Project: Bicycle Transit Center
Program: Bicycle parking and retail
Location: Union Station – Columbus Plaza
50 Massachusetts Avenue, NE
Washington, DC 20002
Total Area: 1,750 square feet
Date Completed: October 2009
Architects: KGP Design Studio
Bicycle Transit Center at Union Station, Washington DC houses secure parking for 150 bicycles in 1,750 square feet of a ground breaking state of the art transportation facility. This free-standing, modern glass and steel structure which is located close to the National Capitol enhances the commuter’s alternatives as well as a national model for urban sustainability.
The project which was designed by KGP Design Studio is part of a growing network of bike stations and linked transit centers which are being constructed in major cities across the U.S. The 1,750 sq. ft. structure is divided into two programs: bicycle parking and retail; the parking area provides for 150 rack positions of secure bicycle parking, non-secure parking for 40 bicycles and short term parking for 10 bicycles. While the retail area provides for bike rental, repair and retail accessories; furthermore, the transit center provides changing rooms, 40 short and long term lockers, and a 50sq. ft. storage area.
The bike transit center allows commuters to take public transportation to and from Union Station, pick up their bicycles and go to work, shopping or entertainment thus assisting in urban sustainability and all this in a secure and semi-enclosed environment. At the transit center, clients are able to sign up for memberships or pay a small fee per day to lock their bikes in one of the secure double height bike racks that will take up two-thirds of the building’s space.
The design of the transit center is created of stone, double ceramic fritted glazing and metal with accents created by metal frames, grills and light fixtures (introduced at the turn of the century). Barrel vaults were used in the formal spaces and a partial vault was used in the train room where a larger span was required for movement of pedestrians and luggage. The sunken football shaped glass and steel structure is situated between Daniel Burnham’s Grand Beaux Arts Union Station and the National Postal Museum. The sharp shape and the materials used contradict with the surrounding area thus conveying the pedestrians’ attention to the project. The transit center is constructed with sustainable design by KGP Design Studio, thus utilizing the natural light as well as allowing for cooling by natural convection and Bernoulli principle. This “non- building” which is described as something between a canopy and a building due to the lack of walls and roof, per sec, is clearly transparent and particularly different to the surrounding environment of the granite clad walls of Union Station. The construction allows for abundant natural light to pass through, furthermore, it acts as a lens through which one can view the outside or the inside, at the same time it will discretely showcase alternative modes of transit for visitors and commuters.
The Bicycle Transit Center serves as a channel through which civilians are encouraged to use bicycles and alternative transportation means as an extension to the existing transit modes. The facility has taken advantage of its prominent location to become a visible transportation model as well as a focal center for the bicycle community. The transit center is planned, implemented and operated by Mobis Transportation/Bike Station as a completely secure facility.
The facility is staffed and available to members 24/7.