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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.
September 27, 2020, 7am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Washington, D.C.

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.

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Published on Friday, September 25, 2020 in Greater Greater Washington
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