On Thursday, Mayor McFarlane participated in a groundbreaking ceremony for Raleigh’s new Downtown Remote Operations Facility. This site is located directly across the street from the Critical Public Safety Center, and will house a number of the city’s operations divisions such as Vehicle Fleet Services, Street Maintenance and Traffic Engineering.
The city’s current facilities are located in the center of downtown at Devereaux Meadows, but the facilities are aging and have limited space for our city work crews as Raleigh has grown over the years and the demand for services increased. When the current facilities at Devereaux Meadows were first built, Raleigh had a population of about 150,000 residents over 55 square miles. Today, our population is about 423,000 residents over 145 square miles.
“Constructing the Downtown Remote Operations Center will provide the city with the facilities we need to be more efficient and continue to provide high-quality services to citizens as the city continues to grow over the next few decades,” Mayor McFarlane said on Thursday.
In 2005, the city completed a study of all of the field operation departments to determine how the city might provide services to our citizens in the most efficient manner. The study revealed that the land area inside the city had grown to almost three times what it was in 1979. The study also revealed that with the current centrally-located facilities, travel times to and from job sites had increased significantly — and the increased travel distance resulted in significantly higher fuel consumption by our crews.
Based on these results, it was determined that the appropriate strategy was to move away from a single, centrally located facility to more geographically distributed remote operations centers. This facility will be the second installment in this plan. The first facility is to be constructed under the plan is located off Gresham Lake Road in the northeastern portion of the city, and will open in April 2014. That facility renovates and re-uses two industrial buildings and has one newly constructed building.
“We’ve been strategic in choosing the location for the new remote operations center,” commented Mayor McFarlane. “This center will be located directly across from the city’s new Critical Public Safety Center; ensuring that in the event of an emergency and/or major weather event, staff for both our public safety and city services will be able to more easily coordinate response and recovery efforts.”
The new location will also provide efficiencies in the daily operations of city work crews, as the equipment and crews will be closer to the areas where they are typically performing their work, saving time and fuel. The new facility also provides more space, allowing for a greater number of vehicles and equipment to be maintained and serviced — decreasing service turnaround time.
“Technology has changed over the years, and our staff will now be operating from state-of-the-art facilities that are sized to accommodate some future growth and designed to be expanded in the future,” said Public Works Director Carl Dawson. “It is anticipated that the facilities will achieve LEED silver certifications showing the city’s commitment to energy efficiency and environmentally responsible design and construction.”