Metro’s new ‘green’ Division 13 officially opens

A ribbon cutting was held Monday morning. Many of you have probably seen the facility, which sits catty-corner to Union Station and Metro HQ at the corner of Cesar Chavez Boulevard and Vignes Avenue.

Here’s the news release from Metro:

Following three years of construction, today the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LA Metro) inaugurated Division 13, a new, state of the art bus maintenance and operations facility in downtown Los Angeles. Division 13 began operations on February 1, 2016.

“All of Metro’s assets have the ability to transform communities,” said Metro Chair and Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, “Even maintenance buildings have the potential to go beyond the significant function they serve in ensuring that our  transportation system operates in a safe and reliable manner, to being models of great design and sustainability. This is exactly what Division 13 does.”

Division 13 bus maintenance bays feature skylights and bright colored paint that provide reflected light, reducing the need for electricity. Division 13 will achieve a Gold Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating from the US Green Building Council and is Metro’s sixth LEED building.

“Division 13 is a model of energy efficiency and design and will serve as an example for other transportation agencies world-wide,” said LA Metro Board member and Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich. “This necessary investment in our transportation infrastructure ensures safe and reliable travel options to meet the needs of today’s riders as well as for future generations.”

Division 13 will serve as a bus maintenance, operations and service facility with a multi-level parking garage that accommodates 200 Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) buses, fueling equipment, transportation offices and support areas. The facility, which incorporates many sustainable design features, received $53.2 million in federal funding toward the $120 million total project cost.

“Approximately 1.1 million daily transit riders in Los Angeles County rely on bus service to access jobs, medical care, education and other vital services,” said Federal Transit Administration Regional Administrator Leslie Rogers. “Public transportation provides a critical role in helping these people access the ladders of opportunity that they need and deserve.”

Division 13 sits on a 7.4 acre footprint, which is considered small for a facility such as this.

“LA Metro worked with architect RNL Design to efficiently use the limited space. The finished product achieves this goal,” said LA Metro Board First Vice Chair John Fasana.

The location of Division 13 on the edge of downtown Los Angeles presented challenges and opportunities.

“It is important to have this facility close to the city center because that optimizes our excellent bus service throughout central Los Angeles,” said LA Metro Board member Jacquelyn Dupont-Walker.

Incorporated within the design is a 275,000 gallon cistern and pump that repurposes rainwater for bus washing and other uses. Also, the rooftop features a garden with native California plants to combat storm water run-off and the urban heat island effect.

Metro Board member and Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Krekorian noted that Division 13 is a major investment in bus transit for the region, which is part of a holistic approach to transportation in the county. “Metro is also improving highways across L.A. County to help ease traffic and we are preparing to open two new rail extensions this year. Today commuters have more transportation choices than ever before.”

“Division 13 is more than just a new facility to do our work,” said LA Metro CEO Phillip A. Washington. “This advanced facility is a concrete example of how innovative thought can go from the drawing board to the street corner and we are committed to many more forward-thinking projects like this one.”

Division 13 also features a unique artwork titled El Aliso de Los Angeles, which hangs like a lantern lit from within on the exterior façade at the corner of Vignes Street and Cesar Chavez Avenue.  The work commissioned by LA Metro from artist Christine Ulke, depicts a sycamore tree that stood a few blocks south of Division 13 for approximately 400 years. Located near the western bank of the Los Angeles River, the massive tree was at the center of Yaanga, one of the largest settlements of the native Tongva people in the LA basin. In the late 18th century during the Spanish founding of the nearby El Pueblo de la Reina de Los Angeles, the sycamore was mistaken for an alder and acquired the Castilian moniker “El Aliso,” for which it is known today. When it was cut down in 1895 due to encroaching industrialization, it was approximately 60 feet tall with branches extending over 200 feet outwards.  The majestic tree is depicted as a series of LED-illuminated resin panels.

5 replies

  1. If the MTA put HALF as many MILLIONS into improving bus lines (as opposed to CUTTING THEM TWICE A YEAR!), that they did into this “green” bus yard (that no rider will ever utilize!), then MTA would HAVE a FIRST-CLASS bus system! But THAT will NEVER HAPPEN! Can’t do something that will benefit riders now, can ya? its better to BOONDOGGLE MONEY ON THINGS THAT DO NOT MOVE ANYONE!

  2. Busses need maintenance to keep moving right? Better to have that maintenance facility doing less harm to the urban environment than the status quo right? Sometimes you need to look past the surface to find the benefit.