Union Depot Pedestrian Plaza? Or Converted Driveway?

Union Depot Driveway during preliminary construction

 

In November Ramsey County Regiona Railroad Authority posted this great little video showcasing the renovated  Carriageway and new entrance for those arriving by vehicle or carriage for that matter. The interior is beautiful and I highly suggest you check it out, you could even take your carriage there.

 Prior to the renovation of the Head house of the Union Depot and the construction of the Central Corridor line thought downtown St. Paul, you likely would have arrived to the Union Depot in a car by a generously wide three lane 4th street. You also likely pulled into the circular driveway in front of the head house and maybe parked there too. The restoration of the head house is now complete and open to the public.

The first thing you will notice is that 4th street in front of the depot has been converted from a generous three lane street into a single lane one way street in order to accommodate the 2 light rail tracks and passenger platforms. In the photo below the single lane of traffic is accommodated to the right of the platforms

 

 

 

 

Before the construction if you were arriving to the Union Depot by foot you might have crossed the street mid block and seen a sight similart to what Google street view offers.

 

 

Now pretend it's 2014 and you arrive to the Union Depot by light rail and are exiting the platform you will find a slightly different landscape leading up to the head house.

What's different you ask, removed parked cars, exchanged the asphalt for concrete, remove the sidewalk next to the driveway? What do you think did they do a good job of creating a welcoming pedestrian realm?