Readers of this blog know that DOT has supported infrastructure repairs and modernization in every state across the nation. Revitalizing our roadways, transitways, runways, and railways not only keeps America moving forward; it also creates jobs and helps position our communities for greater economic competitiveness.
Those critical investments have also paid dividends right here in DOT's backyard, Washington, DC. And earlier today, Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff was at DC's Union Station to help cut the ribbon on the newly renovated Columbus Plaza.
Union Station is more than just the landmark gateway to our nation’s capital. It's an important part of President Obama’s vision for a revitalized Northeast passenger rail corridor. Our investment in Columbus Plaza is part of a long-term effort to transform the station into a 21st Century transportation hub ready to provide high-speed rail services that meet the needs of the millions of travelers who pass through this station each year.
The historic station also houses DC's intercity bus hub, is the busiest stop in the Metrorail transit system, and serves as a point of departure for many tours of our capital city.
Columbus Plaza sits in front of the station, with sidewalks and roadways that help manage all forms of traffic into and out of the busy station. The renovation, funded in part by FTA, performed long-overdue road, sidewalk, and security improvements. The project also created new traffic patterns, making access to the station safer for pedestrians, bicyclists, public transit buses, taxis, tour buses, and private vehicles.
Among other improvements, the Plaza redesign (bottom) eliminates the need (top) for cars exiting the station to loop back. Photos courtesy Washington Post
In addition, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority is working with Amtrak and the Union Station Redevelopment Corporation to expand Metrorail capacity and create direct links from Metro to intercity bus service and to the new H Street streetcar, expected to launch later this year.
DOT is proud of its role in helping make the Columbus Plaza project happen. But we're also pleased to be part of a larger partnership in this important work, including the Union Station Redevelopment Corporation, the National Park Service, the District of Columbia Department of Transportation, and Amtrak.And we can't wait to get going on the next step in this exciting long-term plan.