Artist Donald Lipski, whose monumental works of art dot public environments throughout the United States, was chosen from a pool of 160 artists to create an iconic, landmark artwork for Metro’s new El Monte Transit Center at the intersection of Santa Anita Avenue and Ramona Boulevard in El Monte.
The original transit center, built in the 1970s, has been the busiest bus station west of the Mississippi. The new center will more than double passenger and bus bay capacities, add bike storage and accommodate articulated buses. In addition to Metro bus service, the center will offer service for Greyhound, Foothill Transit and El Monte Transit passengers. Future residential and retail development will surround the Transit Center.
Lipski’s artwork, a modern-day clock tower, was inspired by visits to El Monte, and imagining the hustle and bustle at the new transit hub. “As the busiest bus station west of Chicago, and as a new hub of civic activity and development, the new terminal demanded something bold, memorable and dynamic,” Lipski said. “Having a vertical artwork as a focus will add immeasurably to creating a gathering place in the plaza.”
Since ancient times, clock towers have been prized civic monuments and meeting places, particularly at transit hubs such as train and bus stations. Lipski’s 30-foot clock tower for El Monte, called Time Piece, incorporates three traditional clocks within a contemporary framework. The functional clocks will be suspended from an elegant, sweeping stainless steel arch using a web of thin stainless steel cables, and the two-foot wide clock faces will light up at night. One side of the clock face, as you enter Metro and the bus terminal, is modern and says “Metro.” The opposite clock face, as you leave the station and enter the community says “El Monte” and incorporates the city seal.
The clocks were manufactured by The Verdin Company in Cincinnati, Ohio. The nearly 170-year old maker of clocks and bells, which has been operated by six generations of the Verdin family since 1842, is known throughout the world. The clocks were shipped to Denver, Colorado, where the metal fabricating company JunoWorks will create the arch and cabling system for the clocks.
Installation by Metro’s general contractor is expected in the summer of 2012, and the transit center is anticipated to be open for service in the fall of 2012.