Columbus Plaza at Union Station
Massachusetts Avenue between North Capitol Street and Second Street, NE
Dear Mr. Moneme:
In its meeting of 20 September, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed the revised concept for improvements to Columbus Plaza at Union Station. The Commission took no action on the proposal and requested that it be resubmitted with additional information for further review.
The Commission members expressed appreciation for the careful resolution of circulation for the many transportation modes but were concerned that a site of such prominence and historical significance is being presented as an engineering and repair project. They emphasized the importance of this plaza as a civic space, its relation to the nearby Capitol and the urban neighborhood, and its importance as a feature of the McMillan Plan and a focal point of the city over the past century. The members acknowledged that modern interventions are necessary to adapt the plaza for contemporary needs; however, they expressed concern that the essential character of the original design has not been adequately considered in developing this proposal, including the plaza's layout, detailing, materials, and landscaping. To the extent that these issues have already been studied, the presentation should include these aesthetic considerations in addition to the operational transportation issues that were emphasized.
The Commission requested that the next presentation include representatives of all the involved agencies—the National Park Service and the Union Station Redevelopment Corporation, as well as the D.C. Department of Transportation. Since the perimeter security plan for Union Station was not yet available for submission, the additional presentation will provide the opportunity to jointly consider the plaza and security proposals in a consolidated review.
As always, the staff is available to assist you.
Thomas E. Luebke, AIA
Emeka Moneme, Director
D.C. Department of Transportation
2000 14th Street, NW, 6th Floor
Washington, DC 20009
cc: David S. Ball, Union Station Redevelopment Corporation
Joseph M. Lawler, National Park Service