(Washington, DC) – The American Planning Association (APA) today named Union Station one of the 10 Great Public Spaces in America 2008, recognizing Union Station as one of the most accessible, creative, interactive, functional, and enjoyable public places in the in the country.
“As Union Station observes its 100th anniversary, we are happy to celebrate this important place as a 21st Century world-class transportation center and vibrant public space,” said Mayor Adrian M. Fenty. “It is a grand gateway that gives visitors a lasting first impression of our city.”
The purpose of APA’s “Great Places in America” program is to commemorate exceptional public spaces across the country that promote social activities, welcome and accommodate visitors and reflect the local culture and history. Union Station’s interior and exterior spaces create a unique, interactive public space that welcomes city residents as well as many of the city’s 25 million annual visitors.
When Union Station opened in 1908, it served as a monumental gateway to the city. A $160-million interior renovation effort in 1988 created shops, restaurants and other amenities. Significant public and private investment is expected in the area around Union Station in the near future including the new 3 million square foot Burnham Place mixed-use development planned for construction above the existing rail yard behind Union Station.
“Born 100 years ago with an exclusive focus on rail transportation, with every new iteration, Union Station is evolving to reflect new choices, such car-sharing, premium bus services, and especially our forthcoming state-of-the-art bike station which will soon be joined by a fleet of bicycles from the nation’s first ever bike sharing program,” said DC Office of Planning Director Harriet Tregoning.