Donald Lipski’s artwork, Time Piece, to be a Landmark for new Metro Transit Hub

Lipski's 30' high clock tower will be installed in the entry plaza of the El Monte Transit Center. Rendering by RNL Architects.
Lipski’s 30′ high clock tower will be installed in the entry plaza of the El Monte Transit Center. Rendering by RNL Architects.
Artist Donald Lipski

Artist Donald Lipski

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.”

One side of the clock face, as customers enter Metro and the bus terminal, is modern and says “Metro.” The opposite clock face, as customers leave the station and enter the community says “El Monte” and incorporates the city seal.

One side of the clock face, as customers enter Metro and the bus terminal, is modern and says “Metro.” The opposite clock face, as customers leave the station and enter the community says “El Monte” and incorporates the city seal.

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.

2 thoughts on “Donald Lipski’s artwork, Time Piece, to be a Landmark for new Metro Transit Hub

  1. I envision an LA where a big transit hub would be built near LAX. We need something like a “West LA Union Station” that brings in domestic and international air travel, intercity travel through high speed rail and Greyhound, and local transit into one key hub in the same spot.

    Taking Amtrak from San Diego-LA Union Station then hopping onto Flyaway from Union Station to LAX and onwards to Tokyo or using the Airbus from Santa Barbara-LAX-London just does not work for people’s needs. It takes too much time, the transit times for the buses varies based on freeway congestion, and it’s too much of hassle. This is more so true because Union Station is nowhere near LAX. Rather, people just opt to fly SAN-LAX-NRT or SBA-LAX-LHR, hence never diminishing the need for all those regional flights to LAX.

    As for intracity travel, in order to get from the Valley to LAX using public transit, one has to take the Orange Line to North Hollywood and transfer to the Red Line, loop all the way to Downtown LA transfer at 7th/Metro, take the Blue Line, transfer at Imperial/Wilmington onto the Green Line, get off and take the G Shuttle to LAX which further adds another 20-60 minutes to loop around the congestion at LAX. Like who’s going to do that if they can just ask a friend or their family to drive straight from the Valley to LAX via the 405?

    Transit to LAX is so broken in this city that it’s becoming a laughing stock for cities across the world. No matter how many billions we spend in flashy new terminals at LAX, the shock of LA being akin to a “third world country” is seen the moment travelers get out of the terminal after collecting their luggage: the horrid mess of cars congesting the LAX loop.

    The concept of mixing longhaul domestic and international air travel with intracity and intercity rail going directly to the airport has to be prioritized ASAP.

    Just look at Frankfurt am Main International Airport. FRA has ICE high speed rail from nearby cities like Stuttgart and Cologne and S-Bahn trains running from Frankfurt.

    Same with Paris Charles d’Gaulle International; Paris Metro RER runs trains from CDG into Paris every 15 minutes and it also has SNCF TGV intercity high-speed rail to all over France.

    What do they have in common? They both bring intercity and intracity local rail directly to the airport, not some 20 miles away in the inner core of the city which a traveler is left guessing how to get there.

    We need to stop thinking about single modal airports, single modal bus transit centers and single modal rail transit centers. We need to start mixing all of them together so that air, rail, and buses work cooperatively to what each transit method works best.

    After all, LAX is one of the largest airports in the world with millions of passengers going through each day whether LAX is their final destination or making a connection to an onward city. What better way to remove carbon footprint by removing the need of all those commuter jets from Fresno, Santa Barbara, and San Diego into LAX if we can bring HSR directly to LAX instead and let rail handle that job instead? What better way to reduce carbon footprint for air travelers to go to LAX from Riverside, Irvine, Montclair, and SF Valley if they could get there directly without taking our congested freeways?

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