Union Station is a beautiful building with one of Washington’s grandest halls, but almost none of the original building actually serves train travel, and it’s isolated from pedestrians in several directions.
Amtrak hopes to change that one day, as does Akridge, the developer with rights to build over the railyards to the north. Today, they released an imaginative vision for the future of the station.
Images from Amtrak.
The centerpiece is a large, glass-roofed concourse where today’s mediocre boarding areas sit. New tracks would serve high(er)-speed rail and add capacity for MARC and VRE.
Where now people walking along H Street traverse a bridge with a wall (though a nicely-decorated one) on the north side and a parking garage on the south, with Akridge’s project it will ultimately become a real street, with a new entrance to Union Station on one side and mixed-use buildings on the other.
Amtrak has now posted its master plan document online. It first gave an exclusive to the Washington Post, though the paper’s article didn’t include many details of the actual plan (and a couple of errors) and I encourage readers to look at the plan itself first.
The H Street underpass, which DDOT originally wanted to use for the streetcar station, is slated for a “market passage” in this plan, one of several new interior concourses connecting people to the trains and lined with shops.
Expect to see more details in the press tonight, following a briefing from Amtrak and Akridge this afternoon. I’m meeting with folks from Akridge tomorrow morning. What would you like to know about? What aspects of the plan, either for the station or the buildings surrounding it, should I delve into more deeply?