At the cusp of a livable cities movement, the Bicycle Transit Center is a highly visible catalyst promoting bicycle use and alternative transportation options by providing secure parking, rental and retail uses. At the doorstep of Washington's major transportation hub, Union Station, the sleek veiled form reflects the technology of its contents while complimenting its eminent Beaux Arts neighbors. Echoing a bicycle wheel's elegance and efficiency, arched steel tubes covered with an energy-efficient "skin" optimizes transparency in this sensitive historic context.
Union Station — an Intermodal Center
Union Station is the largest intermodal transportation center in the Washington metropolitan area and the mid-Atlantic region. Located just east of Washington's central business district and blocks from the U.S. Capitol, Union Station plays a major role in the travel and commuting needs of thousands of residents and visitors to the national capital region from D.C., Virginia, Maryland and the entire East Coast.
The original train station was completed in 1909., but many modifications have been made over the years. The original train station was designed by noted architect Daniel Burnham and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The most recent major upgrade and rehabilitation of Union Station's rail station occurred in the late 1980s. The Metrorail station at Union Station opened in 1976 and has undergone no major upgrade or renewal beyond routine maintenance projects and the addition of one mezzanine escalator and stair. As these adjoining stations experience new growth from expanded intercity travel, commuter rail's growing popularity and the renewal of adjoining D.C. neighborhoods, Union Station's many stakeholders have come together to begin extensive planning that will create a 21st century multi-modal transportation center.
Union Station is a complex of several structures and serves multiple functions. In addition to the Metrorail station, it contains Washington's Amtrak intercity passenger rail station, the terminal for MARC and Virginia Railway Express commuter rail services, a bus terminal serving intercity and local buses, a retail center of shops and restaurants, a community gathering place with meeting rooms and public spaces, and a tourist attraction.
Each weekday 23,000 commuters and intercity rail riders make 45,000 trips through the station on 229 Amtrak, MARC and VRE trains and 35,000 passengers enter and leave the adjoining Metrorail station. The Metrorail Station at Union Station is the busiest station in the Metrorail system, with close to 70,000 passengers entering and exiting daily, including 18,000 passengers transferring between Metrorail and railway services (Amtrak, MARC and VRE).
These travelers are joined by 350 intercity bus passengers served by three different bus companies, 200 to 1,000 tour bus passengers depending on the season; hundreds of individuals parking at the station's parking garage and more than 150 bicycle commuters and renters at the bike station.
The Bikecycle Transit Center
The Bicycle Transit Center (BTC) is strategically located in the heart of D.C. at Columbus Plaza. As a major intermodal Ccomplex, Union Station was chosen by the District Department of Transportation as an ideal site to test the viability of the initial BTC. Also chosen for its adjacency to the new Metropolitan Branch Trail, the Mall, the expanding NOMA District, and centrality to Washington's four quadrants, the BTC serves a range of users. Any resident, business person or tourist ready to don a helmet and join the growing ranks of bicyclists is welcome.
Sited between two turn-of-the-century landmarks by Daniel Burnham, Union Station and the National Capitol Post Office, the facility is available to thousands of tourists, commuters and neighbors passing through on a daily basis. Union Station, circa 1907, exemplifies a heroic strain of the example of American Beaux Arts tradition that came into fashion after the 1893 Columbian Exposition.