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With a new administration in D.C., it's time to think outside of the box because passenger rail's survival just may depend on it

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Station Issues Part 5: Cautionary Tales

Problems in the Mile High City
Denver Union Station is undergoing redevelopment that will allow for the Regional Transit’s FasTracks to utilize the station for light rail and commuter rail routes. 

ColoRail has brought up a number of issues from the beginning of the DUS redevelopment project. It’s one thing to make the historic station as a hotel in order to produce revenue and to draw travelers, but Denver’s leaders and planners have to look at Kansas City as the example on how not to redevelop an old train station. As a result, it is imperative that the Mile High City gets it right and doesn’t end up with a major mess on its hands that would diminish its original role.

A Less Perfect (D.C.) Union Station
The Union Station in the nation’s capital has its own problems
  • Navigating the D.C. facility is an issue 
  • Fixing up the plaza has run into years long delays 
  • DC’s DOT and Amtrak getting into a conflict over the former’s desire to build a streetcar stop at Union Station vs more slots for future Express HSR service from the latter 
  • Some bus companies wanting to stop in the parking deck as opposed to the streets around the station

Despite all of these problems, at least something is being the way of renovation.

What This All Means

For both cities, new stations may be built out of necessity due to redevelopment issues in Denver and overcrowding in Washington, D.C. Both cities have the chance to avoid this scenario if they just get their renovations right.