Staples Mill busiest Amtrak stop in South, expansion for parking planned

Staples Mill busiest Amtrak stop in South, expansion for parking planned
Staples Mill currently has 20 short term and 288 long term parking spaces, photo NBC12
Staples Mill currently has 20 short term and 288 long term parking spaces, photo NBC12
The station will provide 600 parking spots by 2018, photo NBC12
The station will provide 600 parking spots by 2018, photo NBC12

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - After the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation confirmed Richmond's Staples Mill Road Station is the busiest Amtrak location south of Union Station, officials announced the expansion of now limited parking spaces to accommodate the region's growth in ridership.

The West End station currently offers 300 parking spaces, a number that is set to double to 600 over the next two years.

"We are currently in the public involvement phase, plan to advertise the project spring 2017 and begin construction shortly after," said Virginia Department of Transportation Spokesperson Jessica Cowardin in an email Friday. "The project should be complete within a year."

Limited parking has prompted Amtrak to issue service alerts, warning customers the lot at Staples Mill is typically full by 8:00 a.m. on weekdays and most weekends.

Plans show the demolition of at least seven structures, with a second entrance to the station planned near Bremner Boulevard and Compton Road. Bulldozers and backhoes are already positioned on the property, ready to begin preliminary work.

During the short-term outlook for the plan, growing pains will present problems – with only 200 spaces available as construction continues.

Staples Mill has consistently outpaced Richmond's Main Street Station in ridership since opening in 1975. The Henrico location was originally conceived as a potential replacement for the historic Main Street structure, after substantial fire damage and flooding from Hurricane Agnes.

The location reported a 2015 annual station ridership of 361,996, with $25,012,766 in revenue.

The project is an initiative funded by Virginia DRPT and construction directed by VDOT.

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