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Big Blue Bus Facility Expansion


HOK was commissioned to design an expansion of the Big Blue Bus Maintenance Facility in the heart of Santa Monica. The project contains a new bus maintenance building, bus parking and maintenance yard to accommodate a diverse fleet of 204 buses. These buses will consist of both conventional and articulated buses and will include LNG/CNG vehicles. The construction of these components is master planned in multiple phases to give clarity and flexibility to the overall site, and to maintain continuous operations at a minimal impact to service.

This project is particularly significant from both a financial and civic perspective. From a financial perspective, the new maintenance building is necessary to allow the Big Blue Bus to expand its current bus fleet size and better serve the surrounding communities. From a civic perspective, the design goal is to create a distinctive landmark for the City, a show case for the Big Blue Bus transportation program and the City’s commitment to sustainability.
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The New Big Blue Bus Maintenance Facility

Staff parking separate from the bus parking for 120 cars within the site is a major component of the project because its north facing boundary is integrated with the public art. The public art piece spans between 6th and 7th Streets along Colorado Ave providing for an animated street presence and privacy to the site. It is an artwork utilizing special glass that switches between transparency and translucency in milliseconds. The glass wall will be a frosted blue curving surface that will become transparent blue in individually controlled panels. The look of the wall will be that of a moving façade that ripples with light and pattern across the skin of the fence.

The entrance to the site will feature a new and upgraded security guard booth with an entrance canopy above marking the main entry to the Big Blue Bus. The new Big Blue Bus maintenance facility spaces are arranged based on the most efficient use of space and work flow to enhance operations. Spaces will all feature upgraded and low maintenance finishes with recycled content.

On the lower level, the locker rooms are all designed with single-tier/full-height lockers, multiple fixtures and a shower immediately below the office area and close to the repair bays. The Maintenance Training Room will be equipped with an AV system for projection and whiteboard. A separate storage room adjacent to the training room houses the training equipment. A separate tool box area and portable equipment storage off the repair bay floor provides for a wider clear working area on both sides of the bus. In addition the repair bays of the new facility are designed wider than the existing conditions. The Supervisor’s office and monitoring area is centrally located in the building with clear visibility to the repair bays. All of the repair bays will have a high-reflective finish concrete floor hardener that increases lighting levels and is resistant to oils and chipping.
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The North second level will consist of a separate office suite with management offices, multi-purpose room, file storage and open office work area. On the same level are restrooms, additional archive/file storage and lunch room all accessible through stairs and elevator. The South second level is primarily Parts Storage, utility rooms and the repair mezzanine for the AC repair bay.

Out in the bus parking and maintenance yard is a separate enclosed area that is designated for trash, recycling, the signs/stops work area and hazardous materials storage. All tire storage for new and used tires will all be contained in the new facility and not in the yard.

The project incorporates many sustainable features, such as the use of high-albedo concrete in the vehicle maintenance yard, materials with recycled content, reclaimed water for irrigation, and the use of photovoltaic panels. The bus parking and maintenance yard features a stormwater management system which includes clarifiers, detention vaults and infiltration galleries. The building was designed to take full advantage of Santa Monica’s climate by maximizing the use of natural daylighting and by providing an energy-efficient exterior envelope.

bbbNight  Sustainable features of the new Big Blue Bus Maintenance Facility include:
  • Recycled content in the building materials; carpet, gypsum board, steel, finishes
  • 15% Fly-ash included in all building and Site concrete work.
  • High-albedo roofing material
  • High-albedo concrete in the vehicle maintenance yard
  • Dual Glazed, low-e glass
  • 80KW Photovoltaics with the potential  for expansion
  • Recycled water for landscape irrigation (drip irrigation system)
  • Energy efficiency measures (energy management system, minimum energy factor water heaters, fluorescent and metal halide lighting)
  • Stormwater Management System
  • Indigenous landscaping
  • Dimming and occupancy lighting sensors
  • Bicycle parking
  • Electric Cart Charging Stations
Materials in the new Big Blue Bus Maintenance Facility include:
  • Cast-in-place Concrete
  • Insulated Metal Panels.
  • Dual Glazed, low-e glass
  • CMU
  • Cement plaster
  • Polycarbonate  panels
  • Public Art Glass
Equipment in the new Big Blue Bus Maintenance Facility includes:
  • 12 Standard Repair Bays and Vehicle Lifts & Equipment (exhaust reels, lube & oil reels, radiant heaters, air & electric trapeze, sectional roll-up doors, safety harness, work benches)
  • 3 of the 12 Standard Repair Bays are designed to accommodate articulated buses
  • 8 Specialty Repair Bays and Vehicle Lifts & Equipment (AC Bay, 2-Fire Bays, 2-Body Shop, Tire shop, and 2-Chassis Wash)
  • Inspection Pit with a Pneumatic Rolling Lift
  • Integrated CNG/LNG Gas Detection System
  • Parts Equipment Lift
  • Monorails in Repair Bays
  • AC Bay with Pneumatic Rolling Lift and Repair Mezzanine
  • Tool Box Storage Area
  • Battery Room (conveying bench storage system)
  • Tire Storage (for new and used tires)
  • Lube and Compressor System (supply/waste circulating pump system)
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