Capitol Hill Restoration Society

Union Station Expansion Project – July 2023 Comments

Posted on July 7th, 2023 by Elizabeth Nelson

CHRS provided comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Union Station Redevelopment, July 2023.

CHRS Comments  on Union Station Redevelopment SDEIS

National Trust for Historic Preservation Comments

Committee of 100 on the Federal City Comments

Background information below:

Per the U.S. Dept. of Transportation, Federal Railroad Administration:

Union Station Redevelopment Corporation (USRC), in coordination with Amtrak, is proposing the Washington Union Station Expansion Project (the Project) to expand and modernize Union Station (Station), the National Capital Region’s principal intermodal transportation hub. The Project would provide a positive customer experience; support current and future rail service and operational needs; facilitate intermodal transportation; preserve and maintain the historic Station; sustain the economic viability of the Station; and integrate the Station with the adjacent neighborhoods, businesses, and planned development.

In June 2020, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) released a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) and Draft Section 4(f) Evaluation for public comment in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). In response to comments on the DEIS, a new alternative was developed (Alternative F) and identified as the Project’s Preferred Alternative in July 2022.

The new Preferred Alternative’s major distinctive elements include:

  • Below-ground pick-up/drop-off and parking facility, including
    • approximately 65% reduction in parking capacity compared to the 2020 DEIS Preferred Alternative and 77% reduction compared to the existing garage, and
    • ramps to access the pick-up/drop-off and parking facility on G Street NE and First Street NE.
  • Bus facility integrated with the H Street deck above the rail terminal and the east-west train hall that meets long-term intercity and tour/charter needs with 38 or 39 slips (with available overflow space on the H Street deck capable of accommodating approximately 15 buses in times of very high demand).
  • Enhanced opportunities for a symmetrical public space at the H Street deck level commensurate with Union Station’s historic and architectural significance, to be established by the developer of the adjacent privately-owned air rights.

Public Participation and Comments

FRA is coordinating NEPA compliance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) consistent with 36 CFR 800.8.

On May 12, 2023, FRA issued a Supplemental DEIS (SDEIS), Draft Programmatic Agreement (PA), and Draft Section 4(f) Evaluation to address the new Preferred Alternative’s potential impacts on the human and natural environment. Comments on these documents were accepted until July 6, 2023.