Mayor Dwight C. Jones today announced that he will submit an ordinance at Monday’s City Council meeting to accept a $10 million grant to advance the third and final phase of the multi-year renovation of Richmond’s iconic Main Street Station. The grant was approved yesterday by the Richmond Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (RAMPO), the regional body that allocates federal transportation funding. The grant faces final approval by the Commonwealth Transportation Board in June.
“The region has been working for more than two decades to renovate one of Richmond’s most iconic buildings into a true multi-modal transportation center,” said Mayor Jones. “This funding will kick-start the final renovation phase and we’re grateful to our neighboring localities for supporting this effort to strengthen the region’s transportation network.”
The third phase aims to enhance the multi-modal transportation options at Main Street Station and to improve existing rail passenger service and support future increased rail passenger service. This includes:
· Stabilizing and rehabilitating the station shed to improve service and capacity for existing passenger rail, consistent with National Historic Preservation Guidelines;
· Re-opening Franklin Street through the train shed to provide connectivity for the Virginia Capital Trail and pedestrian access through the site;
· Improving site circulation and amenities for multi-modal activity, including eventual electric vehicle charging stations;
· Improving existing rail passenger amenities;
· Positioning extra site space to solidify the property's iconic gateway presence by establishing a Transit Center, Virginia Welcome/Travel Center and Bicycle Welcome Center within the station.
The rehabilitation of the Main Street Station property into a multimodal transportation center will serve Amtrak, Greater Richmond Transit Company (GRTC) buses, intercity bus service, MegaBus, airport shuttles, future Bus Rapid Transit, taxis, and other alternative modes of travel such as bikeshare, bike storage/rental, Zipcars, Segways, scooters and electric vehicle charging stations at one centralized location in downtown.
More than 880 GRTC buses on 27 routes circulate at bus stops within two blocks of Main Street Station, making Shockoe one of the most accessible sites in the Richmond area.
Main Street Station is located at the convergence of regional bike trails, pedestrian trails, transit routes, Interstates/major arterials and the national passenger rail system. The Canal Walk ($103 million public investment spurring $700 million in private investment) and the Virginia Capital Trail ($57 million public investment linking Williamsburg to Richmond) intersect two blocks from Main Street Station. The station will host a Visitor Welcome Center that will be available to the 65 million travelers per year that pass by the station on I-95 and surrounding streets and will provide a Bicycle Welcome Center for the riders on the Virginia Capital Trail. The improvements to Main Street Station will further strengthen its position as a monumental gateway to Virginia’s Capital City by linking downtown Richmond with downtown Washington DC, Philadelphia, New York, Boston and other East Coast metropolitan areas.
The $48.5 million third phase is expected to be complete in 2016. Renovation of the train shed will take two years to complete. The City intends to begin construction of the train shed as soon as early summer 2014.
RAMPO deemed Main Street Station an “existing project of regional significance,” and awarded funds based on criteria of completing an existing project, project readiness, cost effectiveness, air quality, safety, coverage area, congestion relief and system continuity. In addition, RAMPO also approved funding for the following Richmond projects:
· Operational support for a citywide bikeshare system ($392,000);
· Improvements on Commerce Road from Bells Road to Bellemeade Road ($2,050,000);
· Extension of Deepwater Terminal Road to Goodes Street ($1,750,000);
· Improvements on Jahnke Road from Blakemore Street to Forest Hill Avenue ($4,000,000);
· Rehabilitation of the Mayo Bridge ($2,000,000);
· Rehabilitation of the Midlothian Turnpike Bridge over Belt Boulevard($100,000); and
· Citywide signal improvements ($12,515,801).
Upgrading Main Street Station has been a high priority project of RAMPO for more than two decades. The project reflects the regional priorities of coordinated transportation, quality place and job creation, as defined by the Capital Region Collaborative. Numerous organizations have endorsed the project, including the Greater Richmond Chamber of Commerce, Virginians for High Speed Rail, Commonwealth Transportation Board, Federal Railroad Administration, Federal Transit Administration, Amtrak, CSXT and others. In the summer of 2009, the counties of Chesterfield, Henrico, Hanover, New Kent, Goochland and the City of Richmond, the Chambers of Commerce representing the localities, the Richmond Regional Planning District Commission, and the RAMPO all passed resolutions in support of the extension of high speed rail service to the Richmond region.