Latest Raleigh Union Station design presented

ccampbell@newsobserver.comMarch 6, 2013 

A conceptual floorplan for Raleigh's Union Station train facility.

COURTESY OF CLEARSCAPES

— Architects unveiled the latest design for Raleigh’s new Union Station late Wednesday, adding a rooftop terrace and moving the main vehicle entrance to Martin Street.

A standing-room-only crowd got its first look at drawings of the $60 million Amtrak station, set to open in 2017 in the old Dillon Supply Company Viaduct building in downtown’s Warehouse District.

Architects from the Raleigh firm Clearscapes said they envision the building as a mixed-use gathering space with restaurants and shops. Downtown residents and visitors could join train passengers in admiring the skyline from a rooftop restaurant. A high-ceilinged waiting area would take up much of the building.

The original layout of the station – drawn up several years ago for a federal stimulus funding application – didn’t account for much car traffic, calling for cars to enter and exit from a sharp turn off West Street.

The latest plans include a one-way traffic pattern to ease passenger drop-offs. Drivers would enter the station from the western end of Martin Street, near the Flanders Gallery, and exit at West Street. That street, currently a dead end, will be extended across or under the railroad tracks to the south. City engineers took an informal poll Wednesday to see whether people prefer a bridge or underpass option.

Pedestrians would use a separate plaza entrance at the corner of Martin and West street, then walk through a passageway under the tracks to the main building. The plaza, originally set to dip down toward the entrance, would now be at ground level for more light. It could potentially host events.

The architects said the plans are far from final, and they asked for feedback on the station’s layout. “The next step is to turn this overall design into architecture,” said Clearscapes’ Fred Belledin.

The N.C. Department of Transportation plans to hold another public workshop on May 1 to gather feedback on the next round of designs.

Preliminary blueprints are expected to be done this summer.

Campbell: 919-829-4802 or twitter.com/RaleighReporter

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