Planning underway for Silver Line station at Patsaouras Transit Plaza

The final design by EE&K Architects evolved from a design charrette held at Metro in March. The challenge was to take the south-facing boundary of the Patsaouras Transit Plaza that edged along the 101 freeway and create a first class transit experience for commuters. The final result is a true gateway that leads commuters along a trellised pedestrian promenade from the plaza, descending into a landscaped, covered and brightly-lit boarding area.

The final design by EE&K Architects evolved from a design charrette held at Metro in March. The challenge was to take the south-facing boundary of the Patsaouras Transit Plaza that edged along the 101 freeway and create a first class transit experience for commuters. The final result is a true gateway that leads commuters along a trellised pedestrian promenade from the plaza, descending into a landscaped, covered and brightly-lit boarding area.

The Silver Line, the new transit service that runs on dedicated busways along the I-10 and I-110 between the El Monte Station and the Artesia Transit Center, opened just 11 months ago.

Now plans are underway to build a new station for the Silver Line at the Patsaouras Transit Plaza at Union Station in downtown Los Angeles. The new station will complete a transit center troika for the Silver Line, providing connections to Metro bus and rail service, as well as to Metrolink commuter rail service and Amtrak at Union Station.

This makes the Silver Line the only transit service that allows for transfers to all five Metro Rail lines — the Red, Purple and Gold lines at Union Station, the Blue Line at 7th/Metro Center and the Green Line at the Harbor Freeway. The rail lines, in turn, provide service to communities such as Long Beach, North Hollywood, East Los Angeles, Pasadena and Redondo Beach, to name a few.

The station, essentially a horizontal pathway that extends 600 feet from the plaza along the 101 freeway and across the freeway entrance at Vignes Street, will be constructed at the south end of the Patsaouras Transit Plaza facing the I-101 freeway. Photo by Gary Leonard.

The station, essentially a horizontal pathway that extends 600 feet from the plaza along the 101 freeway and across the freeway entrance at Vignes Street, will be constructed at the south end of the Patsaouras Transit Plaza facing the I-101 freeway. Photo by Gary Leonard.

The new station is one of the key components of the ExpressLanes project, which also includes the new two-level $45-million El Monte Station expansion now under construction and improvements to the Artesia Transit Center. ExpressLanes is a pilot project undertaken by Metro, Caltrans and and other agencies to convert existing carpool lanes on parts of the 10 and 110 into toll lanes for some motorists to try to reduce traffic congestion.

The cost of construction for the Union Station Silver Line station is about $15 million. If bids go out in January as scheduled, construction could begin in early 2011. It will take approximately 18 months from the start of construction to complete.

Categories: Policy & Funding, Projects

11 replies

  1. I’m commenting in the hopes that I’m not too late for the public comment period for this project.

    What I am envisioning is a station either at the unused land site adjacent to Vignes, or directly south of Patsaouras Transit Plaza with stairs/escalators down to ground level that connects with the walkways under Union Station tracks.

    The proposed design calls for a long elevated walkway connecting the different platforms, but passengers disembarking at the Silver Line station must first walk uphill, then make a sharp right turn and then descend via stairs/escalators. They must descend again to the ground floor for Red Line/Metrolink/Amtrak, or go upstairs again for Patsaouras. This appears to represent only a marginal improvement of walking distance compared to the existing stop on Alameda and possibly more inaccessible to handicapped riders.

    The long walkway enclosed by glass also looks like it will be very hot and uncomfortable on summer days and require expensive HVAC systems to operate as opposed to a floor-level design.

  2. Another idea: Put traffic lights or a traffic circle at the junction between the busway and Patsaouras so Silver Line buses can drive directly into the plaza and stop at existing bus berths. This may add a minute or two to the running time for the Silver Line, but it should save a lot of money.

  3. Isn’t the high speed rail group thinking of making their tracks hook up with the this end of Union Station?

  4. Though it is hard to tell, it does appear that this elevated structure might extend to where the high-speed rail tracks are planned to enter the station from south of Highway 101. One would hope that this is not the case and the engineers have taken into account the high-speed rail tracks. If not, this is a gross error that needs immediate correction.

  5. Millions for transit centers, yet NOT ONE DIME GOES TO NEW BUSES TO REPLACE OLD ONES THAT REPEATEDLY BREAK DOWN! What is the POINT of building new transit centers if the buses that are supposed to go into and come out of them ALWAYS BREAK DOWN!

  6. I fully support public transit projects. I would even be willing to pay higher gas tax to fund construction, but this is a ridiculous waste of money. Why? Why? It makes zero since to me. Just extend the bus into the Plaza. The bus loops around the Plaza and back to the bus way lane. Please don’t build this.

  7. This is sorely needed! And a much improved image over the bus station island that we currently have off the 101 next to union station. (the one tree and 2 benches on broken concrete does not represent a world class city..) Looking forward to this project.

  8. Dear Fred-your comment makes TOO MUCH SENSE! The idea of using a way into the transit plaza that already exists! How logical! This is why the MTA will NEVER DO IT! They have to burn millions of tax dollars first on something that riders will never get to ride on, because the MTA does not have the BRAINS to keep RUNNING BUSES around! Close, but no cigar!

  9. Did this project have to undergo environmental review? I don’t recall any opportunity for public comment. In principle, building new and better platforms makes sense. But having seen no design for this (only the rendering above), I wonder why the new platforms couldn’t have been better integrated with the other areas of the complex.

  10. I understand the westbound bus drop-off/pickup zone, but what about the eastbound platform? Is something planned for the Alameda HOV entrance? is this structure taking all of the other municipal express service buses out of the Patsaouras Circle?

  11. Based on the design I don’t see it. Remember that the busway is already opposite-side configured (westbound traffic on the south side, eastbound traffic on the north side) anyway. If I recall, the busway riders will be funneled into a underpass under the existing eastbound lanes of the busway. Now, this is basically a bunch of stair climbing for nothing, similar to when I need to get to the Red Line platforms from the east side – I disregard the signs and walk through the parking garage, instead of walking up the hill and back down the stairs. Although the old Union Station access used to be atrocious, with the MWD building there the walk from the Silver Line station to Union Station is OK. If this station ends up getting dropped due to cost overruns elsewhere, no one will feel the loss.