As the ambitious revitalization of Union Station continues, GO Transit and Metrolinx have now announced that the station's existing Bay Concourse will close on August 16th, facilitating the next stage of renovation and expansion. Following the recent opening of a new York GO Concourse in late April, the Bay Concourse is now set to undergo a similar transformation, expanding in size to meet increasing demand, while new stairways, elevators, and seating—together with new retail space—promise to improve the commuter experience.
Designed by NORR Architects, the new space promises to be a significant improvement in both aesthetics and efficiency. The higher ceilings and more conducive lighting make for a more open environment, while the wider walkways and a split into two floors will serve increase the capacity of the concourse, making for a more pleasant experience.
The renovation process is expected to take approximately two years, with GO Transit advising commuters to plan out alternate routes in advance, scheduling extra time to accommodate a slightly longer commute. For the time being, the newly opened York Concourse (in light green below) is expected to take in many of the displaced passengers, mitigating the impact of the renovations on travelers. Alternately, the Teamways on York and Bay Streets (dark green, dark blue, pink, and light blue below) feature customer service counters, PRESTO readers, and access to train and bus platforms.
Recent photos evidence a space in dire need of renovation (below), with the Bay Concourse's cramped and visibly aged mustard-yellow interior now a dispiriting relic of another era.
As it stands, Union Station's large, rush-hour crowds frequently overwhelm the concourse's relatively constricted passages, increasing commute times and making for an uncomfortable passenger experience. Passenger volumes notwithstanding, the current space is, to put it mildly, aesthetically unpleasant.
Once complete, the new concourse is expected to provide the spacious environment already seen in the new York GO Concourse (photographed below). In addition, significant retail and restaurant options may make Union Station a destination in itself for those venturing to the complex from adjacent buildings just for the new shops and eating establishments. Plenty of take-out restaurants as well as fresh-food options are expected, while the renderings above also suggest there will be space for fashion outlets and boutique shopping.
On street level, a revived facade and new public plaza—included a meticulously restored heritage clock—have already transformed Union Station's public face (below), meeting with an almost unanimously positive public reception while bringing new life to the street. The currently ongoing interior renovations will serve to complement Union Station's new exterior with equally welcoming and well-designed interior spaces.
For more information about the revitalization project, visit the dataBase file linked below. Want to get involved in the discussion? Check out the associated Forum threads or leave a comment at the bottom of this page.