EQUIVALENCY CREDITS FOR LEED ALTERNATIVE TRANSPORTATION INTRODUCTION The Alternative Transportation credits of the LEED Green Building Rating System are intended to reduce pollution and land development impacts associated with automobile use. In many suburban parts of the country, this intent is best met with the identified approaches currently included in the LEED Rating System, such as alternative fuel or car-pool parking. In major urban areas, like New York City, these LEED approaches are not as viable for building owners to implement for obvious reasons. The Hearst Project team (Hearst) has included significant improvements in the project to the adjacent mass transportation subway station. These improvements will encourage increased ridership, in general, and will provide specific benefits for both the physically challenged and elderly riders. Hearst's commitment to make improvements to the Columbus Circle Station is clearly aligned with the intention of the Alternative Transportation credit and warrants recognition as equivalency credits for LEED Sustainable Site Credits 4.2-4.4. The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) suggested, in prior correspondence, that Hearst quantify the increased ridership due to the planned improvements in support of this equivalency proposal. From the data available from New York City Transit (NYCT) the operating Agency, we are able to qualify the significance of this station where the improvements are planned, and to make a reasonable assertion that the ridership will increase and be better served from such improvements. Columbus Circle Station (CCS) Data - NYCT ranks CCS 14th of 424 stations in ridership volume - NYCT reports that over 16 Million riders entered CCS in 2000. - NYCT counted over 187,000 Physically Challenged or Elderly Users entering CCS in 2000 (conservatively low estimate due to counting method). - NYCT projects 4% annual system increase in ridership. - Transfers between subway lines not accounted in ridership estimates. - Over 3 Million SF of Commercial Real Estate planned in the vicinity of CCS It is evident that the Columbus Circle Station is a significant station in the NYCT subway system. Because of Hearst's planned improvements, the CCS station will be more accessible to a broad ridership, including the physically challenged and elderly ridership, whether they are area residents, schoolchildren, commuters to work or visitors to the city. The current station is not Americans with Disability Act (ADA) accessible, but upon completion of the improvements, the station will be fully ADA accessible. Hearst proposes that the request for Equivalency Credits be assessed in light of the extent of and benefits from the planned improvements for Columbus Circle Station. These improvements will result in increased ridership by both general public and special needs public, reducing pollution and land development associated with automobile use. INTENT Reduce pollution and land development impacts from automobile use. REQUIREMENT For projects adjacent to significant mass transportation systems, including subway and commuter rail stations where 5 or more lines stop, make improvements to the station that will enhance the opportunity building occupants, adjacent building occupants, area residents, general public, special needs public. Achieve those objectives by taking the following steps to use mass-transit services for the following public categories: - Enhance access to the station from or through the project site (1pt) - Relieve congestion and improve traffic flow through the station (1pt) - Provide ADA elevators for access and/or transit systems transfers (1pt) DESIGN APPROACH Identify obstacles, deficiencies, and/or poorly maintained access to mass transit stops that are a hindrance to those who use and/or desire to use mass transit systems. Assess whether or not there is ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) access to adjacent mass transit stops. Once these hindrances have been identified, design improvements to remedy them and provide ADA access if not available to adjacent mass transit stops. DOCUMENTATION Provide a narrative that describes improvements made to access adjacent mass transit stops. Provide pre-construction and post-construction drawings that identify improvements made to adjacent mass transit stops. Provide pre-construction and post-construction photographs that highlight improvements made to access of mass transit stops. PROJECT ACTION In conjunction with the New York City MTA (Metropolitan Transit Authority) and NYCT, the design team identified several obstacles and deficiencies that hinder access to the Columbus Circle Station (CCS) is immediately adjacent to the project site. Over time, system entrances have become dilapidated, increased public use has exacerbated congestion at mezzanine and platform level choke points, and the lack of ADA access has discouraged those who are physically-challenged or elderly from using the station. The Hearst Corporation is planning to significantly improve these conditions and further reduce the environmental impacts associated with automobile use by making substantial improvements to the Columbus Circle Station as part of The Hearst Building Project (Project). The improvements will have direct benefit for the ridership by: - Enhancing access to the station from the Project site, - Relieving congestion to access platforms and improving traffic flow through the station, - Providing ADA elevators for transit systems transfers The Hearst Project team requests that the USGBC recognize the planned improvements to the Columbus Circle Station with three Equivalency Credits because these actions represent an equivalent response to the LEED Site Credit 4: Alternative Transportation. Detailed explanations of the subway station improvements are as follows: Enhancing Access to the Station from the Project Site The current Hearst Magazine Building is integrated into the existing subway system with one access point at street level. The planned station improvements will expand access to include an additional entrance to the Columbus Circle Station as part of Project. Enhance Site Entrances (57th Street and Eighth Avenue) The scope of work consists of the construction of a new street to mezzanine entrance stairway along the street face of the proposed building. This stairway will be constructed to a finished width of 8''-6" and tie into the existing lower run of NYCT stairs leading into the southern end of the station's mezzanine. The existing stair will also be replaced with a new, wider stair. These new entrances will have enhanced lighting and finishes that are complimentary of the new Project design and consistent with NYCT current design guidelines. Relieving Congestion and Improving Traffic Flow Relieving Congestion The Columbus Circle Station is one of the New York City Transit's (NYCT) most traveled stations. The station is a crossroad for several transit lines including the Interborough Rapid Transit (IRT) Lines #1 and #2 and the Independent (IND) Lines A, B, C and D. The station was constructed over several decades in several stages. With increased ridership over the years and NYCT's incremental approach to improvements, the public has had to deal with increased congestion to the mezzanine and platforms areas. Bottlenecks and circuitous travel paths between the southbound IRT and southbound IND lines are a prime example. A similar condition exists with the northbound lines. Specific improvements to address these and similar conditions include the following: Relocate 2 End-of-Platform Stairs P-1 & P-3 (between lower mezzanine and downtown IND platforms) This element of work will include the demolition of existing platform to mezzanine stairs (P-1 & P-3) and the construction of new stairs (P-1 & P-3), located to the north of its existing location. This includes all structural modifications to the existing station elements necessary for this construction. Construct a New Stair P-14 (between upper mezzanine IRT downtown platform and IND downtown platform) The element of work will include the demolition of existing mezzanine slab, the re-framing of the mezzanine floor system and the construction of a new stair from the mezzanine to the platform level below. This new stair shall be a steel stringer stair with perforated metal risers and all structural modifications required for the installation. Widen Stair P-6 (between lower mezzanine and uptown IND platform) This element of work will include the demolition of existing mezzanine to platform stair P-6 and the construction of a new, wider stair P-6 in the approximate same location. This new stair shall be a steel stringer stair with perforated metal risers. This includes structural modifications required for the installation of this stair. Improving Traffic Flow: Several improvements to optimize traffic flow though the station were identified. Specifically, the design team plans to install a new stair, relocate the south fare array, reverse a stair, and slab over abandoned stairs. Descriptions of these improvements follow: Construct a New Stair P-15 (between uptown IRT platform and uptown IND platform) The element of work will include the demolition of existing mezzanine slab, the re-framing of the mezzanine floor system and the construction of a new stair from the mezzanine to the platform level below. This new stair shall be a steel stringer stair with perforated metal risers and all structural modifications required for the installation. Relocate Fare Array and Token Booth (mezzanine level) The element of work will include the removal and relocation of the existing turnstile array (all existing elements) and Token Booth N06051 several column bays to the north. This relocation shall be performed in conjunction with the northerly relocation of platform to mezzanine stairs P-1 and P-3. All labor necessary for electrical and communication work for this relocation is included. Reverse and Relocate a Stair P-4 (between mezzanine and IND platform levels) This element of work will include the demolition of existing platform to mezzanine stair P-4 and the relocation, reversal and construction of a new stair P-4, located to the north of its existing location. All structural modifications to the existing station elements necessary for this construction are included. Any portion of the existing stairwell opening not required for the new stair construction shall be slabbed over. Remove and Slab over Abandoned Stairwells P-1, P-2, P-3 and P-5 (between mezzanine and platform levels) This element of work will include the removal of the above listed existing stair and the slabbing over of the remaining stairwell openings. Repairs at the platform level following the removal of the stairs shall be made as required to restore the concrete platform finish. All structural modifications to the existing station elements necessary for this construction are included. Providing ADA Access The current Columbus Circle Station configuration has no elevators between the mezzanine and platform levels. The design team's proposal includes 3 ADA elevators that would provide access for physically challenged and elderly ridership to all platforms and mezzanines within the station. These elevators and their related components will be designed to current NYCT guidelines and specifications. Related components consist of electrical, communication and plumbing work. Currently, the New York MTA estimates that 187,000 physically challenged or elderly persons enter the Columbus Circle subway station annually. This figure is conservatively low given that NYCT can only track those riders that have sought out and use a special transit card that permits tracking when they enter the system at Columbus Circle Station. This does not account for the large ridership that utilize the station for the intra-system transfers. Construct a 3-stop ADA Elevator (connect IND mezzanine level, downtown IND platform & downtown IRT platform) This element of work will include the installation of one 3 stop elevator and its related machine room, as well as all ancillary components required for the operation of the elevator. All structural work necessary to modify the existing station to accept this elevator and machine room as well as the above described general electrical, communication and plumbing work shall be included in this item. Construct two 2-stop ADA elevators (connect IND mezzanine level to uptown IND platform) This element of work will include the installation of two 2-stop elevators and its related machine rooms, as well as all ancillary components required for the operation of these elevators. All structural work necessary to modify the existing station to accept this elevator and machine room as well as the above described general electrical, communication and plumbing work are included in this item. These elevators and their related components will be design and installed in accordance with current NYCT specifications and guidelines.
The Sustainable Sites Technical Advisory Group (LEED subcommittee) has determined that while the data provided does "qualify the significance of this station" as an element of a larger system, it falls short in providing quantifiable data to support the NYCT projection of a 4% annual system increase in ridership due to the improvements at the Columbus Circle Station. Similarly, the language of this CIR (and the previous CIR 0307-IDc10-062102) leaves out specific information regarding the physical and aesthetic improvements that will be made to lower barriers to ridership; this information is critical to determining the applicability of these improvements to the project's LEED Application. The USGBC encourages the applicant project to outline the specific improvements that have been made to he Columbus Circle Station that have lowered barriers to ridership, and to demonstrate (through peer-reviewed studies of such improvements in other mass transit stations or through ridership counts of the applicant building's staff and visitors) that these improvements have definitely affected the transportation habits of the applicant building's occupants. The applicant would also strengthen its case by summarizing the location of other ADA compliant stations in the area. Furthermore, the USGBC encourages the project to apply for an Innovation Credit, instead of equivalency for SS Alternative Transportation credits.
Related Addenda (Corrections & Interpretations)