Grand Central Terminal in New York City, Union Station in Denver, 30th Street Station in Philadelphia: These iconic facilities transcend generations and are destinations in and of themselves. The Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA) set out to join this list with the new Jacksonville Regional Transportation Center at La Villa (JRTC). The JTA’s goal with this project was to centralize their dispersed connec- tion hubs and services into one multi-functional facility that would become a model of transportation efficiency, signature aesthetics and community-serving features. This ambitious project began in an unconventional fashion, with a design competition. The JTA challenged entrants to create a facility that would simultaneously serve the core functions of transportation and JTA offices while helping to build connections and revitalize the region. Many designs were submitted, but only one hit the mark: time- less and modern, effective and innovative. The winning firm, a joint venture between Michael Baker International and Pond & Company (officially known as the Pond|Michael Baker International JV), put forth a 67,000-square-foot facility that realizes complete-streets con- nections within an historic Jacksonville district. The project was completed using construction-manager-at-risk de- livery, with the Pond|Michael Baker International JV serving as the project’s lead designer and providing community coordination and outreach, architecture, interior designs, structural engineering, civil en- gineering, M|E|P|FP engineering, landscape architecture, right-of-way and utility coordination, geotechnical engineering and construction management services. KCI provided general contractor services. A Uniting Force Connections are at the heart of the JRTC and to that end, the design process reflected the importance of community. The facility is located in Jacksonville’s LaVilla neighborhood, an area that has long been regarded as an important center for African American culture and commerce but in recent years has seen economic activity decline. The JTA saw the design and construction of the JRTC as an opportunity to reinvigorate the once-multicultural district. So, when it came to design, the team began by imagining the area as a whole, envisioning the sur- rounding parcels and how they would interact with the structure, rather than using the structure as its starting point. At the same time, the needs of JTA’s individual departments and operations were taken into account, particularly the bus routes and schedules. The team designed the facility to balance the center’s layout between public and private transit entities and ensure the safety of all visitors and passengers, as much of the site was devoted to vehicular circulation. TODstrategieswere employed in the design of the JRTCand the finished product is more than somewhere to catch a bus – it is a destination with Connecting Jacksonville with the Future By Brian Russell, P.E., David Tudryn, AIA, and Andrew C. Rodgers, P.E.
centralized local, intercity regional transit networks (including 21 bus bays and seven staging bays), paratransit services, alternative mobility solutions, an elevated automated people mover (APM) system called the Skyway and space for future services. Inside, the JRTC consists of five floors of JTA office space, with two of the floors offering public space for riders and boarding and circulation spaces for buses, taxis, rental car services and an elevated rail system. The third floor includes an executive Board Room for regularly scheduled Board meetings and other large public meetings. Distinct elevator lobbies at each public level separate the public areas from JTA administrative functions but offer enough access to experience the views of Jacksonville and create a sense of community. The JRTC has become a hub of activity for the community, even hosting regular events such as farmer’s markets, and its interior spaces include significant contributions from local Jackson- ville artists, which honor and memorialize the LaVilla Neighborhood’s music, heritage and transportation history. The team also wove the JRTC’s exterior into the fabric of the neighbor- hood by providing gathering spaces, sidewalks, bike-sharing and busi- ness space. To further improve safe access to transit, the team designed
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