A renovated bus station in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina is providing commuters with a safer and more accessible transportation hub.
GoRaleigh Station, formerly known as Moore Square Station, opened in May, serving 7,000 passengers on weekdays.
WSP USA provided master planning, design and construction administration services for the project on behalf of the City of Raleigh, which owns and operates the GoRaleigh transit system. WSP developed design criteria that maximized bus operational capacity and created a safe, accessible, well-lit and connected public space for passengers.
“WSP used original thinking to deconstruct and rebuild the bus station, transforming it into a vibrant and connected public space,” said Morven MacLean, project manager for WSP.
Moore Square Station opened in 1987, but nearly 30 years later, it had become a dated facility with inadequate signage and limited seating.
“The original design created a safety concern by requiring passengers to cross active bus lanes to access a stair tower and elevator,” MacLean said. “We relocated the stair/elevator to an interior courtyard, removing this concern and activating underused space.”
In addition to GoRaleigh, the city’s public transit system, the station also serves buses operated by GoTriangle, the regional transit agency. The new station will support investments under a $2.3 billion program to expand transit service in Raleigh and Wake County over the next 10 years.
The renovated station included the construction of a new ticket booth and public restrooms and added electronic passenger messaging display systems throughout.
Demolition of the previous stair tower allowed for the widening of the bus lanes, increasing capacity and throughput of buses.
“We deconstructed and rebuilt the facility within the existing footprint and constraints of the site, without any demolition or acquisition of adjacent properties,” MacLean said. “The goal was to improve the passenger experience and transform the space.”
Attaching the steel frame for the new stair-and-elevator tower to the existing post-tensioned tendon parking deck was a significant challenge, which required engineering adjustments and close coordination during construction.
“Our most innovative concept was to break apart and rebuild the station elements, relocating new passenger facilities underneath the existing Moore Square parking deck, previously a dead space in the center of the bus station,” MacLean said.
Bus service disruptions were kept to a minimum through careful phasing of construction activities.
The success of the GoRaleigh Station has spurred renovation of other existing facilities, as well as the construction of new passenger facilities. WSP is already working on the design for GoRaleigh’s next project.
“We have completed concept design of a new GoRaleigh/GoTriangle bus node in the warehouse district of Raleigh, which will be an exciting development for the city,” MacLean said. “It will be a six-to-eight-bay ground-level transit facility with a mixed-use overbuild of up to 17 stories, which will provide a transit connection to the new Raleigh Union Station.”
In November, GoRaleigh Station was selected as the winner of an Engineering Excellence Award from the American Council of Engineering Companies – North Carolina chapter.
“This project, while relatively small in terms of capital construction costs, had a high level of complexity with all engineering disciplines engaged,” MacLean said. “I am grateful the WSP team’s hard work in partnership with the City of Raleigh was recognized by ACEC.”
The project was also named Outstanding Project of the Year 2017 by the North Carolina State Institute of Traffic Engineers.
“I think the transformative nature of the project in a visible part of downtown Raleigh – which is currently undergoing tremendous revitalization and growth – was a key factor in winning these awards,” MacLean said.
She is pleased to have had the opportunity to improve transit access in her hometown.
“When I walk through the station, which I do several times a week, I’m reminded of when I was there during construction wearing boots and a hard hat. I remember placing every light pole and bike rack,” MacLean said. “For me there is a great feeling of personal pride that comes with being a part of the successful transformation of an aging and constrained bus station into a functional, attractive and connected public space.”