Monday, July 31, 2006

A Warning For Denver - Don't Do It Underground!

Denver has grand plans. Why not? It's a grand old city the the gem of the Rocky Mountains.

Sometimes grand plans get too grand.

Case in point: The plans to renovate, rehabilitate, and in general revamp the Denver Union Station area. Twenty years and a prayer that the guys that built the Big Dig in Boston don't get anywhere near this one, and - the plan says - most of the transportation infrastructure will be underground.

When Chicago and the owning railroads decided that the air rights directly over the station concourse of Union Station were too valuable for just a beautiful, skylighted building, they demolished it and left travelers with catacombs that are the envy of any Vatican monk. The (then) Marsh and McLennan building was a stink bomb that had so much asbestos insulation in it . . . well that's another story. Even a more recent revamp of the catacombs has not really left us with a better station, just a slightly better effort at thinking about how to decorate catacombs.

When New York and the railroads decided that the air rights directly over Penn Station were too valuable for just a beautiful skylighted building, they demolished it and . . . same picture, same result, renovations and all. Madison Square Garden is just as much of a stink bomb, too.

Denver, we pray you come to your senses before the project is overdone, overbudget, and underground. It's nice to see the light sometimes.

© 2006 - C. A. Turek - mistertrains@gmail.com
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