The amount of parking spaces included in the massive redevelopment of Union Station has become a flashpoint in the debate over the long-planned project, with D.C. officials and neighbors alike arguing for a substantial reduction in parking on the property.
Plans call for 1,575 spaces in a new, 10-story garage replacing the station’s existing parking structure, which sits on First Street NE. The Federal Rail Administration and the Union Station Redevelopment Corp., the main groups managing the extensive revitalization effort, say that they’ll need that much parking to accommodate travelers and patrons of the station’s retail offerings. Parking fees are also expected to help fund the costly project.
The city of the future addresses problems like overpopulation, pollution and sprawl by building high-density vertical neighborhoods that are interconnected at all levels so residents can move freely from one place to another on foot. These 14 city concepts, some of which are already under construction, emphasize walkability, sometimes going so far as to ban cars altogether.
Think traffic is bad now? One billion cars are already on the road today and another billion is expected to join in the coming decade. Pollution and stressful commuting is at an all time high, empowering many politicians and bicycle activists to declare war on the multi-billion dollar car industry which has profoundly impacted city development worldwide.
This appears to be an outstanding multi-modal project that has definitely set the bar high for major metropolitan cities planning similar projects for the future. Hopefully they will take their cue from some of the ideas and strategies employed in the design and development of this project.
We’ve looked at drawings of a lot of splashy futuristic structures, but here’s one that’s actually underway as a grand public space in an American city: San Francisco’s Transbay Transit Center, a transit hub for eleven different public transit modes.
Aside from the undulating glossy facades, the most striking feature is the roof, a green public park with native-plant gardens, footpaths, cafes, an amphitheater, playgrounds, and a fountain running most of the structure’s 4-block length. That sits on top of four levels of transit access.