What's Hot: The 4 Projects in the Works (Or on Hold) Near DC's Starburst Intersection | This Week's Find: Fit For Art in the Palisades
FRA a Bummer for Union Station's Burnham Place
Over the past eight years, UrbanTurf has been following the proposed Burnham Place development, which would deliver more than three million square feet of walkable mixed-use development using the air rights above the Union Station railyard. However, as the Federal Railway Administration (FRA) prepares to announce its preferred option for the expansion of Union Station, the gulf between these two visions is coming into focus.
On Tuesday night, Burnham Place developer Akridge shared their reactions to the six expansion alternatives the FRA has put forth as part of its Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). In essence, none of the six alternatives are compatible with the development Akridge has in mind.
The FRA's priorities with the impact statement are to make room for a train hall structure, rail, bus, and parking. To Akridge, however, the placement of these structures in each of the FRA's presented alternatives would limit potential development surrounding the site, and from a more practical standpoint, will also limit the number of access points to and from and the walkability surrounding the station.
At last night's meeting, Akridge, ANC 6C commissioners and concerned community members expressed confusion about how the process has gotten this far without much apparent consideration for how the expansion would fit into the neighborhood. Akridge vice president of development (and 14-year ANC 6C resident) David Tuchmann described the process as "flawed".
story continues belowloading...
story continues above
"As we see the plans that have been proposed by the Federal Railroad Administration, we find ourselves stuck, thinking that if the plans continue the way that they're heading, what we have is an auto-focused project that doesn't prioritize neighborhood investment and neighborhood amenities," Tuchman explained.
Tuchmann counted one public meeting the FRA has held on the station expansion over the past three years and noted that Akridge has not been particularly successful in its attempts to dialogue with the FRA. The developer would like FRA's options to prioritize neighborhood compatibility, reduce parking, adjust the size and location of bus facilities, and be more strategic about pickup/dropoff zones.
Akridge's preferred development alternative would put station pickup/dropoff partially below grade and an intercity bus station north of H Street. Bus passengers arriving by Metrorail could use an automated pedestrian walkway spanning half the distance.
The developer's alternative would also halve the parking the FRA is proposing, from 1,610-2,000 spaces between the below grade level and a new above-grade parking garage, to 600-800 parking spaces on the below grade level and in an underutilized garage in a nearby building.
Tuchmann explained that Amtrak has not required any parking in the expansion, and that the FRA has not shared with Akridge any traffic analyses demonstrating the need for up to 2,000 parking spaces, nor contextualizing the limited changes to the current pickup/dropoff system.
"We haven't seen the traffic analysis, and again, we're nearing the end of a four-year process and we don't have the information to let us know, does this work, and what were the plans based on? What were the assumptions behind them?"
Akridge also noted that the FRA's proposals did not consider relocating any intercity bus parking elsewhere in the city; the developer thinks this use would be better positioned elsewhere downtown, closer to a highway exit and multiple Metro lines.
The FRA is expected to release its draft EIS and announce its preferred alternative for the Union Station expansion early next year, after which there will likely be a public comment period of at least 45 days. In the meantime, Akridge is asking the community to rally against the options the FRA is putting forth.
The development team has posted models illustrating how Burnham Place would have to be situated in each FRA alternative, and will share information about the project and recommend persons and entities for the public to send their feedback here.
Renderings courtesy of Shalom Baranes.
Correction: The FRA is submitting its draft, not final, EIS next year. The caption has also been corrected for Alternative C1, and Akridge's proposals for the pickup/dropoff and the pedestrian walkway have also been clarified.
See other articles related to: air rights, akridge, amtrak, burnham place, environmental assessment, environmental impact statement, federal railroad administration, union station, union station expansion, union station redevelopment corporation
This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/fra-a-bummer-for-burnham-place/16083.
Most Popular... This Week • Last 30 Days • Ever
Our guide for amateur landlords who don't really know what they're doing.... read »
The Massachusetts Avenue Heights home was previously owned by the former chief execut... read »
A large new apartment and townhouse project has been pitched for the growing pipeline... read »
On Friday, Mayor Muriel Bowser and the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Ec... read »
In this week's Under Contract, we highlight two homes that found buyers just shortly ... read »
Virginia's homebuyer assistance programs can seem complex. This edition of First-Time... read »
The residential projects that have sprouted up on the Maryland and DC sides of the Fr... read »
The immaculately kept 100-year-old house features six bedrooms and four-and-a-half ba... read »
Ten years later, plans to construct nearly 150 townhomes at DC's most hotly debated d... read »
A look at the larger residential developments in the works from Cardozo to Mount Vern... read »
With this weekend's DC houseboat tour a day away, UrbanTurf thought it only fitting t... read »
President Obama travels to Denver this morning to sign the stimulus bill that has bee... read »
In this week's installment of Ask An Agent, a reader wonders if there is a rule for h... read »
As The Wharf prepares to begin construction, DC's houseboat community heads to its ne... read »
In this week's installment of Ask An Agent, a reader asks a fairly common question th... read »
- The Essential Guide to Being an Amateur Landlord in DC
- Washington Spirit Owner Michele Kang Lists DC Home for $14.5 Million
- A Two-Phase, 370-Unit Development Pitched For Columbia Pike Gas Station Site
- Apartments, A Plaza + Dave Chapelle: The Future Plans for 14th and U
- Under Contract: That Didn't Take Long
- First-Timer Primer: Virginia's Home Buyer Assistance Programs
- Mall Conversions, Trader Joes? The 1,500 Units in the Friendship Heights Pipeline
- Now Selling: A 16th Street Heights Victorian on an Island of Its Own
- Reservoir District: 146 Townhomes Planned at McMillan Site Look For Final Design Approval
- The 9 Developments and 1,250 Units in the Works For Shaw
DC Real Estate Guides
Short guides to navigating the DC-area real estate market
We've collected all our helpful guides for buying, selling and renting in and around Washington, DC in one place. Visit guides.urbanturf.com or start browsing below!
Intro guides for first-time home buyers
Awesome and unusual real estate from across the DC Metro