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 The goal of this project is to replace Greenlink’s outdated maintenance facility at 154 Augusta Street, which is landlocked by development in downtown Greenville.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.

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Background

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.

MeetingDate
Greenville County Council Committee of the Whole MeetingMarch 3, 2020
Greenville County Council First ReadingMarch 3, 2020
Greenville County Public Hearing (Cancelled)April 7, 2020
Greenville County Council Second ReadingApril 7, 2020
Greenville County Public Hearing NoticeApril 17, 2020
Greenville County Public Hearing and Third ReadingMay 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 adopted a new sustainability goal in February 2021 that prioritizes 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 engines have incorporated technology to meet the 2010 emission regulations. Learn more about diesel exhaust fluid, selective catalytic reduction, and diesel particulate filters – all of which help reduce diesel emissions. Additionally, 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, buses will not use North Main Street to access Rutherford Road, and Greenlink employees will be prohibited from driving buses through the New Washington Heights neighborhood. This map shows the intended driving route for buses traveling between the Maintenance Facility and the downtown Transit Center.

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:   Will the facility be built to LEED standards?

A:    The facility will be designed to meet LEED requirements. However, at this time, it is undetermined which LEED credits will be included in the design. Some ideas include photovoltaic cells, a live roof, recycled or captured bus wash water, and automatic dimming glass. Regardless of the criteria requirements for LEED, the goal is to design a green building that uses less energy and water, reduces waste, saves maintenance and operations costs, and creates less environmental burdens on the community. 

Q:   Will fuel tanks be stored underground?

A:    No. Greenlink plans to use above-ground fuel tanks to store fuel. Storing tanks above-ground will provide additional mitigation for possible environmental impacts against any potential fuel leaks. These tanks will have a secondary wall to provide a second layer of protection from spills. 

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:   Will the project disrupt the existing basketball court, or will the project displace any property owners?

A:    No. There are not any plans to develop on the area around the existing basketball court. Likewise, the project design will not cross property boundaries affecting homeowners. Residential properties will not be relocated.

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:   There are plans to include a “Community Room” in the Operations and Maintenance Facility. What can that room be used for? Who will have access to that room?

A:    The Community Room will serve as the board room for the Greenville Transit Authority Board of Directors meetings. Additionally, Greenlink staff may use the room for presentations, trainings, and other events. When the room is not in-use by the GTA or Greenlink, the room will be available for members of the public to reserve for meetings and events. The room’s capacity, technology equipment, and other amenities will be determined during the design phase. The process for making a reservation is still being determined.

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, and subsequent meetings have been tentatively scheduled every three weeks. The stakeholder group includes the following individuals: 

Angela AikenCharles GardnerDavid Modeen
Adriene AtkinsonVic GardnerInez Morris
Channing BanksLisa HalloJonathan Navarro
Jerri BrinkleyJonathan HannaJean Phelps
Ernest BurgessTy HouckTiphany Powell
Angelica ChildesLindsey JacobsShelby Richards
John ChildesCharity JonesEric Richey
Louise ColtsonDonnie MadisonSusan Shuller-Frantz
Weston DrippsMonique MattisonTamela Spann
Emanuel DuncanKevin MitchellCarolyn Williams
Traci Fant


Documents from the February 18, 2021 stakeholder group meeting can be downloaded:

The stakeholder group met for a second meeting on March 18, 2021. Meeting materials are available:

The stakeholder group met for a third meeting on April 15, 2021. The meeting consisted of small group discussions about the project and potential amenities. Minutes are available:

The stakeholder group met for a fourth meeting on May 6, 2021. The meeting provided a presentation to update the group on the progress of the project. Meeting materials are available:


Q:   How can I stay involved?

A:    Greenlink will post regular updates online at RideGreenlink.com/BusGarage. Residents can also call 864-467-4284, email Info@RideGreenlink.com, or subscribe to the Greenlink enewsletter.  

Project Schedule

The timeline is subject to change but the tentative schedule below provides an overview of the development process:

July 2020Issue solicitation for site designer/architect
December 2020Award contract to the site designer/architect
February 2021Begin stakeholder outreach
March – June 2021Draft 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 2022Incorporate public feedback into final design
September 2021Award contract to construction firm
October 2021 – January 2022Plan project management timeline
December 2021Hold public meeting to present safety and security plan
January – December 2022  Construct facility
January 2023Begin 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.