2017 NCSITE Outstanding Project Award – GoRaleigh Station Renovations

The GoRaleigh Station Renovation project, accomplished in 2017, was a City of Raleigh venture to transform the City’s downtown bus hub formerly known as the Moore Square Transit Station. The City of Raleigh contracted with WSP USA Inc. to provide master planning, design and construction oversight services for the project. The bus station, built in 1987, was a dated and capacity- constrained facility. WSP established a set of design criteria that included maximizing bus operational capacity and creating a safe, accessible, well-lit and connected public space for passengers, visitors and City residents.

Innovation – A major challenge during the schematic design of the GoRaleigh Station Renovation was the physically constrained site which accommodated a transit facility within the constraints of a downtown City block. The location of the ticket booth and restroom facilities adjacent to the passenger waiting areas on the Blount Street side of the Station was disconnected from the bus lanes. An elevator on the east side of the Moore Square parking deck created safety issues by requiring pedestrians to cross active bus lanes to access the elevator. The design team’s innovative approach included demolition of the existing ticket booth and restroom facilities and construction of two new buildings under the lower level of the Moore Square parking deck. This now enables transit passengers easier access to ticketing, restrooms and buses while under cover from the elements.  A further innovative approach was to demolish an existing stair tower attached to the east side of the Moore Square parking deck which had impeded widening of the bus lanes. A seven-story steel tower containing stairs and an elevator was constructed in the interior of the courtyard.

Significance – GoRaleigh Station will inspire the imagination of designers and engineers to explore innovative solutions for creating functional, attractive and connected public spaces within the constraints of an existing footprint. The GoRaleigh Station Renovation design achieved a transformation of an existing facility without property acquisition or demolition of adjacent businesses.
Construction of a steel tower encompassing a new stair tower and elevator connected to an existing structure was immensely complex and it yielded a transformation of the GoRaleigh station courtyard space. The courtyard was previously an uninviting, poorly lit space with raised planter beds which presented security issues and impeded visibility for pedestrians at night. The space is now well-lit and open, presenting a safe attractive public space which passengers and visitors can use at all hours. The strength and elegance of the architectural statement bus canopies enlivens the bus lanes and provides a clear sense of place. The engineering community and general public has witnessed completion of this complex project while maintaining bus operations throughout
construction.

Transferability – One major concern with renovation of an active transit facility was that bus operations must be maintained throughout the period of construction. The lessons learned through this process could be transferred to other transit agencies looking to renovate or construct near an active transit facility This objective was achieved by dividing the project into two construction phases. In the first phase, the courtyard underneath the parking deck and one of the bus lanes was inaccessible resulting in several bus routes being served adjacent to Moore Square Park with temporary bus shelters. Once the ticket booth and restrooms had achieved a partial certificate of occupancy, GoRaleigh staff were relocated to the new facilities, and the interior bus lane was reopened for use. The east side of the project adjacent to Blount Street was then closed off for demolition and construction activities. Close coordination between the design team, owner and contractor throughout the project successfully maintained operations with minimal disruption to passengers until the Station was fully opened in May 2017.