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Old 07-26-2012, 07:49 AM   #1
CorpoRasion

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Default Amtrak's Washington Union Station Master Plan

Greater Greater Washington has an article about potential expansion of Union Station in DC and development over the train yard. Union Station is Amtrak's second busiest station--just ahead of 30th St.--although it has far less commuter rail traffic. It has a pretty horrible platform area which smells from the diesel MARC trains but the commercial area inside is nicer than 30th St. station's. It's nice to see that Amtrak is looking at selling development rights and hopefully it will help fund transportation improvements. It might portend future changes over Schuylkill Yards. The plan itself.
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Old 07-26-2012, 08:06 AM   #2
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edit: misread
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Old 07-26-2012, 08:12 AM   #3
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Greater Greater Washington has an article about potential expansion of Union Station in DC and development over the train yard. Union Station is Amtrak's second busiest station--just ahead of 30th St.--although it has far less commuter rail traffic. It has a pretty horrible platform area which smells from the diesel MARC trains but the commercial area inside is nicer than 30th St. station's. It's nice to see that Amtrak is looking at selling development rights and hopefully it will help fund transportation improvements. It might portend future changes over Schuylkill Yards. The plan itself.
it's the second busiest mostly because of the ridiculous fares in and out of philadelphia. while it has less commuter traffic, commuter traffic is separate in philadelphia so the lower level platforms at 30th could handle far more traffic than they do today. union station is owned by the department of the interior, 30th by amtrak. the waiting area at union station is no longer in the old station but tacked onto the side. amtrak has already sold development rights for two buildings at 30th (one was built)
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Old 07-26-2012, 08:59 AM   #4
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Really? They are busier than Penn Station?
According to Amtrak's fact. It doesn't specifically say it's only Amtrak passengers but I assumed it didn't count MARC in DC or SEPTA in Philly.

amtrak has already sold development rights for two buildings at 30th (one was built)
Good point. I imagine if they build the Union Station plan it will be project by project and not the whole thing at once. So, maybe 30th St. will progressively get there. Cira wasn't a small project and I should have mentioned it.
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Old 07-26-2012, 03:58 PM   #5
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union station is owned by the department of the interior, 30th by amtrak.
I think Amtrak technically owns Union Station, taken over from the Washington Terminal Company. But with the whole visitor's center thing, plus all the different railroads coming in, plus the government-chartered Union Station Redevelopment Corporation, the jurisdiction is a mess.. they've had to hire people just to determine who controls a particular wall.
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Old 07-26-2012, 08:19 PM   #6
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I think Amtrak technically owns Union Station, taken over from the Washington Terminal Company. But with the whole visitor's center thing, plus all the different railroads coming in, plus the government-chartered Union Station Redevelopment Corporation, the jurisdiction is a mess.. they've had to hire people just to determine who controls a particular wall.
I believe Amtrak only owns the platforms and "station area." the old, nice part of the station they do not own. the commuters pay Amtrak for access (or should). union station was designed more as a terminal and for much less commuter traffic than exists today. 30th st was designed as a through station and for more commuter AND intercity service than it handles today. it's an extremely well designed station from a functional point of view. still, DC would have fewer problems if MARC and VRE ran through trains and I'm sure MARC customers would love a l'enfant stop which has much better connections than union station (which, in turn, is great for going to the mall and seeing the museums are meeting with congressman.
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Old 07-26-2012, 11:37 PM   #7
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I believe Amtrak only owns the platforms and "station area." the old, nice part of the station they do not own. the commuters pay Amtrak for access (or should). union station was designed more as a terminal and for much less commuter traffic than exists today. 30th st was designed as a through station and for more commuter AND intercity service than it handles today. it's an extremely well designed station from a functional point of view. still, DC would have fewer problems if MARC and VRE ran through trains and I'm sure MARC customers would love a l'enfant stop which has much better connections than union station (which, in turn, is great for going to the mall and seeing the museums are meeting with congressman.
Yeah, the 30th St lobby is a much more enjoyable experience than the Penn Station lobby even. Penn Station has people crammed together in the middle like a pack of jackals.
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Old 07-30-2012, 03:44 PM   #8
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Yeah, the 30th St lobby is a much more enjoyable experience than the Penn Station lobby even. Penn Station has people crammed together in the middle like a pack of jackals.
Hey, those jackels in DC are people too.
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Old 07-30-2012, 04:19 PM   #9
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Yeah, the 30th St lobby is a much more enjoyable experience than the Penn Station lobby even. Penn Station has people crammed together in the middle like a pack of jackals.
Penn Station is absolutely awful. It has the same feel as Suburban Station, just more crowded and often even dirtier (and strangely, some parts feeling even more desolate at times).

There's no comparing 30th St. and Penn Station. The real comparison is 30th St. to Grand Central. (I'm ignoring which train services actually use the stations; I realize Amtrak does not go through GCS).
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Old 07-30-2012, 05:19 PM   #10
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Hey, those jackels in DC are people too.
I'm missing the joke.
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Old 07-30-2012, 05:48 PM   #11
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Yeah, the 30th St lobby is a much more enjoyable experience than the Penn Station lobby even. Penn Station has people crammed together in the middle like a pack of jackals.
that waiting area in penn station just makes a bad situation worse. 'naveen, I don't dislike suburban, I find it very functional as a commuter station. the problems at penn are much more complex. at suburban they widened platforms, at penn, they can't, so they're stuck with the original narrow platforms...and of course the price of land probably forced the pennsy's hand even back then. If I could do one thing, I suppose, it would be extend suburban slightly further east and bring in some daylight via LOVE Park, it's one of the better elements of market east. fwiw, the "alley" with the dumpsters at suburban was designed to be the taxi area. for an in city commuter terminal, it's designed fairly well. union, gct, penn, and 30th were all intercity stations.
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Old 07-30-2012, 06:18 PM   #12
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The waiting area and concourse at Union is far better than 30th, Penn, and maybe even grand Central Was through there this past Saturday and wow what federal funds can do. Union is a terrific Architectual station as well


Air rights in DC are being developed because of a sparcity of DT land. Govt contracts help there as well


And wow a PT system the common man uses. Sometimes I am saddened to come home but have hope...
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Old 07-30-2012, 06:18 PM   #13
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that waiting area in penn station just makes a bad situation worse. 'naveen, I don't dislike suburban, I find it very functional as a commuter station. the problems at penn are much more complex. at suburban they widened platforms, at penn, they can't, so they're stuck with the original narrow platforms...and of course the price of land probably forced the pennsy's hand even back then. If I could do one thing, I suppose, it would be extend suburban slightly further east and bring in some daylight via LOVE Park, it's one of the better elements of market east. fwiw, the "alley" with the dumpsters at suburban was designed to be the taxi area. for an in city commuter terminal, it's designed fairly well. union, gct, penn, and 30th were all intercity stations.
Yeah, agree that Suburban is designed much better. Even at rush hour it's easier to get around and figure out where you're going. And I think you're right; Penn's waiting area is what takes the station from merely bad to horrendous.
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Old 07-30-2012, 06:28 PM   #14
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Yeah, agree that Suburban is designed much better. Even at rush hour it's easier to get around and figure out where you're going. And I think you're right; Penn's waiting area is what takes the station from merely bad to horrendous.
One of the other layout problems I have noticed with the PEnn Station waiting room is that none of the seats seemed to be laid out to actually face the train arrival monitors. If I am sitting and want to check status I have to usually get up and move to look at a screen.
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Old 07-30-2012, 07:11 PM   #15
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The waiting area and concourse at Union is far better than 30th, Penn, and maybe even grand Central Was through there this past Saturday and wow what federal funds can do. Union is a terrific Architectual station as well


Air rights in DC are being developed because of a sparcity of DT land. Govt contracts help there as well


And wow a PT system the common man uses. Sometimes I am saddened to come home but have hope...
I think you mean the old waiting area that was turned into a mall. the mall part is a great wow factor that can generally divert your attention away from the pathetic waiting area and challenged track layout

naveen-suburban's main failings are septa related.
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Old 07-30-2012, 07:27 PM   #16
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Penn Station is absolutely awful. It has the same feel as Suburban Station, just more crowded and often even dirtier (and strangely, some parts feeling even more desolate at times).

There's no comparing 30th St. and Penn Station. The real comparison is 30th St. to Grand Central. (I'm ignoring which train services actually use the stations; I realize Amtrak does not go through GCS).
The thing to keep in mind about the current Penn Station is that it was designed and built by the Garden's developers, as a way to sweeten their offer to Pennsy for the land the old Penn Station sat on. It's probably the only train station on the East Coast that was built almost entirely as an afterthought; other than the air conditioning (which Old Penn didn't have), there seemed to be no regard for the needs of ridership whatsoever.

There's a lot of criticism for the new Farley Post Office station that's opening in a few years because it doesn't include any new passages under the Hudson, but even if it's mainly an aesthetic improvement, it's still sorely needed.

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Old 07-30-2012, 07:50 PM   #17
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I think you mean the old waiting area that was turned into a mall. the mall part is a great wow factor that can generally divert your attention away from the pathetic waiting area and challenged track layout
True, though the use of the space and building is an improvement, wonder though how long the mall will work (Onlyso much need for another VS or Swatch store), the food court and eating options are a plus and I imagine will only get busier as the office space is developed above the air rights. If the area around 30th Street ever continues to fill in would love to see more use of the 3oth street station structue...

on the track layout, it always seems you wlak forever there. to me personally it always reminded me of the cleaner version of Reading Terminal. I remember before the tunnel arriving at Reading terminal and walking down the platforms. Boy that shed was dirty in the late 70s and early 80s
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Old 07-30-2012, 08:21 PM   #18
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One of the other layout problems I have noticed with the PEnn Station waiting room is that none of the seats seemed to be laid out to actually face the train arrival monitors. If I am sitting and want to check status I have to usually get up and move to look at a screen.
Agree. I think that's why everyone just stands around in front of the big info board, or if they have a long wait, just sit on the floor by a wall instead of going into the seating area proper. It all adds to the mess big time...
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