June 9, 2018 - TRA Exclusive -

Rail passengers are denied access to Dallas Union Station after 5:30pm, according to a posted sign on the doors of the historic landmark. The station, owned by the city of Dallas and bound by a long term lease agreement with Woodbine Properties, is now shuttered between 5:30pm and 7:30am. Passengers waiting for a late-running Amtrak train have been forced to wait outside with their baggage as well as Trinity Railway Express passengers wanting a respite from the heat or cold for early morning or evening trains.

[caption id="attachment_4419" align="alignright" width="225"] Closed at 5:30pm sign on rear door at Dallas Union Station[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_4420" align="alignleft" width="225"] Dallas Union Station waiting room[/caption]

"Sources have told me that the reason the waiting room is closed, except for bankers hours, is the area has been ripe with panhandlers and vagrants," according to Texas Rail Advocates President Peter LeCody. "If there is a crime, solicitation, drug use or other related problem then it's up to the landlord, the city, DART and DPD police forces to just fix it. This is a public gathering spot for people waiting for trains. It's shameful that the public has to be shut out. It's a real black eye for travelers and their first impression of Dallas when they come through Union Station. The station waiting room should be open for all train arrivals and departures."

The ban on passengers occupying the waiting room apparently went into effect this past February. TRA member Rick Reynolds said that he and his wife were ushered out of the station at 5:30pm when waiting for a late-running Amtrak Texas Eagle train. They were forced to exit the building and stand outside as there are no outdoor seating areas.

"Union Station should be a useful public gathering spot like Fort Worth has done with their Intermodal Transportation Center ", according to LeCody. "There are zero amenities unless you consider a soda machine the best there is to offer. The front of the station is devoid of any shrubs, flowers or anything pretty to enhance this historic site. The city and landlord should be ashamed."

In addition to shutting down the historic waiting room, it appears that five public parking spots for free short-term use, mainly for Amtrak customers purchasing tickets, meeting trains and requiring information from station agents, have been absconded by the company that runs the adjacent parking lot. The parking stalls are marked 129 to 133, on the outside of the paid lot.

[caption id="attachment_4421" align="alignleft" width="300"] Five short-term free public parking spots are now marked for paid longer-term parking[/caption]

"These parking spots are on the public side of the Union Station drive and for decades customers have had the use of them for short-term drop-off, pick-up and going into the station to get information from the Amtrak agents on duty", according to LeCody. "We want to know who marked these spaces for longer-term paid use when these are clearly outside of the paid parking lot and in the public domain." A similar issue occurred several years ago when the food concession operator at Union Station, Wolfgang Puck, put up signs that said 'employees only' to use the same five parking stalls. After city officials were notified, the signs came down and the parking spaces were returned to public use.

 

 

 

 

 
June 9, 2018 - TRA Exclusive -

Rail passengers are denied access to Dallas Union Station after 5:30pm, according to a posted sign on the doors of the historic landmark. The station, owned by the city of Dallas and bound by a long term lease agreement with Woodbine Properties, is now shuttered between 5:30pm and 7:30am. Passengers waiting for a late-running Amtrak train have been forced to wait outside with their baggage as well as Trinity Railway Express passengers wanting a respite from the heat or cold for early morning or evening trains.

[caption id="attachment_4419" align="alignright" width="225"] Closed at 5:30pm sign on rear door at Dallas Union Station[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_4420" align="alignleft" width="225"] Dallas Union Station waiting room[/caption]

"Sources have told me that the reason the waiting room is closed, except for bankers hours, is the area has been ripe with panhandlers and vagrants," according to Texas Rail Advocates President Peter LeCody. "If there is a crime, solicitation, drug use or other related problem then it's up to the landlord, the city, DART and DPD police forces to just fix it. This is a public gathering spot for people waiting for trains. It's shameful that the public has to be shut out. It's a real black eye for travelers and their first impression of Dallas when they come through Union Station. The station waiting room should be open for all train arrivals and departures."

The ban on passengers occupying the waiting room apparently went into effect this past February. TRA member Rick Reynolds said that he and his wife were ushered out of the station at 5:30pm when waiting for a late-running Amtrak Texas Eagle train. They were forced to exit the building and stand outside as there are no outdoor seating areas.

"Union Station should be a useful public gathering spot like Fort Worth has done with their Intermodal Transportation Center ", according to LeCody. "There are zero amenities unless you consider a soda machine the best there is to offer. The front of the station is devoid of any shrubs, flowers or anything pretty to enhance this historic site. The city and landlord should be ashamed."

In addition to shutting down the historic waiting room, it appears that five public parking spots for free short-term use, mainly for Amtrak customers purchasing tickets, meeting trains and requiring information from station agents, have been absconded by the company that runs the adjacent parking lot. The parking stalls are marked 129 to 133, on the outside of the paid lot.

[caption id="attachment_4421" align="alignleft" width="300"] Five short-term free public parking spots are now marked for paid longer-term parking[/caption]

"These parking spots are on the public side of the Union Station drive and for decades customers have had the use of them for short-term drop-off, pick-up and going into the station to get information from the Amtrak agents on duty", according to LeCody. "We want to know who marked these spaces for longer-term paid use when these are clearly outside of the paid parking lot and in the public domain." A similar issue occurred several years ago when the food concession operator at Union Station, Wolfgang Puck, put up signs that said 'employees only' to use the same five parking stalls. After city officials were notified, the signs came down and the parking spaces were returned to public use.