flood plain
- The land should contain existing utilities and infrastructure (sewer, natural gas, nearby signalized intersections)
Based on the criteria, Greenville County identified the property at 205 Arcadia Drive as the only viable option.
In May 2020, Greenville County transferred the property to Greenlink following a public hearing on the land donation on May 5 and three readings of the ordinance by Greenville County Council at its March 3, April 7 and May 5 meetings.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Will buses depart from this site every hour and cause traffic for the surrounding neighborhoods?
A: No. The Greenlink Transit Center, located at 100 W. McBee Avenue in downtown Greenville, will continue to serve as the transfer hub for passengers. Those activities will not occur at 205 Arcadia Drive.
This building will serve as an operations and maintenance facility. Primary activities will include performing mechanical work on a handful of buses during the day; servicing and refueling the buses when service ends at 11:30 p.m.; providing overnight storage and parking when Greenlink is not operating; and housing administrative staff and personnel.
Additionally, the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) 2019 traffic counts indicate that an average of 4,000 vehicles travel on Worley Road each day. Worley Road is designed to accommodate approximately 10,000 vehicles each day – meaning that the current traffic levels are operating at 40% of its capacity. SCDOT 2019 traffic counts indicate that an average of 8,900 vehicles travel on Rutherford Road each day. Rutherford Road is designed to accommodate approximately 28,700 vehicles each day – meaning the current traffic levels are operating at 31% of its capacity. Any increases in traffic volume on these roads should not result in congestion, seeing as the roads have room for additional capacity.
Q: Will this impact air quality for the surrounding neighborhoods?
A: No. The majority of the bus fleet will be off-site providing transit services from 5:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. every Monday through Saturday. When the buses do return to the facility after 11:30 p.m., they will be cleaned, refueled and then parked overnight. The only times that engines will be on and running for the majority of the fleet will be when they depart in the mornings, when they return in the evenings and when they are being serviced. Otherwise, there will not be large numbers of idling engines. Further, Greenlink is beginning to transition to cleaner, alternative fuel vehicles – including electric buses – and is exploring clean compressed natural gas engines for future purchases. Greenlink’s diesel buses are equipped with Cummins engines. Cummins has an environmental sustainable strategy, PLANET 2050, that sets a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) from new products by 25% and to reduce GHG emissions from products in the field by 55 million metric tons by 2030.
Q: How will this impact safety for the families and children in the surrounding neighborhoods?
A: With buses departing before 5:30 a.m. and returning after 11:30 p.m., the facility should have a minimal impact on residents’ daily activities. Greenlink plans to access the property from Worley Road via the signalized intersection at Rutherford Road and North Pleasantburg Drive, which will provide the buses with safe access. Buses will not use Loop Street to access Poinsett Highway and Greenlink employees will be prohibited from driving buses through the New Washington Heights neighborhood.
Q: What will be done to recognize and honor the property’s history as the former home of Washington High School?
A: Greenlink looks forward to partnering with the community, Greenville County, Greenville County Schools and other stakeholders to explore the installation of a historical marker to memorialize the school.
Q: How will Greenlink prevent noise, vibration and light from the facility from disturbing the surrounding neighborhoods?
A: Greenlink is required to install a buffer between the site and adjacent residential areas to dampen sound, vibration and light. The portion of the site that serves as the buffer will be a greenspace and will not be developed.
Q: How much of the site will be developed?
A: The results from an initial study indicate that Greenlink will not need to utilize the entire 26.5- acre site. The remaining acreage could serve as the buffer and greenspace between the facility and the adjacent neighborhood.
Q: The property already causes significant stormwater runoff, which is troublesome for neighboring residents. Will the Greenlink facility make the problem worse?
A: No. The expectation is that the situation will be improved. New developments are required to have a stormwater mitigation plan, which may include a retention pond to prevent runoff into the New Washington Heights neighborhood.
Q: Is there a stakeholders’ group?
A: No; however, a group will be recruited once the designer/architect comes onboard.
Q: How can I stay involved?
The timeline is subject to change but the tentative schedule below provides an overview of the development process:
|June 2020||Kick off project|
|July 2020||Issue solicitation for site designer/architect|
|September 2020||Award contract to the site designer/architect|
|September – December 2020||Draft a preliminary site design and building design|
|January – March 2021 ||Conduct public outreach and solicit feedback on proposed designs|
|February – August 2021||Incorporate public feedback into final design|
|February 2021||Issue solicitation for construction firm to build site|
|April 2021||Award contract to construction firm|
|May – August 2021||Plan project management timeline|
|July 2021||Hold public meeting to present safety and security plan|
|August 2021 – December 2022 ||Construct facility|
|January 2023||Begin operations at the facility|