Today, Mayor Vincent C. Gray marked the completion of the Columbus Plaza Rehabilitation Project, which improves access and safety for pedestrians and vehicular traffic traversing the plaza en route to Union Station.
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Mayor Vincent C. Gray marked the completion of the Columbus Plaza Rehabilitation Project, which improves access and safety for pedestrians and vehicular traffic traversing the plaza en route to Union Station.
“Before this project, vehicles dropping off passengers to Union Station had to navigate through the plaza’s puzzling configuration and pedestrians had to be wary of confused drivers trying to find their way in and out of the plaza,” Mayor Gray said. “Now, the rehabilitated plaza serves as a safer, more convenient welcome to the District for the hundreds of thousands who visit our most iconic transit hub.”
The federally funded project was implemented through a partnership that includes the District Department of Transportation (DDOT), Amtrak, the Architect of the Capitol, the National Park Service, the Federal Transit Administration, the Union Station Redevelopment Corporation and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA). The 18-month construction phase commenced in September 2011 and the total project cost was approximately $10.8 million.
Mayor Gray and a contingent that included Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.); Ward 3 Councilmember and Chair of the D.C. Council Committee on Transportation and the Environment Mary Cheh; officials from DDOT; and federal and local partners marked the opening of the refurbished plaza during a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
“The collaboration of local and federal stakeholders is a model for continued collaboration for future projects at Union Station,” said Congresswoman Norton. “The upgrades, improvements and planned transformation of Union Station and its facilities together will be a significant factor in the 21st century economy of this region. Columbus Plaza gives Union Station a front yard worthy of this historic facility.”
“This long-term investment will pay dividends for years into the future by improving accessibility to Union Station, a nexus for multi-modal transit in the District,” said DDOT Director Terry Bellamy. “I’d like to congratulate the DDOT team on getting the job done and making this plaza safer and more convenient for all users.”
The following improvements and features are now in place throughout the project area:
- A redesigned traffic circle that allows vehicles to loop around the plaza to enter and exit Union Station,
- New, larger sidewalks to enhance pedestrian safety,
- An enhanced traffic-signal system that will lead to the more efficient flow of pedestrians and vehicles throughout the plaza, and
- A less-obtrusive bollard security system around the perimeter of the station.