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More Downtown Parking Than People Realize in Westport

RBA, was hired by the town of Westport, CT to create a master plan of development for the downtown, did the traffic and parking study as Phase I of the master plan. Phase II, which focuses specifically on the downtown, is currently underway to prepare for current and future development. For more on this story, please visit


RBA selected as Design Consultants for Public Improvements Projects Benefitting the New York Public Library

The Stephen A. Schwarzman Building of the New York Public Library (NYPL) is a world-renown City of New York historic landmark that, with Bryant Park, serves as one of the most important public open spaces, and cultural and education centers in New York City. The NYPL is currently concluding a

major, award-winning restoration program involving masonry work and improvements to the roof, façade and granite stairs, bluestone pavement and historic bronze elements on the library plaza on Fifth Avenue between 42nd Street and 40th Street.

Building upon the magnificent restoration of the building, the Fifth Avenue Plaza and the 42nd Street terrace entrance, the NYPL intends to use available Federal funding to extend the restoration program to include three other targeted areas that contribute to public access to and enjoyment of the library environment.

RBA’s Design of the Reconstruction of Parking Fields at Nassau Community College Resulted in the ASCE Long Island Branch Selecting it as the 2014 Sustainable Project of the Year

Problem Statement
RBA was hired by Nassau Community College, the largest single-campus community college in New York State, with an enrollment of 23,000 students, to complete a  fast track and out of the box design to solve many problematic conditions at the campus.  Due to increased enrollment at the college, insufficient parking capacity and traffic bottlenecks exist particularly at peak time periods.  This situation is amplified by the lack of an internal circulation, causing disconnect between available parking and access by students and faculty.  Among the College’s major concerns was student vs. vehicular incidents caused by constant circulating of drivers in search of available parking.  Additionally, the project area had no connection to the remaining campus,   unsafe lighting levels, security concerns and vandalism

Design Solution
The design team in concert with the college crafted a plan centering on an unprecedented combination of three modern design principles: Complete Streets, Sustainable Infrastructure and Context Sensitivity.
The design approach integrated green infrastructure, advanced technology, and multi-modal facilities by treating and infiltrating storm-water in a sustainable manner, utilizing energy efficient lighting and wireless security systems, and incorporating a single lane roundabout, to serve as a central node for access to new parking fields, new campus connections, and a network of safe pedestrian and bicycle facilities.

Social, Economic and Environmental Benefits
This project is a great example of the parking fields of the future.  Parking fields are no longer just a place to temporarily store cars, but, can be public spaces with a variety of functions that can be   environmental, aesthetic, architectural, or energetic in nature.  The fields create a gateway to the college with multi-modal access; the landscaped areas are not only designed with aesthetics in mind, they also collect, treat, store and infiltrate the 100-year storm event; an independent network of safe, well-lit, pedestrian pathways is interwoven into the parking fields

Bronx River Greenway Starlight Park – ACEC 2104 Gold Award

RBA working for the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) and in concert  with New York City Parks and Recreation, the local community and the Bronx River Alliance, a non-profit group working to rejuvenate the River, has built a critical, centrally located, one-mile long, missing link in the Bronx River Greenway.  NYS DOT funded this $17 million project which incorporates new park amenities along a multi-use trail at Starlight Park located along the Bronx River and the Sheridan Expressway between Westchester and East Tremont Avenues in the Bronx. Work included the construction of the multi-use pathways, reconstruction of the 13-acre park with a new synthetic turf multi-purpose field, picnic area, playgrounds with spray showers, basketball courts, and floating docks. The project also adds a new pedestrian bridge across the river, a new park entrance at East 177th Street, and over a mile of landscaped greenway.

The project received an Evergreen Certification under NYSDOT’s GreenLITES program, the highest certification level possible. GreenLITES, or Green Leadership in Transportation Environmental Sustainability, is a nationally recognized program that measures the level of enhancement a transportation project makes to the environment.  One of the key innovative engineering features responsible for this designation is the sustainable storm water drainage design which utilizes environmental best-practices such as rain gardens, infiltration basins, overland permeable swales and an extensive and aggressive native planting program that benefits both the ecology of the park and absorption of water and pollutants. Additional sustainable design features include the use of recycled materials in construction, removal of invasive plant species and the preservation and interpretation of an historic catenary cable structure that was once part of the New York, Westchester and Boston Railway.  The design of these features also garnered the very prestigious Award for Excellence in Design from the New York City Public Design Commission – an award which recognizes outstanding public projects that exemplify the highest design standards as selected by the Commission from hundreds of submissions.

Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway – ACEC 2104 Gold Award

NYCDOT, together with RBA consultant, launched the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway Project in an effort to formalize what had, up to that point, been a community-lead initiative for a 14-mile multi-use path stretching from Newtown Creek on the Brooklyn/Queens border, to Owl’s Head Park in South Brooklyn.

The project is built around three concepts:

  • increasing access to the waterfront
  • improving pedestrian and bicycle safety
  • connecting the numerous public open spaces along the waterfront

The project capitalizes on the success of the Department has experienced in recent years aggressively implementing innovative on-street bicycle accommodations. The publication of the Implementation Plan was seen as a prominent vehicle for continuing to explore and reexamine the equitable use of public right of way and work with other agencies to define a long-term, implementable vision for a world class Urban Waterfront Greenway.

NYC Wayfinding System – ACEC 2014 Platinum Award

In May 2013, the New York City Department of Transportation (NYC DOT) unveiled the first phase of its new citywide pedestrian wayfinding signage system. Encouraging people to walk, bike and ride public transit, the goal of the system is to provide consistent, accurate information that supports and empowers both residents and visitors alike to navigate, understand and explore more of the city. This is the first citywide pedestrian wayfinding system in the US, and it is being rolled-out on an ambition scale to integrate walking, biking and transit systems.

The goal, someday, is to integrate this system throughout the city’s transportation network. As such, the graphics and fonts reflect the largest existing information system that exists: the Subway system. What started as pedestrian wayfinding has already expanded to NYC’s new Bike Share (CitiBike) and Bus Rapid Transit (Select Bus Service) systems. In years to come, if users continue to provide positive feedback, visitors of New York will begin to see these maps and information upon airport arrival, though the transit system above and below ground and in taxis.

Reconstruction of The Hamilton Avenue Asphalt Plant – ACEC 2014 Diamond Award

The Hamilton Avenue Asphalt Plant plays a critical role in the repair and maintenance of New York City’s roadways.  The Plant is one of only a few municipally-owned and operated asphalt plants in the country.  New York City Department of Transportation, Roadway, Repair and Maintenance (CDOT) owns and operates this plant which is a vital to the rehabilitation of roadways in both Staten Island and Brooklyn.

The CM/Design/Build team was responsible for the Purchase and Installation of New Asphalt Plant Equipment for the Hamilton Avenue Asphalt Plant in the Gowanus section of Brooklyn.  The Team worked closely with CDOT to prepare a detailed Request For Proposals to purchase new plant equipment which could keep pace with CDOT’s constant need for asphalt.  The RFP was developed to ensure CDOT would receive the most efficient and highest quality plant while also allowing CDOT to increase their use of Reclaimed Asphalt Pavement (RAP).

After the plant equipment manufacturer was selected, the Team was tasked with working closely with the chosen supplier in order to design the site to accommodate the very specialized equipment.  Site design elements included circulation studies, pile supported foundations, secondary containment areas for large liquid asphalt cement and emulsion tanks, and storm water treatment system designed in accordance with water quality standards.  In support of the new equipment, the Team also designed new mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems including upgraded electric and gas services as well as designing a new fire suppression system.

All design elements were prepared in accordance with Federal, State and local requirements, including Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plans for both Construction Activities and Multi-Sector General Permit, Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasures Plan and a state facility air permit.

RBA Kicks off Hudson Highland Fjord Trail Master Plan with a Successful Public Meeting

125 residents of Putnam and Dutchess Counties came out last Wednesday to share local knowledge and provide input for the routing of this 9-mile trail. After sifting through a great deal of valuable input, RBA will be back this summer to present their proposed route after 4 months of careful analysis of this input as well as a variety of technical and regulatory constraints.

For more on this story, click on this link to http://philipstown.info/2014/02/17/let-fjord-trail-hug-hudson-river/

RBA’s Design Project of Washington Street

About 30 Hoboken residents attended a public meeting on Monday night to discuss what they consider major issues associated with a massive renovation and redesign project of Washington Street that is expected to begin sometime in 2014.

The meeting, which was moderated by the urban design firm RBA Group and city officials, was set up as what one RBA employee called an “idea mill.” It is one of several meetings that the administration of Mayor Dawn Zimmer will hold before the City Council is asked to approve RBA’s project proposal. The meeting was split between a presentation on Washington Street’s existing conditions, and residents’ ideas for its reimagination.

For more on this story, please visit The Hudson Reporter website

RBA and the Waterbury Greenway Project

Jackson Wandres from the RBA Group uncorked a far reaching vision for the Waterbury Greenway Project last night during a presentation at the Board of Aldermen in City Hall. RBA had been hired to design the phase one section of the greenway which included the Platts Mills section of the city up to the Eagle Street Bridge (all in the south end), but through an aggressive intervention by Waterbury Mayor Neil O’Leary, those plans expanded to continue north to Colonial Plaza.

To get the full article on this story, visit http://www.waterburyobserver.org/node/1825