Written by Erica Stewart, Public Affairs Manager
Union Station, a Washington, DC landmark (and one of our National Treasures) beloved by locals and visitors alike, is heading for an "extreme makeover," and we at the National Trust for Historic Preservation have joined with our preservation allies to make sure that what we know and love about the station -- its historic character -- is still intact after the construction dust settles.
Last week, Amtrak revealed an ambitious conceptual master plan that would increase the number of tracks, trains, and travelers that can be handled at what is now the East Coast’s second-busiest station. Commercial developer Akridge also intends to construct 3-million-square-feet of office, residential, and commercial space by decking over the tracks behind Union Station. Still other entities have designs on expanding the station.
These are indeed heady times for Union Station, and we’re excited about the potential to improve what can be a crowded and confusing place to navigate. It's important, however, that great caution be taken with the 1907 Daniel Burham-designed station, and that the several plans for new construction be coordinated by a thoughtful, integrated planning approach that restores the station and involves the voice of the public in the process.
To that end, the National Trust, as part of the Union Station Preservation Coalition, has helped prepare a report that recommends ways to best preserve Union Station’s historic integrity. The full report can be downloaded at www.PreservationNation.org/UnionStationReport. You can also learn more about our work to support Union Station’s redevelopment at www.Savingplaces.org.