Big Union Station Metrorail improvements planned

Photo by PoPville flickr user dracisk 365/365

From a WMATA press release:

Union Station is the busiest station in the Metrorail system with 68,000 passengers entering and exiting daily, including 18,000 passengers transferring between Metrorail and Amtrak, MARC and VRE services.

Metro and DDOT recently completed a Union Station Access and Capacity Improvements Study, which identified improvements that would increase the Metrorail station’s safety, capacity and accessibility, reduce passenger travel time and improve connectivity to other transportation modes. Proposed improvements include:

• Improved evacuation capacity in the event of emergency at Union Station;
• Significant safety improvements on all three levels, in particular the Metrorail platform;
• Significant capacity expansion on all three levels of the north mezzanine, platform and concourse;
• Direct link to new development, streetcar and intercity bus terminal;
• Improved access to commuter rail, Amtrak and retail at Union Station; and
• Annual travel time savings from reduced congestion at the north mezzanine.

The Metro Board Finance and Administration Committee today (April 14) gave preliminary approval to advance these improvements by establishing a reimbursable project for the environmental documentation, preliminary engineering and design; establishing a budget of $2.55 million using District of Columbia’s Federal Transit Administration grants and local matching funds; and amending the FY2011 Reimbursable Projects Budget, increasing it from $6.07 million to $8.62 million; and authorizing the General Manager/Chief Executive Officer to negotiate and execute the reimbursable agreement with the District of Columbia.

The full Board is expected to vote on the Union Station access and capacity improvements at its April 28 meeting.

68,000 daily passengers. That is wild!

9 Comment

  • The problem with Union Station isn’t the subway, it’s the above ground Bus and Taxi organization. It’s a complete cluster and bus service there is an afterthought, where it should be a hub.

    • A complete renovation and reorganization of Columbus Circle is in final design stages now, and will hopefully start construction within the next 12 months. It will look better (by getting rid of those “temporary” concrete barriers) and work *far* better. But that’s a different project than this one.

    • I beg to differ – have you been at Union Station lately during rush hour and tried going in and out via the 1st street entrance? It’s a mess, made much worse by recent work on the escalators.

  • Soon to be more than 68,000 when the H Street streetcar line ties in.

  • The new Union Station escalators are finally finished and are working.

    • for about 2 weeks then they will be broken down again. They should just realize escalators are a lost cause and put in stairs.

  • they should do the equivalent of London’s Waterloo and City Line from Union Station to L’Enfant Plaza. It’s ridiculous that the main station for the city can only be accessed from one metro line.

  • What Union Station really needs is a much faster way for more people to exit the station – right now if you are headed from metro to MARC you have to wait in line to get out of the station and up the escalators to the Amtrak trains. I don’t really see how you can fix this (anything specific from Metro?). Plus I thought that all the work going on the last few months WAS this project.

    Let’s just say I was underwhelmed to see the new plan was exactly the same set up, but with refurbished escalators and elevators. I seriously doubt the new escalators/elevators are going to work any better than they did before.

  • I exit union station from the MARC train onto first street every day and the last 4 months of construction on the two escalators made that interchange a disatster. Much to my relief, on Friday morning they’d finally completed and opened the second escalator; but it came as no surprise on Friday afternoon to find one of them already taken offline. Sigh. At least two staircases would be better than one.

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