Amtrak's worst ride is coming to an end

Posted by Fred Frailey
on Monday, September 12, 2011

Almost five weeks ago, I wrote of the deplorable condition of the street leading to the front of Washington Union Station that makes cars rock up and down like rowboats in stormy seas (see “Worst Ride on Amtrak,” Aug. 6). I ended that missive with this plea to Amtrak’s president: “Mr. Boardman, fix your street.”

As I drove my daughter to Union Station today, we got the usual rocking in the left lane, and I watched as the motorist beside us in the right line practically got pitched out of the driver’s seat. But I also saw initial evidence of construction that will rebuild the spur from Massachusetts Avenue and end this torture.
No, I had nothing to do with the cure to the problem, nor did Joe Boardman, for that matter, because unbeknownst to me, Amtrak does not own the entrance road to the station. It belongs instead to the District of Columbia, which has launched an 18-month rebuilding of Columbus Plaza in front of Union Station, including the wicked road.
So here’s a cheer to better times ahead. But guess how long it took to get this done? Eleven years, it turns out. DC’s DOT conducted initial studies during 2000-2002, and design began in 2004. That’s government for you, but thanks all the same for finally getting the job done. — Fred W. Frailey

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