Metro Board to consider approval of concept for Union Station Master Plan that would add new concourse and relocate bus plaza

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Work on the Los Angeles Union Station Master Plan has been underway for more than a year, with Metro staff and contractors tackling some big questions about the best way to improve the facility Metro purchased in 2011.

The Master Plan team is asking the agency’s Board of Directors on Thursday for approval to further develop a concept that would construct a greatly expanded east-west passenger concourse while relocating the bus plaza to a north-south configuration closer to Alameda Street that would also consolidate many of the bus stops around Union Station.

The above staff handout includes several good visuals that best explain the concept. It’s important to keep in mind that these are not final designs by any means — in other words, these are not architectural plans. Rather, it’s a chance for the Board to start their process of deciding what-goes-where on the 40-acre Union Station property.

As the staff report below explains, some of the rationale for this approach for the relocated bus terminal are:

• More flexibility to grow and change, if needed;
• Best connections/transfers to other modes;
• Preserve the historic integrity of the station;
• Strongest connection to existing street bus stops including the Silver Line/EI Monte transitway and Alameda and Cesar Chavez bus routes;
• Most successful at minimizing pedestrian/bus conflicts.

The report also explains the reasons for pursuing an East-West Passenger Concourse:

• Creates strong east/west spine across the site both to accommodate transit and knit together the two sides of the property;
• Can be phased to work with SCRIP, leveraging the opportunity to realize improvements in the concourse while accommodating the access changes necessitated by SCRIP [SCRIP is the acronym for the run-through tracks project that will allow trains to arrive and depart from Union Station to both the north and south];
• Allows a reconfiguring of the east side of the property which can promote development;
• Frees up the historic station for re-programming that creates a destination not completely reliant upon the transit uses.

Naturally, a few questions have been raised about two existing current structures — the Patsaouras Transit Plaza and the Mozaic Apartments. Bottom line: Under the new plan, the transit plaza would be relocated and the Mozaic perhaps replaced. The large four-story underground parking garage built as part of the transit plaza would remain.

Of course, it’s still going to take quite some time to finish the master plan, have the new buildings designed, engineered and then secure funding for them. By the time that occurs, both the existing transit plaza and apartment building will have likely been around for quite some time.

One project that is going forward — with federal funding — is the new El Monte Busway station on the south side of the Union Station property along the 101 freeway. In the meantime, Metro is also working on several other fronts, including an effort to better link Union Station to the surrounding area and provide more amenities in the existing station.

Union Station Master Plan item

6 replies

  1. Since Union Station is considered a historic site remodeling of the interior would probably be limited. The addition to the site of the apartments(originally condo’s) and the Metropolitan Water District buildings were a mistake. Where the MTA building is in the rear of Union Station the two projects in the front diminished the overall view of this historic site. Hopefully any new plans enhance the entire site not take from it as has been done in the past.

    • Hi Mike;

      Please do not leave multiple comments on multiple posts. The comment board is for everyone and I don’t want it dominated by any one person.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  2. If the master plan goes forward as planned, there is the issue of the future and proposed Silver Line station on the busway. If the Patsouras Transit Plaza is moved more to the west of the Station, then will the Silver Line station also be moved more to the west?

    • Hi Victor;

      The new platform for the El Monte Busway and the Silver Line is being built as planned.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  3. I know it is being built with federal funds, but way can’t the Silverline bus Station be relocated to the location of the new poposed buss terminal and designed re desgned in such a way that it does not have to be distroyed when the Union Station Master Plan is built out or the SCRIP project is built.
    if the Silver Line Station is built as planned it will be another waste of good money that is hard to come by

  4. I gather from the presentation not only is the Patsouris Transit Plaza going away but the East Portal will be eliminated, also? If so, that’s a real shame as it is a great space (not the weird underground connector to the plaza but the open space under the half dome).