Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Springfield's Third train station – a real beauty – was used for less than 30 years before it was replaced by the current station.

The newest plan for Union Station was released yesterday and it is the most sensible one that has been suggested so far.

There is no shopping mall, IMAX theater or hotel complex. Instead the plan is to consolidate train, bus and taxi service in one location with a parking garage, office space and some "traveler-support retail." All of the grand vision items have been replaced with ones that are within the the realm of possibility.

The $65 million project, if all of its ducks line up, could be completed b y 2011.

The baggage building would be demolished for the parking garage and bus bay. Buses would enter Frank B. Murray Street by Main, go into the enclosed bus bay area, and then exit via Dwight Street. The parking garage would be above the bus bays.

The tunnel linking the station to Lyman Street would be re-opened.

PVTA officials are still waiting for a final "we're in" from Peter Pan Buslines.

This would be a great step forward for the region and downtown Springield, especially if the state invests in the commuter line proposed between Springfield and New Haven. Although in this very uncertain economic times, one can't be assured that the Legislature would see fit to invest that kind of money in Western Massachusetts transportation infrastructure.

I was allowed inside the station – although I was quickly escorted out by one worker – and a number of the vintage benches are still there in the waiting room, covered in plastic. The clock in the main lobby is still there, although, needing repair.

© 2008 by Gordon Michael Dobbs

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