Union Station Ain’t Big Enough For All Those Buses
Today, the District Department of Transportation tweets, Megabus moves into Union Station's parking deck, as part of the plan to make the station into a multi-modal transportation hub. Right now, everybody fits, since the charter tour buses that also pick up and drop off passengers there are entering the winter slow season. But come spring, when the station averages some 100 buses daily, there won't be room for everyone to park while their charges eat lunch or dinner.
Where are they all going to go? The Union Station Redevelopment Corporation, which manages station operations, isn't quite sure. "This information is still under study including travel time, travel route, amenities available and neighborhood concerns," writes USRC director David Ball. "All these items will be weighed in making a decision."
Well, it's getting close to scheduling for the spring already, and tour bus operators are still in the dark. According to tour guide Tim Krepp of D.C. Like a Local, all they know is that they'll have to relocate, and that parking at a satellite location will be more than twice as expensive.
According to the D.C. Department of Planning and Economic Development, two sites are under consideration: The parking lot at RFK Stadium and the empty lot around the decaying Crummell School behind the Hechts Bulding off New York Avenue. RFK is problematic because it's further away and buses would likely have to go through residential neighborhoods, since the Capitol Police won't allow them on Independence and Constitution. And the Crummell School lot is supposed to get redeveloped soon, so parking buses there wouldn't be a great signal to the neighborhood (although the recently-issued request for offers received no responses from charter schools—zero—so it may be sitting around for a long while yet anyway as the District figures out what to do with it).
Then there's the question of whether the buses would even go to those faraway locations at all, or if they'd prefer to just drive around the city streets, spewing fumes into the neighborhood. Solve one problem, create another!