Facebook’s One-stop Mobility Hub

By Matt Davis

MOBILITY IS KEY TO CONNECTING FACEBOOK EMPLOYEES throughout their sprawl­ing Menlo Park headquarters. This includes the new Menlo Gateway, a 16-acre proj­ect nearing completion of its second phase that has transformed a former indus­trial complex into Facebook’s latest expansion. The mixed-use project adds 694,000 square feet of office space in three buildings, a 250-room luxury hotel, and three parking structures to the Silicon Valley giant’s corporate campus.

To meet Facebook’s needs to keep their employees mobile and the campus accessible, the phase-1 Inde­pendence parking structure offers a one-stop mobility hub. From a bike-share program and shuttle system to expanded pick-up and drop-off zones, the garage was designed to make it easy for employees to get where they need to go, while also providing a number of ame­nities to facilitate multi-modal transportation.
Multi-Modal Efficiency

To support Facebook’s robust bike-sharing program, the Independence Parking Structure features a secure, Class 1 bicycle parking facility. Employees who bike to work can take advantage of lockers and showers. To further encourage bicycle use, a network of pedestrian and bicy­cle pathways were incorporated into the ­campus’ design.
In addition to cars and bicycles, the parking struc­ture provides other multi-modal options to employees. Of the structure’s 1,040 stalls, 8 percent are reserved for carpools and clean-air and low-emission vehicles. A shuttle system routes employees all over Facebook’s campus, meaning even if they need to travel to other locations, they are not dependent on a vehicle to get where they need to go.

To improve efficiency, the seven-­level parking structure incorporates a valet speed ramp to the fourth level, expedit­ing throughput by separating hotel and office traffic.

Expanded Pick Up and Drop Off

In addition to the shuttle program, car­pools and ride-sharing are another mo­bility facet that Facebook encourages via an expanded pick up and drop off area. A specially designed one-way access road guides users around and behind the park­ing structure, where they can be dropped off and picked up safely and efficiently.

Employee-Focused Amenities

To support the sustainable culture of Silicon Valley, the parking structure features 32 EV charging stations, with infrastructure to add 32 more as need arises. However, as many office campuses are discovering, providing EV charging for employees who park in the same spot for extended periods means many of those chargers can go underutilized. Therefore, the facility provides a valet service to rotate vehicles through each charging station.

The Menlo Gateway Independence parking structure isn’t just a one-stop mobility hub. It also includes a 40,000 square foot state-of-the-art fitness center on the ground floor that is open to employees and features a café with outdoor seating.  To humanize the structure, the shear walls incorporate eye-catching public art in the form of dichroic glass that changes colors depending on lighting. Mobility hubs such as the one found at Facebook’s Menlo Gateway gives employees more flexibility to choose the way they travel. As we find greater need to stay flexible and adaptive in our current landscape, this mindset will con­tinue to offer exciting opportunities to innovate new, efficient and sustainable design solutions.

MATT DAVIS is associate principal of Watry Design. He can be reached at mdavis@watrydesign.com.

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