Washington DC Union Station redevelpment plans

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afigg

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In today's Washington Post, Amtrak will be presenting this afternoon (7/25) its $7 billion long range plan to overhaul and expand DC Union Station. Details are sketchy at this point, but the $7 billion may include the $1.5 billion of private development of office & residential buildings above the track north of the station.

The proposed upgrades to Union Station would include the planned concourse A $200 to $300 million expansion over the lower tracks for 2013-2017 and the NextGen HSR NEC new complex of 6 tracks and concourse under Union Station. I expect there will be a press release and viewgraphs on the Amtrak website by tonight which will begin to fill in the details.

This looks to be the first presentation of the plans for upgrading the NEC for both the nearer term NEC Master Plan and the longer term NextGen HSR. If Boardman is doing one in DC for Union Station with the local politicians and planners lined up in advance, I think we will see additional presentations for Baltimore, Philly, NYC, Boston, maybe Hartford and Danbury?
 

jis

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In today's Washington Post, Amtrak will be presenting this afternoon (7/25) its $7 billion long range plan to overhaul and expand DC Union Station. Details are sketchy at this point, but the $7 billion may include the $1.5 billion of private development of office & residential buildings above the track north of the station.

The proposed upgrades to Union Station would include the planned concourse A $200 to $300 million expansion over the lower tracks for 2013-2017 and the NextGen HSR NEC new complex of 6 tracks and concourse under Union Station. I expect there will be a press release and viewgraphs on the Amtrak website by tonight which will begin to fill in the details.

This looks to be the first presentation of the plans for upgrading the NEC for both the nearer term NEC Master Plan and the longer term NextGen HSR. If Boardman is doing one in DC for Union Station with the local politicians and planners lined up in advance, I think we will see additional presentations for Baltimore, Philly, NYC, Boston, maybe Hartford and Danbury?
For New York, you already have a vision. It is called Moynihan + Gateway. There may be a third overlay for additional HSR tunnels at some point. But we'll see.

Right now what is really important in New York is achieving what has been set out as the goal for 2025. If we can achieve all of that by 2030 that will be grand in and of itself, considering. :)
 

Paulus

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Well, on the bright side, between this and that Philadelphia tunnel, we can cut a third of the cost of Amtrak's WAS-NYP NextGen HSR plans without actually cutting something useful.
 

afigg

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For New York, you already have a vision. It is called Moynihan + Gateway. There may be a third overlay for additional HSR tunnels at some point. But we'll see.

Right now what is really important in New York is achieving what has been set out as the goal for 2025. If we can achieve all of that by 2030 that will be grand in and of itself, considering. :)
Yes, but the Gateway Plan vision for NYC is lacking in details. Time for a new public presentation, revealing a little more, and placing it in the context of the Stair Step plan for NEC upgrades and the NextGen NEC. Why not a press conference with Boardman, Secretary LaHood, Mayor Bloomberg, the heads of MTA and the Port Authority, the Senators from NY and NJ in attendance? If they can't get Gov. Christie to attend, get a supporting press release statement from him. Building the political support and getting the pols on the record in support for the Gateway project and NEC projects is critical.

The press release and the Union Station Master Plan Executive summary document are now up on Amtrak's website. Lunchtime reading!
 

Eric S

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Quick takeway from reading the plan:

Eastern/run-through tracks: 8 tracks, 5 platforms (2 low-level platforms serving 3 tracks, 3 high-level platforms serving 6 tracks, with 1 of the tracks served by both a high-level island platform and low-level side platform)

Western/stub tracks: 12 tracks, 6 platforms (all high-level)

Potential future (post-2028) phase adding 6-9 additional tracks underneath the stub-tracks.

Much, much more about pedestrian/passenger circulation through the station with new and expanded concourses, etc., etc.
 

jis

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Much, much more about pedestrian/passenger circulation through the station with new and expanded concourses, etc., etc.
That is what it really needs very urgently before any tracks get added. It is a veritable zoo during rush hours, worse than even NYP. Currently too much mall, too little passenger circulation space.
 

Eric S

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Much, much more about pedestrian/passenger circulation through the station with new and expanded concourses, etc., etc.
That is what it really needs very urgently before any tracks get added. It is a veritable zoo during rush hours, worse than even NYP. Currently too much mall, too little passenger circulation space.
No argument here, agree completely. I was just lazy and it was easier and quicker to summarize the trackage changes than the circulation changes.
 

jis

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For New York, you already have a vision. It is called Moynihan + Gateway. There may be a third overlay for additional HSR tunnels at some point. But we'll see.

Right now what is really important in New York is achieving what has been set out as the goal for 2025. If we can achieve all of that by 2030 that will be grand in and of itself, considering. :)
Yes, but the Gateway Plan vision for NYC is lacking in details. Time for a new public presentation, revealing a little more, and placing it in the context of the Stair Step plan for NEC upgrades and the NextGen NEC. Why not a press conference with Boardman, Secretary LaHood, Mayor Bloomberg, the heads of MTA and the Port Authority, the Senators from NY and NJ in attendance? If they can't get Gov. Christie to attend, get a supporting press release statement from him. Building the political support and getting the pols on the record in support for the Gateway project and NEC projects is critical.

The press release and the Union Station Master Plan Executive summary document are now up on Amtrak's website. Lunchtime reading!
Looks like this is primarily a air rights real estate development plan with a few rail related stuff also in it. So a lot of the funding beyond the $300 million or so for development of the rail side, will most likely materialize from the real estate interests.

Amtrak has an already proceeding air rights development plan for the little bit of unused air right over NY Penn Station yard and approach from the West. in addition there is an air right development plan over the West Side Yard of LIRR that is also proceeding apace. They have been in the works for a while and at one point included moving Madison Square Garden to the West Side Yard. But that is not happening anymore. Air rights over the West Side yard will be developed as a mixed commercial and residential area with considerable green space, connecting with the aerial greenway built along the old elevated RoW.
 
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Much, much more about pedestrian/passenger circulation through the station with new and expanded concourses, etc., etc.
That is what it really needs very urgently before any tracks get added. It is a veritable zoo during rush hours, worse than even NYP. Currently too much mall, too little passenger circulation space.
And like NYP, the sad part is that the original station configuration could handle the crowds better than the current set up.
 

afigg

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That is what it really needs very urgently before any tracks get added. It is a veritable zoo during rush hours, worse than even NYP. Currently too much mall, too little passenger circulation space.
That is what Phase 1, described as Immediate Action, 2013 - 2017 is for. Improvements and I assume expansion of Concourse A along with 2 new tracks & a platform on the west side to allow the other tracks and platforms to be taken out of service one at a time for rebuilding. Just how crowded could WAS get by 2017 while waiting for Phase 1 to be completed?

Overall, a very ambitious plan to entirely rebuild the north end of DC Union Station. Clear that Amtrak and PB has been extensively working on this in close coordination with DC DOT, DC city planners, and WMATA. Vast improvements in pedestrian access from the north and west, close integration with the plans for the H street streetcar.

The plan refer to a to be defined new DC Metro station and line at Union Station. One constant in the many potential new alternate Metro routes through DC studied by the WMATA Technical Advisory Group has been the need to have a second line connecting at Union Station. Now where would a rerouted Blue Line coming from the NW go under or past Union Station fit, no idea. That would be an interesting drawing to see.

Tearing down the existing parking garage and removing the support pillars on the platforms while minimizing disruption to service? Not a small or easy engineering job.
 

afigg

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That is what it really needs very urgently before any tracks get added. It is a veritable zoo during rush hours, worse than even NYP. Currently too much mall, too little passenger circulation space.
And like NYP, the sad part is that the original station configuration could handle the crowds better than the current set up.
We probably should be grateful that the original Union station was not torn down and some crappy large shack building thrown up in its place facing the tracks. In the 1980s, when they reconfigured the station with the shrunk concourse space for train passengers on the north side, they were obviously not anticipating the growth in passenger train traffic that has taken place. Not just Amtrak of course, but VRE and MARC commuter trains. The new plan calls for more than tripling the passenger capacity of the station; don't want to make that mistake again. I can see Amtrak passenger traffic on the NEC easily doubling in 10-12 years if Amtrak can implement the improvements by 2025 spelled out in the 2012 NEC Vision plan.
 

afigg

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A paragraph that some may find interesting from page 13 of the Union Station Master Plan:

The lower track level would be connected to the Northeast Corridor main line by means of a bored tunnel from Union Station northeast to the vicinity of the Anacostia River. An additional tunnel would connect the station with new train storage and maintenance facilities in the Ivy City area. Additionally, the plan provides that future tracks from the lower level of Union Station could be extended to the south, enabling extension of high-performance high-speed rail service to Virginia, North Carolina, and the southeastern United States.
Any guess estimates on what the price tag on those tunnels and underground tracks would be? Rounded to the nearest $billion. :lol:
 

jis

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A paragraph that some may find interesting from page 13 of the Union Station Master Plan:

The lower track level would be connected to the Northeast Corridor main line by means of a bored tunnel from Union Station northeast to the vicinity of the Anacostia River. An additional tunnel would connect the station with new train storage and maintenance facilities in the Ivy City area. Additionally, the plan provides that future tracks from the lower level of Union Station could be extended to the south, enabling extension of high-performance high-speed rail service to Virginia, North Carolina, and the southeastern United States.
Any guess estimates on what the price tag on those tunnels and underground tracks would be? Rounded to the nearest $billion. :lol:
It will be less than what they plan to do in Manhattan :)
 
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I have reviewed the 6 pages of pictures of the planned Washingon Union Station. As a preservationist what scares me is that nowhere in the architects drawings do I see anything of the original station. It must be saved as it is a historic gem that could never be built again. Does anyone know of the plans for the old station?
 
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I have reviewed the 6 pages of pictures of the planned Washingon Union Station. As a preservationist what scares me is that nowhere in the architects drawings do I see anything of the original station. It must be saved as it is a historic gem that could never be built again. Does anyone know of the plans for the old station?
It will be preserved. I know I saw it somewhere in the renderings. Most of the construction would be behind the existing structure - above, below and around where the tracks currently are.
 

cirdan

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I have reviewed the 6 pages of pictures of the planned Washingon Union Station. As a preservationist what scares me is that nowhere in the architects drawings do I see anything of the original station. It must be saved as it is a historic gem that could never be built again. Does anyone know of the plans for the old station?
My reading is that the building is being retained. The new glass buillding is going up behind it.

I agree though that architecturally its not very innovative. It's more or less copying what all the other wanabee cool architects are doing and it will look extremely dated in 20 or 30 years or so. A bit like many 1970s and 1980s structures do today.

Besides, with all that glass it's going to be an air-conditioing nightmare in the warm months. I thought the future was about not wasting so much energy.
 

afigg

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I have reviewed the 6 pages of pictures of the planned Washingon Union Station. As a preservationist what scares me is that nowhere in the architects drawings do I see anything of the original station. It must be saved as it is a historic gem that could never be built again. Does anyone know of the plans for the old station?
It will be preserved. I know I saw it somewhere in the renderings. Most of the construction would be behind the existing structure - above, below and around where the tracks currently are.
Most of the renderings are from the north end and side views of the expanded concourse complex. A view from the south showing the existing building is presented on page 23. People need to READ the plan or at least look at all the renderings and floor plans before jumping to conclusions.

Takes a while to absorb all the changes proposed in the plan. The Greater Greater Washington Blog now has 2 entries with a lot of discussion on what the plans mean for using the station and how it interfaces with the surrounding streets. The tracks and platforms will be significantly rebuilt with more high level and straighter platforms. There is no breakdown of the $7 billion price tag. One of the key issues in the GGW discussions is the call for 5,000 parking space capacity, almost all of it underground which may be a significant piece of the $7 billion figure.
 

Tracktwentynine

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The Greater Greater Washington Blog now has 2 entries with a lot of discussion on what the plans mean for using the station and how it interfaces with the surrounding streets.
Thanks for the shout-out. I'm the author of the second post: Amtrak makes no little plans with Union Station vision.

I have reviewed the 6 pages of pictures of the planned Washingon Union Station. As a preservationist what scares me is that nowhere in the architects drawings do I see anything of the original station. It must be saved as it is a historic gem that could never be built again. Does anyone know of the plans for the old station?
If you look at the plan drawings, you can see that the Beaux-Arts structure will continue to be a vital element of the Union Station complex.

The Burnham-designed headhouse is located on the southern end of the complex, fronting on Massachusetts Avenue. The glass headhouse shown in many of the renderings is near the center of the complex, at H Street NE. There will be additional smaller entrances along the western and eastern sides of the station along First Street NE and Second Street NE as well.

But if you just want some reassurance, here's a rendering from the plan that you missed, showing the existing headhouse with the new station expansion to the north:

usfront.jpg
 

Anderson

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Well, I'm not really a fan of a lot of those buildings...but then again, I tend to be decidedly not a fan of the glass-heavy designs of the last few decades, or the wavy roofs that have been in vogue over the last few years.
 

Swadian Hardcore

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Well, I'm not really a fan of a lot of those buildings...but then again, I tend to be decidedly not a fan of the glass-heavy designs of the last few decades, or the wavy roofs that have been in vogue over the last few years.
You're not alone. I don't like those buildings either, they do not fit in with the old headhouse.
 
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One of the key issues in the GGW discussions is the call for 5,000 parking space capacity, almost all of it underground which may be a significant piece of the $7 billion figure.
Just wondering... Do 5,000 new parking spaces in central, downtown Washington coincide with the concept of 'smart growth'?

Or there is being just plain cynical: :rolleyes:

Maybe much of the parking is for Union Station's neighbor...

Congress!?! :unsure:

Then what would two, three or four billion be amongst friends? -_-
 

cirdan

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Well, I'm not really a fan of a lot of those buildings...but then again, I tend to be decidedly not a fan of the glass-heavy designs of the last few decades, or the wavy roofs that have been in vogue over the last few years.
You're not alone. I don't like those buildings either, they do not fit in with the old headhouse.
The picture alone just makes me sick. look at that beautiful old headhouse, and then look at the cheap decrepitude behind it. A child of six with some lego bricks could have done a better design.
 
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