Amtrak riders will need to allow more travel time next year, as Union Station unveils its new security procedures due to concerns over the station’s easy accessibility.

“There is a lot of commuter traffic, even international traffic coming through [Union Station], and how that security is accommodated is something [officials] are still adjusting to,” said Harriet Tregoning, director of the D.C. Office of Planning.

Union Station is one of the most frequented buildings in Washington, D.C., with over 32 million people traveling through the marble halls each year. The station, however, has almost no security barriers. The general public is also allowed access to almost all of the station except the train platforms. While many of the new security plans have not been finalized, officials are planning to construct steel bollards, designed to protect against terrorist attacks. Bollards are short vertical posts, typically used as a blockade.

“The bollards are being constructed to increase standoff distance in case there is a vehicle carrying explosives directed at the building,” said David Ball, president of the Union Station Redevelopment Corporation.

These steel posts will be erected in conjunction with other traffic improvements in and around Columbus Circle, where Union Station is located. According to Ball, construction will begin in spring 2009 and should take about a year, though he could not specify the types of renovations.

While many students fear that heightened security would augment the hassle already associated with travel, officials say travel times will not be affected.

“The only impact to visitors to the station will be during the construction of the security bollards,” Ball said.

Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.

Comments are closed.