WASHINGTON (WUSA9 )-- "Our office has received complaints from residents, Members of Congress, congressional staff and others about missing trains or having to get out of taxis and other vehicles in traffic in order to make trains due to traffic congestion in front of Union Station." This is just part of a letter Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-District of Columbia) sent to officials at the Union Station Redevelopment Corporation (USRC).
Norton is asking the USRC to come up with a plan to address the traffic headaches near Union Station. She is also calling on the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) to work with the USRC to hire consultants to address the issues raised in her letter.
As Members of Congress & D.C Residents Miss Trains Due to Union Station Traffic, Norton Calls for Traffic Changes
Here is Delegate Norton's entire letter to the USRC:
July 10, 2014
Beverly K. Swaim-Staley
President & CEO
Union Station Redevelopment Corporation
10 G Street NE
Washington, DC 20002
Dear Ms. Swaim-Staley:
Our office has received complaints from residents, Members of Congress, congressional staff and others about missing trains or having to get out of taxis and other vehicles in traffic in order to make trains due to traffic congestion in front of Union Station. I know that you agree that this is unacceptable. I am requesting that the Union Station Redevelopment Corporation (USRC) develop a new plan to correct these traffic issues as soon as possible.
Amtrak riders justifiably complain that traffic patterns do not accommodate the needs of riders with luggage. Passengers in cars with luggage have to wait in lines so long that they are unable to reach the entrance of the station to unload their luggage. Frequently, passengers, in order to make their trains, often feel they must begin offloading their luggage before they reach the entrance to Union Station, further slowing down traffic.
I understand that the current traffic pattern is a new one that is based on a ten-year study undertaken by DDOT, and that the historic footprint of the station presents issues that have been an ongoing problem that USRC, DDOT, and other Union Station partners have tried to address. We also understand that USRC and the developer that oversees the circle have hired additional people to monitor the traffic to ensure vehicles are using the proper lanes, but there is little evidence of their presence or effectiveness. We are informed that USRC is also part of a working group with the DDOT, the Metropolitan Police Department, Amtrak, and the National Park Service that is looking at ways to produce signage that will aid drivers. Signage is very much needed, but additional signage will not provide a solution to the chaos that often characterizes vehicle traffic at Union Station.
Therefore, I am requesting that USRC seek outside consultants to deal with the traffic pattern and implement a new traffic pattern in Columbus Circle that prevents vehicular delays. Kindly respond within 30 days as to what action you intend to take.
Eleanor Holmes Norton