A Metro study of ways to relieve congestion at Union Station has been completed, with two possible solutions under consideration. The more extensive one would take a simple step that has increasingly been clamored for by riders: Adding a flight of stairs where currently there are very short and often broken-down escalators.

Both solutions would include a passageway to H Street, currently accessible through the parking garage, and where several large-scale developments are planned. Ground will break on a new apartment building in the 300 block of H Street NE this spring. The passageway would also serve as the intermodal connection for the streetcar.

The entrance from First Street NE would also be moved and widened, adding space for a few extra fare gates.

With escalators to the Amtrak/MARC/VRE concourse under long-term construction, that passage has become a severe bottleneck as multiple trains carrying some 1,500 people unload at once. Intercity and commuter rail travelers account for most of the traffic in the north mezzanine, Metro planners said.

 
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