Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro)

CA: Metro Union Station Master Plan Advances

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) released refined concepts for the Union Station master plan that reflect public input to date and continued technical analysis for the evolution of the station as a transportation hub and an iconic destination.

A public meeting will be held Aug. 1 at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in downtown Los Angeles to discuss the current concepts and continue the public dialogue.

The master plan team consisting of Metro, and Los Angeles-based Gruen Associates and Grimshaw Architects of New York and London have refined the concepts with particular emphasis on earlier public input that dealt largely with proposed improvements to transit connections. Key proposals being evaluated include the possibility of a new passenger concourse, a new terminal for all buses that serve Union Station, as well as improved accessibility through the station and connectivity to the surrounding neighborhoods.

Ongoing public review and fine-tuning of the alternative concepts is part of a multi-phase process to create a master plan for the historic Union Station and its surrounding 47 acres in downtown Los Angeles. The effort began with the selection of a Master Plan team in June 2012. Since then, the team has been involved in data collection and technical studies, has solicited feedback from the community and other stakeholders and created four draft alternative plans.

“Union Station is the centerpiece for this planning process. We will ensure that it is a world-class destination for Los Angeles now and into the future that can accommodate the growth of our transportation network and be an efficient and convenient hub for our passengers,” said Art Leahy, Metro CEO.

Community input is being incorporated into the four alternative concepts which were first presented at the May 2, 2013 community workshop. These alternatives focus on transit operations, options for expanded bus operations, and a larger passenger concourse while leaving open the potential for additional heavy and light rail service in the future.

The alternatives satisfy near, medium and long-term goals and allow for the seamless integration of high speed rail at Union Station at some time in the future. All of these concepts protect and enhance the historic station. Development opportunities that take advantage of transit access and support a world-class transit facility will be explored more fully in the final Master Plan, which will be completed by Summer 2014.

“The Master Plan will be a guide that illustrates how the Union Station property should be used for transportation purposes, future development, and community activities. The refined alternatives show optional approaches for a range of land uses. From these options, one approach will be recommended and developed more fully. Community input will help us determine which approach should be recommended,” added Martha Welborne, executive director, Metro Countywide Planning.

Pedestrian and bicyclist circulation and connections to neighboring communities are a priority for the master plan but require study beyond the master plan’s boundaries. To that end, Metro is conducting a study of pedestrian and bicycle linkages to and from Union Station, funded in part by a Caltrans grant and in collaboration with the Southern California Association of Governments and a number of Los Angeles City departments. This “linkages” study will create a prioritized public improvement plan that will be closely coordinated with the final Union Station Master Plan and will completed at the same time as the Master Plan.

The public will next be invited to comment on the refined alternatives, as well as comment on a recommendation for a preferred alternative, at a workshop with the Metro Board of Directors on Sept. 18. Following this workshop, the Metro Board will be asked to adopt a preferred alternative for further development at its regular meeting in October.