During the height of the “City Beautiful” movement, architects Daniel Burnham and Peirce Anderson drew on Roman masterworks such as the Arch of Constantine and the Baths of Diocletian to create a monumental new train station that opened in 1907. It was named Union Station because it consolidated in one terminal all of the train lines coming into DC, each of which formerly had its own terminal. Much of the building’s current configuration results from a $160 million restoration and expansion in the 1980s. That project changed the station from a deteriorating white elephant into a hub of multi-modal transportation with a multitude of shops and restaurants. For the past few years, plans have been drawn for a substantial multi-phased expansion of the station’s site, with the addition of major development to the rear of the building. The plans would restore much of the station’s historic interior while producing a new model of mixed-use development and an updated multi-modal transportation center that will serve the capital well into the future
The Committee of 100 is one of the founders of the Union Station Preservation Coalition, which is dedicated to ensuring that these projects respect the character of the historic structure while serving some 100,000 commuters, travelers, shoppers and tourists passing through the building each day. In 2012, the coalition developed a report that reviewed the several proposals for the new complex and offered recommendations designed to ensure that preservation of the station is a top priority, that transportation is the station’s primary use, and that development at and around the station is integrated, comprehensive, and compatible with these goals. Since then, after sustaining earthquake damage, the station’s great entrance hall has been restored to its original configuration. In 2015 the Union Station Redevelopment Corporation completed a comprehensive Preservation Plan which can be found here (https://www.usrcdc.com/other-usrc-reports/)
Currently, the Federal Railway Administration is conducting public consultation on plans to expand the capacity of the station through the addition of a new concourse and the relocation of bus and parking facilities, information about which can be found here (https://www.fra.dot.gov/Page/P0866). The placement and alignment of these changes, to the rear of the station, will have a direct impact on a private development that is planned to be constructed over the tracks and surrounding the expanded rail facilities. The Committee of 100 will continue to monitor and comment on these plans and developments as they proceed.
- C100 Testimony DC Council Transportation Oversight
- February 26, 2021, Monte Edwards
Testimony before the DC Council Committee on Transportation and the Environment, Performance Oversight Hearing concerning the District’s Department of Transportation. While considerable emphasis on the plan to redevelop Union Station has focused on parking, not much attention has been paid so far to consider needed rail track upgrades to improve passenger and freight rail operations through and beyond Union Station, neglecting this aspect of planning for what is, let us not forget, a rail station.
- C100 Comments Union Station Drafe EIS
- September 28, 2020, Kirby Vining
The Union Station Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) proposes an expansion plan that will cost between 5.8 and 7.5 billion dollars1 and require 11 to 14 years to build2. The plan focuses on bus and automobile parking, station concourses, platforms and retail. But the plan does not adequately address Union Station’s role as a train station. The expansion plan needs to be substantially revised to address that deficiency.
- C100 Letter Mendelson Union Station-Burnham Place Project Requires FRA Input
- May 20, 2020, Monte Edwards
First and foremost, Union Station is a train station and a critical component of the transportation infrastructure of Washington, DC. Yet the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has refused to make public the fundamental underlying design for the reconfiguration of the rail tracks and passenger platforms until issuance of the draft EIS.
- C100 Comments FRA Union Station
- January 4, 2016, Nancy MacWood
We concur with the Rail Needs and Community Needs specified on the Boards displayed at the public meeting. However, we also believe that preservation of the majesty of Union Station is a fundamental need.
- Union Station White Paper Email
- August 2, 2012, Union Station Preservation Coalition
Union Station stands as one of the iconic buildings of the nation’s capital. The Committee of 100 has just helped establish the Union Station Preservation Coalition, an alliance of local and national groups dedicated to ensuring the terminal remains a beautiful, vibrant center of urban life. This commitment is even more important now given the multiple proposals to make major changes to this landmark. The coalition has developed sophisticated recommendations that emphasize that development plans for Union Station must be coordinated, place a priority on the station’s careful restoration and incorporate significant public involvement in the planning process.
- 2012-02-28 C100 Letter To Rahall And Norton Regarding Union Station North
- February 28, 2012, George Clark
C100 commends Rep. Rahall and Del. Norton you for their interest in the complex set of development proposals related to Union Station. Their decision to pursue an audit of the operations of the government-sponsored corporation that oversees Union Station is an important step to bringing order to what we believe has been a haphazard process.
- 2010-07-23 Comments Union Station
- July 23, 2010, George R. Clark, C100 Chairperson
Letter stating C100 position on proposed redvelopment of Union Station regarding the 106 consultation of June 18, 2010.