Federal Railroad Administration Will Revisit Union Station Proposal

  • February 10th 2021

by Nena Perry-Brown

Union Station. Photo by Ted Eytan.

It appears that the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) listened to those who registered their disapproval of the recommended path forward for the expansion of Union Station.

Last week, the FRA announced that it is reconsidering the contents of its draft environmental impact statement (EIS) rather than moving forward with any alternatives at this time:

Following the end of the comment period for the Draft Environmental Impact Statement on September 28, 2020, FRA decided to revisit project planning for the Preferred Alternative. Informed by the feedback received from agencies, stakeholders, and the general public, FRA is presently working with the Project Proponents (Union Station Redevelopment Corporation and Amtrak) to review and refine project elements in cooperation with other key stakeholders. 

When the FRA released the draft EIS in 2019, developer Akridge (who controls the development air rights above the Union Station railyard) spoke out against the liberal parking provisions included in the recommended configurations. Shortly afterward, others added their voices to the outcry against the presented options, including neighbors, councilmembers, the Mayor, DC's delegate to the House of Representatives, and the National Capital Planning Commission.

The Union Station expansion is intended to increase the volume of train travel through the station, in part with construction of a train hall. However, the FRA's proposals included a new, larger parking garage structure and delivery of 1,600-2,200 vehicular parking spaces in the garage and below-grade.

"Union Station should be an accessible public space for regional and national travelers, but it also needs to fit into a neighborhood," Ward 6 councilmember Charles Allen said in a statement. "If there’s too much priority and emphasis given to getting cars in and out, you’ll get more of the same: an island cut off from the surrounding area by busy, noisy streets. The FRA needs to work closely with District officials and neighborhood leaders to ensure the Union Station design matches the District’s planning goals and doesn’t induce snarling traffic to a growing, vibrant neighborhood."

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/federal-railroad-administration-will-revisit-union-station-proposal/17868.

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