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$1 million bathroom renovation complete at Penn Station

Public TransportationRailway TransportationAmtrakMaryland Transit AdministrationMARC Train

A $1 million project to renovate bathrooms at Penn Station in Baltimore, in part to make them accessible to individuals with disabilities, has been completed ahead of schedule, local transportation officials announced Wednesday.

The joint project between Amtrak and the Maryland Transit Administration began in July 2013. Amtrak operates Acela Express, Northeast Regional and short- and long-distance services out of the station.

The state is "making significant investments to make transit more accessible, convenient and enjoyable for more people," said MTA Administrator Robert Smith in a statement.

The bathroom renovations included new fixtures and more accessible stalls, officials said.

The project follows "nearly $8.5 million in Amtrak and state-funded investments in the historic station over the past three years," according to Amtrak.

Those improvements included restored concourse windows, new platform lighting, a new electronic train status board, a new fire-supression system and refinished floors.

"Penn Station is a key multimodal transportation hub for the region, and will continue to play an important role in planning for increasing demand on the Northeast Corridor," said Stephen Gardner, Amtrak's vice president of infrastructure and investment development along the Northeast Corridor.

Smith said the upgrades, along with other efforts like the start of weekend MARC service to Washington, are "targeted investments to drive up transit ridership."

In the next 18 months, an additional $2.2 million will be spent at the station on "a new ADA-compliant Passenger Information Display system, expanded community programming on the plaza and the launch of an exciting multimedia experience for visitors arriving by rail," Amtrak said.

krector@baltsun.com

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