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Central: Open Public Areas

The original station layout allowed for easy flow of hundreds of passengers through the multiple doorways of two-story Main Waiting Room to the gates at the concourse for boarding and de-boarding trains. The flow was very efficient and through the period of World War II, when high volumes of passengers flowed through the station, this arrangement operated very efficiently. The ticket counter was located on the east wall of the waiting room and baggage was handled at a nearby counter.

However, during the waning years of passenger travel and cost reductions, Amtrak ticket and baggage operations were placed in the concourse area, leaving only one portal to the tracks and Amtrak management staff and crew have been occupying the former baggage area in meager accommodations for many years.

However, today’s ridership through the station has rebounded and surpassed the 20th century volumes with more than 1.2 million passengers passing through the station annually, with this passenger volume expected to rise dramatically in the coming years. Therefore, the original logic of the station organization makes sense again, with one twist: Amtrak operations have flipped to the west side, but the open connection through the center of the building will be restored.

The north plaza will be free of moving carts and vehicles and provide many amenities to passengers. Passengers will once again pass through a restored waiting room and have the entire concourse available to circulate to baggage services, bike storage or seating and dining in the plaza on their route to their train. Perhaps just as important: this entire central area is likely to become a destination area for relaxing, dining people watching and convenient access to ever growing transit opportunities.