Though Ballston Station Plaza has the potential to be a prominent public space, complementing its status as a multi-modal transit center, several existing conditions hinder this potential. Currently, the limited landscaping located only at the building’s perimeter reduces the viability of the retail, while also exposing the plaza to the distractions of the street and transit activity. Scattered retail vendors, bike racks, and poorly located planters obstruct the flow of pedestrians, reduce visibility, and limit the quality of public space.
WMATA engaged KGP Design Studio to devise four alternative concepts with the goal of overcoming the existing obstacles and breathing new life into this urban landscape. The design locates an expanded landscape zone to reduce conflicts between transit and retail users, while at the same time creating an active mixed-use urban plaza benefiting both uses. Planting modules will extend along Fairfax Avenue and Stuart Street, serving as a screen and a “docking area” for bus shelters, retail kiosks, bike parking, and other uses. The modules will wrap the plaza/performance area with quiet areas for café seating located at the building perimeter. The increased area of pervious groundcover and street trees will reduce the current urban heat island effect while increasing stormwater retention.