It will take about two years but Rochester, N.Y., bus riders will have a new 87,000-sq-ft, enclosed transit center that promises to make their waits and transfers more comfortable and convenient, city officials say. Workers broke ground last November on the $50-million center, which is set for completion in spring 2015 and is projected to create 400 Rochester construction jobs and 50 new, permanent positions.

Rendering Courtesy of Bergmann Associates

The center is the first of its kind in Rochester, says Vince Press, spokesman for Rochester-based Bergmann Associates that, along with Rochester-based Pike Co., forms the design-build team on the project. The Rochester Genesee Regional Transportation Authority (RGRTA), which works closely with the city, is the owner and operator of the facility.

Bus transfers "have always taken place outside, in the elements, primarily stretched along four blocks of Rochester's Main Street," Press says. But the new terminal will consolidate this operation under one roof. "RGRTA has been pursuing this indoor solution for its customers for more than a decade," he adds.

The enclosed, one-story terminal, located in the city's downtown district, will span a city block between St. Paul St. and North Clinton Ave. The terminal, which aims to achieve LEED Silver certification, will include 30 Regional Transit Services bus bays.

"From the sweeping curves of glass and precast concrete exterior, to the featured changeable lighting 'ribbon' ceiling, to the terrazzo floor design that replicates flowing water, to the 'motion' wall that lines the concourse," the center's design is "all about motion, the motion of people, busses, seasons, activity and progress," says Joseph Istvan, Bergmann project design manager.

Calling the center a "vital component" of Rochester's downtown revitalization efforts, Mayor Thomas Richards said in a statement last year that it will move bus transfer stops off Main Street, make the area more pedestrian friendly and allow for street parking.

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D., N.Y.) helped to obtain funding for the project, Richards says. The Federal Transit Administration is providing $40 million for the work, and RGRTA and the N.Y. Dept. of Transporation are each contributing $5 million.