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High Point Gets Transit Solution

When High Point market-goers arrive in October, they will find a futuristic, $4.1 million transportation center designed to quicken the pace at the International Home Furnishings Market. Called MAX, the Market Authority Xpress system will simplify getting around the market from airport to hotel and/or showrooms.

“We asked the industry what kind of transportation they needed to simplify their market experience,” said Judy Mendenhall, president of the International Home Furnishings Market Authority. “They told us they want a streamlined yet more flexible system that runs frequently and reliably.

“Some market-goers require it all — transportation from the Charlotte, Raleigh or Greensboro airports to Triad-area hotels to market. Others want to park and ride,” Mendenhall said. “Some just want to jump on a shuttle to go from one major showroom complex to the next with stops at independent showrooms along the way. MAX is designed to give the market community choices, whether you are a member of a major buying team, an interior designer, a sales representative or an exhibitor.”

Located on Commerce Street between the International Home Furnishings Center and Showplace, the state-of-the-art hub facility is positioned to rival major transportation terminals. As in airports, an information kiosk will list ongoing arrival and departure times for the fleet of more than 20 buses. Trained travel hosts also will provide one-on-one guidance and assistance.

Designed by Walter Robbs Callahan & Pierce Architects, based in Winston-Salem, N.C., the plans combine technology and transportation in an airy garden setting amidst decorative lighting and landscaping. The first phase adds three bus lanes, seating for waiting passengers and an octagonal information kiosk. The second phase, set for completion by October 2006, will add multi-level transparent panels that curve upward to form a soaring roofline for sheltered walkways and waiting lounges.

The octagonal information kiosk will be a permanent structure crafted of masonry, steel and translucent panels, topped by multiple variable information signs like those placed in airports. Color-coded bus bays add a contemporary design element and will help direct passengers.

Between markets, the area will be engineered for staging outdoor events with theatrical lighting and electrical facilities. The kiosk will promote upcoming functions and events.

“This transportation system was created expressly to appeal to the creature comforts we all crave during market,” Mendenhall said. “It will move people in an organized, efficient manner while providing an outdoor respite and a calming antidote to the energy rush of market. Gone are the chaotic days of placards and a traffic director with a bullhorn. This system will be second to none.”

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