Housing Complex

Union Station Hires Metro’s Wayfinder


Union Station is a maze. It's worse than a maze—it's three dimensional. I can't tell you how many times I've gotten lost trying to find the ladies room, not to mention catch a train; pity the tourist coming there for the first time.

Part of the problem has been a lack of coherent signage. Right now, there are provisional plastic signs pointing every which way, made even more makeshift by the repair operation for the main hall's earthquake-damaged roof.

Well, help is finally on the way. The Union Station Redevelopment Corporation has hired Lance Wyman, who's also working on a new Metro map, to design a more cohesive wayfinding system for the complex.

It's not an easy assignment. Aside from the historic nature of the building, which prevents signs from just being stuck on walls, Wyman will also have to contend with a bunch of stakeholders—Amtrak, Akridge, Ashkenazy, MARC, VRE, WMATA, Greyhound, tour buses—who are all making changes to their domains under the Union Station umbrella. So yeah, it'll take a while.

(Incidentally, I'm working on a longer story about the challenges of coordinating all these folks. Drop me a line if you've got info.)

UPDATE, 6:00 p.m.: Wyman is also working with Roger Whitehouse, who runs another design firm based in New York.

Photo by thisisbossi, who has a good rant about the lack of wayfinding.