Union Station Redesign Gets a Placemaking Do Over

Criticisms of a draft plan to revamp D.C.'s Union Station have described the proposal as far too concerned with car storage.

2 minute read

September 27, 2020, 7:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Washington, D.C.

Meiqianbao / Shutterstock

Following controversy this summer about the proposal to revamp Union Station in Washington, D.C., the team behind the revamp has offered a new vision for the project, one more focused on people, placemaking, and transit, than car parking.

According to an article by George Kevin Jordan, "Akridge, the company that owns the air rights above rail tracks, and oversees Burnham Place, a sibling development project at Union Station, has offered up some new renderings and a video offering an alternative vision of the renovation project."

The controversy created by the number of parking spots included in the proposed redesign created news in July, but the earlier iteration's treatment of car pick up and drop off and the station's bus station have also faced fierce debate, according to the article. The concerns about the previous design were enough to compel D.C. Andrew Trueblood, director of D.C.’s Office of Planning, to release a statement criticizing the proposed designs.

Jordan provides a lot of detail about how the new designs have revised the previous designs, breaking down how the new designs address each of the areas listed above to make Union Station both a place for millions of people to pass through efficiently (100,000 people use the station every day, according to the article), but also to create a sense of place at the station that makes people want to stay a little while.

The Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the Washington Union Station Expansion Project, created by the Federal Rail Administration (FRA), is available for public review and comment until September 28.

Friday, September 25, 2020 in Greater Greater Washington

View of Interstate 205 bridge over Columbia River with Mt. Hood in background.

The Unceremonious Death of a Freeway Expansion Project

The end of an Oregon freeway project didn't get much fanfare, but the victory is worth celebrating.

September 19, 2023 - Streetsblog USA

A derelict sign on a barbed wire fence reads “Golf Course, Private, No Admittance.”

Converting Golf Courses to Housing Never as Easy as the Market Would Like

Thousands of golf courses have closed in recent years, but the obvious redevelopment opportunity represented by many defunct courses isn’t always easy to realize.

September 19, 2023 - The Business Journals

Close-up of red Houston BCycle bike share bikes parked at a station

Houston To End Bike Share Program

Lacking the funding it needs to continue, Houston’s BCycle bike share system will end operations in the coming months.

September 18, 2023 - Houston Chronicle

Close-up of Unalakleet, Alaska on map.

FTA Announces Tribal Transit Program Grants

The agency awarded close to $10 million to 22 communities around the country for transit improvements.

3 hours ago - Mass Transit

View from inside glass top floor of Amtrak passenger train with Rocky Mountains scenery outside.

Making Colorado’s Front Range Rail a Reality

Local leaders are scrambling to bring together the funding and political support to create new intercity rail service in the fast-growing region.

4 hours ago - Governing

Students walking on sunny walkway on college campus.

How College Campuses Fulfill an Urbanist Dream

Most college campuses in the United States are inherently walkable, mixing various uses with diverse housing options and transit networks.

5 hours ago - The Daily

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.