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 The goal of this project is to replace Greenlink’s outdated maintenance facility at 154 Augusta Street, which is landlocked by development in downtown Greenville.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 week night service - Greenlink implemented the extended schedule M-F 5:30 a.m.-11:30 p.m. on January 4, 2021.
- Extending Saturday service - Greenlink is currently hiring to extend the Saturday schedule to 5:30 a.m.-11:30 p.m. in Q2 2021.
- 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, Greenlink identified the property at 205 Arcadia Drive as the only County-owned 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. An outline of these meetings is included below.
|Greenville County Council Committee of the Whole Meeting||March 3, 2020|
|Greenville County Council First Reading||March 3, 2020|
|Greenville County Public Hearing (Cancelled)||April 7, 2020|
|Greenville County Council Second Reading||April 7, 2020|
|Greenville County Public Hearing Notice||April 17, 2020|
|Greenville County Public Hearing and Third Reading||May 5, 2020|
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. The Greenville Transit Authority anticipates adopting a new sustainability goal in Q1 2021 that will prioritize alternative-fueled vehicles for future fleet replacement and expansion purchases. This goal will take effect when the new operations and maintenance facility is open.
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. Additionally, berms and walls will be considered as options to further prevent sound, vibration, and light.
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: The design team officially started January 26, 2021. Upon the execution of the contract for service, the architects, engineers, Greenville Transit Authority, and Greenlink staff began planning for a stakeholder group meeting. The first meeting took place on February 18, 2021. The stakeholder group includes the following individuals:
|Angela Aiken||Charles Gardner||David Modeen|
|Adriene Atkinson||Lisa Hallo||Inez Morris|
|Channing Banks||Jonathan Hanna||Jonathan Navarro|
|Ernest Burgess||Ty Houck||Jean Phelps|
|Angelica Childes||Lindsey Jacobs||Tiphany Powell|
|John Childes||Charity Jones||Shelby Richards|
|Weston Dripps||Donnie Madison||Susan Shuller-Frantz|
|Emanuel Duncan||Monique Mattison||Tamela Spann|
|Traci Fant||Kevin Mitchell||Carolyn Williams|
Documents from the February 18, 2021 stakeholder group meeting can be downloaded:
Q: How can I stay involved?
The timeline is subject to change but the tentative schedule below provides an overview of the development process:
|July 2020||Issue solicitation for site designer/architect|
|December 2020||Award contract to the site designer/architect|
|February 2021||Begin stakeholder outreach|
|March – June 2021||Draft a preliminary site design and building design. Conduct public outreach and solicit feedback on proposed designs|
|Spring 2021||Issue solicitation for construction firm to build site|
|July 2021 – January 2022||Incorporate public feedback into final design|
|September 2021||Award contract to construction firm|
|October 2021 – January 2022||Plan project management timeline|
|December 2021||Hold public meeting to present safety and security plan|
|January – December 2022||Construct facility|
|January 2023||Begin operations at the facility|
Site Selection History
In June 2015, GTA contracted with Michael Baker International to complete a Bus Maintenance Facility Assessment Feasibility Study. The study explored 9 locations across Greenville County and ranked the “best” site for a new maintenance facility. Ultimately, GTA opted not to relocate at that time due to the estimated increase in operations expenses associated with the relocation and a lack of funding for a new facility. In January 2016, Wendel worked with GTA to look at 7 new sites that may function to relocate the maintenance facility; again, options were not pursued due to a lack of funding.
In 2018, while GTA was wrapping up the 2020-2024 Transit Development Plan (TDP), GTA again began to look for potential sites to relocate the maintenance facility. At the time, a site on Mauldin Road, owned by The Greenville Housing Authority and across the street from Renewable Water Resources (ReWa), was being seriously considered. However, a sought over attribute for the ideal location would be to locate the facility within walking distance of an existing bus route so that the facility could be utilized for public meetings and for employees to have access to transit services. This location is not currently served by a bus route and is not a location for future planned expansions due to low population density. For those reasons, combined with a lack of funding, this location could not be purchased for this project.
Other privately-owned locations that were considered included 3335 Old Buncombe Road, which is an EPA Superfund Site and Greenlink did not have the funds needed to address environmental issues, and a property on Sulphur Springs Road at the crossing of the Swamp Rabbit Trail, which is located in a flood area without funds to mitigate.
Realizing that a land donation was needed to satisfy the local match required for the grant, GTA began to evaluate other opportunities in late-2018, primarily County-owned land including: 1500 Piedmont Hwy, Piedmont, SC; 661 Rutherford Rd, Greenville, SC; and 205 Arcadia Drive, Greenville, SC.
Staff examined 1500 Piedmont Highway but learned that it was a deeded as a park conservation and in order for the County to donate it to GTA, another site would have to be purchased for the purpose of a park. Further, it is located 6.3 miles from the downtown Transit Center and there is no planned or existing transit service at that site.
The site at 661 Rutherford Road is only 2.5 miles from the Transit Center and is located along an existing bus route. However, Greenville County decided it did not have a place to relocate an existing structure on the site to and the site was found to have a large tract in a flood plain.
This left 205 Arcadia Drive; the site was large enough, clean, has utilities, is on a bus route, and is close to the Transit Center.
GTA made a formal ask to Greenville County to donate the land; GTA took ownership in August 2020.
- 2015 Bus Maintenance Facility Assessment Feasibility Study (PDF)
- 2016 Maintenance Facility Relocation Site Review (PDF)
- 2018 Federal Transit Administration 5339(b) Grant Application (PDF)
- FTA National Environmental Policy Act Categorical Exclusion and Documented Categorical Exclusion Worksheet (PDF)
- Stakeholders Meeting Presentation 2.18.21 (PDF)
- Stakeholders Meeting Minutes 2.18.21 (PDF)