ROANOKE, Va. – The City of Roanoke is shifting into high gear and moving full speed ahead with plans to relocate its downtown Transit Transfer Center.
Earlier this month, Valley Metro chose Spectrum Design, a Roanoke-based company, to design the new bus station for about $600,000.
Valley Metro General Manager Kevin Price said the city’s outgrown the old station on Campbell Avenue as both the size of the buses and the number of riders have increased.
Price said that Spectrum has experience designing transit centers and phasing projects to make the transition easier. He wants the new station to be safer for pedestrians and drivers and include an updated layout and features, like security cameras and technology.
“Lots of lighting. Lots of enhanced features for passengers, such as solar panels, real-time bus information so the passengers will know exactly where their bus is and when it’s going to be there and how many people are on the bus,” Price said. “Some of the things you see in a larger metropolitan area, we want to bring to Roanoke.”
The old station will be renovated into apartments and retail space. Riders like Shaundrea McGriff, who takes the bus every day, said she’s on-board with the changes.
“It’s more open, it’s a bigger space, you know, for the groups of people moving in and out. So I think it’ll be way better,” McGriff said.
The move has faced backlash from residents and business owners over traffic and crime, including West Station developer Bill Chapman, who told 10 News that it is too soon to comment on the city’s latest step until he sees the design plans.
Price said Valley Metro wants to work with people to address their concerns and be a good neighbor.
“Transit is vital. This is a unique opportunity to do something that may drive other development in that area, so this is a good opportunity,"
Valley Metro plans to work with Spectrum over the next couple months to come up with a design plan, then get public input before taking the plans to the Board of Zoning Appeals sometime in the spring.