Post Content

Posted By Katherine Fichter

As the Manager of the South Station Expansion project, I recognize the importance of exchanging information with other transportation professionals around the country who are turning similarly large and complex planning projects into realities. Recently, I had the opportunity to attend two meetings that helped illuminate the challenges we face at South Station and the steps needed to overcome them.

Union Station Washington DCIn September, I attended the “Nation’s Station Planning” meeting in Washington, DC, organized by the Union Station Redevelopment Corporation, which oversees Washington Union Station, seen above. Those of us working on large train station projects around the country made presentations and shared information, including representatives from the Transbay Transit Center in San Francisco, Moynihan/Penn Station in New York City, Union Station in Los Angeles, Denver Union Station, and Baltimore Penn Station, among others. Building relationships with professional peers provides an invaluable resource which we can call upon as we develop and execute plans for the future South Station. Since many of these projects are in later stages of development than the South Station Expansion project, the discussions provided me with insight in to how to keep our project on track and avoid some typical pitfalls.

The Washington Union Station master plan proposes to double train service and triple the number of passengers in a relatively confined space.  It also seeks to protect a gorgeous historic station and greatly expand retail and development opportunities and is particularly relevant to our project. The plan outlines a framework for capital investment that will provide numerous local, regional, and national benefits. Notably, the plan is practical, with phased construction that can be accomplished incrementally.

All of the station redevelopment proposals share design concepts similar to those being considered for South Station  – lots of light and openness, attractions for non-travelers, connectivity to surrounding (and future) neighborhoods, safety, and first-rate passenger experiences. Managers agreed that plans should not be overly complicated and elaborate – these stations need to be maintained over time. Also, it is important to balance the primary transportation function of the station with non-transportation uses to create a place that works for everyone.

Fichter SeattleIn October, I attended Rail~Volution, an annual national gathering held this year in Seattle, left, that teaches practitioners, academics, and activists how to build livable communities around public transit. Since many attendees represented smaller cities with newer transit systems (such as Indianapolis, Nashville, Portland), I appreciated anew how fortunate we in Boston are to have such a comprehensive public transit network.

I have already started to share many of the great ideas and insights I’ve discovered through these meetings, and will continue to provide updates in order to get your feedback.  Because, in the end, the best transportation planning is local.

 

 

 

Written By:

Recent Posts

Highway Assistance Patrol Program: MAPFRE Sponsorship Extension posted on Mar 23

Highway Assistance Patrol Program: MAPFRE Sponsorship Extension

MassDOT is pleased to announce an agreement to extend MAPFRE Insurance’s sponsorship of the Highway Assistance Patrol program (HAP) through March 2018. This extension marks the 15th year of partnership between MassDOT and MAPFRE in providing excellent customer service and safe, quick clearance on the   …Continue Reading Highway Assistance Patrol Program: MAPFRE Sponsorship Extension

South Coast Rail: Notice of Project Change posted on Mar 22

South Coast Rail: Notice of Project Change

The Baker-Polito Administration’s Department of Transportation (MassDOT) has filed a Notice of Project Change (NPC) for the South Coast Rail (SCR) Project with the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) Office on March 15, 2017. The Notice advances South Coast Rail as a phased project that   …Continue Reading South Coast Rail: Notice of Project Change

Tobin Bridge Repair, Preservation Project posted on Mar 22

Tobin Bridge Repair, Preservation Project

MassDOT will begin operations this week on an upcoming project to repair, clean and preserve by painting a section of the Tobin Memorial Bridge which carries Route 1 over the Mystic River and between the Charlestown neighborhood of Boston and Chelsea. MassDOT crews and contractors   …Continue Reading Tobin Bridge Repair, Preservation Project