Metro awarded $22 million in two federal TIGER grants to improve station access

 

Two projects to improve access to Metro Rail stations were awarded “TIGER grant” funding this week from the U.S. Department of Transportation:

•The Eastside Access Improvement Project will receive $11.8 million to help create a network of sidewalks and bike lanes for pedestrians and bicyclists to access the Regional Connector 1st/Central Station in Little Tokyo.

Proposed improvements include an enhanced network of crosswalks, sidewalks and bike lanes for pedestrians and bicyclists, improved pedestrian lighting, planting and street furniture along nearby streets. The above renderings show some of the possible improvements.

The Regional Connector is a 1.9-mile underground light rail line that will connect the Gold Line to the Blue and Expo Lines in downtown Los Angeles and is forecast to open in 2020. The Connector will allow Eastside Gold Line riders to take the train directly into the heart of downtown without first having to travel to Union Station and transfer to the subway.

•Metro also was awarded $10.25 million to fund a series of improvements for the Willowbrook/Rosa Parks Station that serves the Blue Line, Green Line, six Metro bus lines and other muni bus providers. The station sits under the 105 freeway, meaning it can be noisy, cavernous and dimly lit — all impacting the “passenger experience,” as Metro’s grant application noted.

Among the improvements to be funded by the grant money: increasing station capacity by lengthening the Blue Line platform and, according to Metro, “enhancing connections between rail, bus, bicycle and pedestrian facilities to create safer access to the station from the surrounding community.”

Metro continues to pursue a larger project that could include a new bus center, sheriff substation and pedestrian plaza. More funding will be needed for those improvements.

Please click here to see the news release from the U.S. Department of Transportation and here’s a nice USDOT map showing TIGER grants awarded around the country. Metro officials said they especially appreciated the support of Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein in securing the grants — the two largest awarded to agencies in the state of California.

17 replies

  1. If the Regional Connetor is “a 1.9-mile underground light rail line”, what color is going to be assigned?
    Stating it that way is confusing to people. It is not a seperate line that connects the other two. It is an additon to the Blue, Expo, and Gold lines that will interconnect them.
    The way it is currently described makes it sound like the 42nd Street shuttle in New York. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/42nd_Street_Shuttle

    • When the Regional Connector is opened, there will likely be an accompanying renaming of the lines. The plan for the Connector is to run one east-west line from Santa Monica to East L.A. and a north-south line from Long Beach to Azusa.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

      • You missed the point.
        The Regional connector is not a “line”, like the Red, Gold, etc. It is an interconnection. By calling it a “line” it sounds like a 1.9 ‘tunnel to nowhere’, it is confusing people that don’t really know what it is. I was confused by the term when I first read about it.

    • The answer is likely to be ‘both’. The colors Gold and Blue probably will be assigned to the two remaining lines, but exactly which-to-which has not been announced.

  2. Steve:
    Will the 1st/Central Station in Little Tokyo.have a mezzanine? I understand that it is going to be the shallowest underground station of the three in the Regional Connector. Would the absence of a mezzanine be a bad thing?

    • Not sure, I do know that the EIR mentions it’s a shallow station that may not have a mezzanine. Obviously it’s close to where the line is going from surface level to underground. I don’t have any personal preference. I’ll ask around and see what answer is.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

      • What is the essential purpose of a mezzanine anyway?
        Will each of the three underground stations of the CRENSHAW line also have mezzanines?

  3. Hi Steve,
    I see something about lengthening a blue line platform. Is Metro thinking of eventually having longer trains than 3 car trains?

    • Hi John;

      I think the purpose of lengthening the platform was to increase capacity (widening isn’t a choice because of the width of the right-of-way) and get to more sunlight on the platform. There was also some talk about a south entrance to the platform, but that’s a concept requiring a lot more work (and funding) because it involves getting people across tracks. I’ll ask about train length, but my best educated guess is that trains are about as long as they can be at this time.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  4. Does this free up any Metro money for other projects/studies? Would love to see a study of grade-separating the Blue/Expo lines along Flower down to Washington, or studies of the proposed transit improvements LADOT suggests in its Westside Mobility Plan. Or just more First Mile/Last Mile and BRT implementation.

  5. CONGRATULATIONS METRO LOVE ALL THE UPDATES AND NEW FUNDING AS WELL BUT MY QUESTIONING IS WHEN WILL THE OTHER BLUELINE STATIONS SUCH AS 103RD/WATTS TOWER STATION FLORENCE STATION AND THE FIRESTONE STATION GET ANY UPDATES DONE WITH OR TOO THEM RATHER ITS DONE TO THE BLUELINE STATIONS AND BUS LINES THAT GO TO THESE STATIONS ALONG WITH OTHER BLUELINE STATIONS FROM LONG BEACH TO DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES AND WILL THERE EVER BE A BUS TO RUN FROM LONG BEACH TO DOWNTOWN LA ALONG ALAMEDA STREET AND WHEN CAN FIRESTONE AND FLORENCE STREETS AND 103RD STREETS GET DOUBLE BUSES OR THE NEW MTA BUS THAT JUST WERE RECENTLY ADDED AND GAVE TO MTA OR IF TO DEAL WITH THE SERIOUS OVER CROWDING ON THOSE BUS LINES AND OTHERS OR CAN SOME MORE BUSES BE ADDED TO THOSE ROUTES ALONG 103RD WATTS TOWER STATION,FLORENCE STATION AND FIRESTONE STATION AND OTHER STREETS WHO HAVE SERIOUS OVER CROWDING ON THEM AND IF THOSE LINES CANT GET THE DOUBLE BUSES CAN THOSE LINES GET MORE BUSES ADD TO THEM TO HELP WITH THE OVER CROWDING UNTIL THEY CAN GET THE DOUBLE BUSES ADDED TO THEM AND WHAT SAFETY CONCERNS CAN BE TAKEN ALONG GAGE STREET BETWEEN THE FLORENCE STATION AND SLAUSON STATIONS WHERE WITHIN THE LAST COUPLE OF YEARS TWO FOLKS ON BIKES WERE BOTH HIT BY THE BLUELINE TRAIN AND WILL THERE EVER BE A TRAIN GOING ALONG SLAUSON AND WILL THERE EVER BE A EXTENTION OF THE GREEN LINE AFTER NORWALK STATION OR A EXTENTION OF THE RED OR PURPLE LINES GOING SOUTH OF UNION STATION TO OTHER CITYS OR PARTS OF LOS ANGELES AND WHEN WILL THE BLUELINEAND GREEN LINES FINALLY GET SOME NEW TRAINS

    • The new rail cars have been ordered and are being manufactured — but still some time before you start seeing them on the Blue Line. Design work is also underway on station improvements along the Blue Line. As for crowding on the buses, please file a complaint with Customer Relations at http://webapps2.metro.net/customercomments/.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  6. With all this enthusiasm for bicycles, one would think that bicycle parking would be an emphasis, if not a major emphasis.

  7. The Regional Connector is not a “line”: it is a “corridor”. In other words, it is a section of track, tunnel, stations and required facilities. A “line” (in LA speak) is what is called a “service” in NYC: a specific train route. The Regional Connector corridor will support two lines when it opens: an east-west line and a north-south line.