The decision was made today by the Metro Board of Directors, meaning that the Gold Line’s Little Tokyo/Arts District Station will remain open until January 8, 2016.
Here is the news release from Metro:
METRO BOARD POSTPONES REGIONAL CONNECTOR CONSTRUCTION NEAR LITTLE TOKYO TO MINIMIZE IMPACTS DURING THE HOLIDAYS
To reduce negative impacts of planned construction of the Regional Connector Transit Project during the holiday shopping period, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) Board of Directors today agreed to delay until early January 2016 the closure of the Little Tokyo/Arts District Station and streets in Little Tokyo that were scheduled to begin on December 4, 2015 at 9:00 p.m. To formalize the agreement, the Little Tokyo Business Association agrees not to file a court challenge to the January closures. The association had intended to challenge the earlier work schedule due to impacts during the holidays.
Construction to excavate the intersection of 1st Street and Alameda Avenue to prepare for the arrival of a tunnel boring machine to build the underground Regional Connector will commence in early January and is expected to take three months. The Little Tokyo/Arts District Gold Line Station will be closed during construction and there will be multiple street closures and detours. During that time, Metro will provide bus service linking Union Station and the Pico/Aliso Gold Line Station through the Little Tokyo area.
To help local businesses during the construction period, Metro will provide a free Little Tokyo/Arts District Shuttle with four stops that will move people on a set route seven days per week from 10:00 a.m. – midnight. The Little Tokyo/Arts District shuttle will operate through completion of shoofly construction.
In addition, Metro will sponsor a parking validation program encouraging drivers to come into Little Tokyo to explore the destination. The program provides two hours of free parking at three locations along the shuttle route.
Metro has also created a Business Interruption Fund (BIF) to help business owners who have been impacted by construction activity. Additional BIF counselors are being assigned to help owners with applications and payments will be expedited.
Metro also supplies marketing support through the Little Tokyo Community Council and the campaign Go Little Tokyo (golittletokyo.com) encouraging the public to explore Little Tokyo as a destination. Eat, Shop, Play Little Tokyo continues to be a critical component of the focus on small businesses in the vital district. Also, Metro has partnered with the Little Tokyo Service Center engaging the services of the Asian Pacific Islander Small Business Program to provide business assistance out of the Metro Little Tokyo Community Office.
Metro’s contractor, RCC, has committed to extend work shifts from 6 a.m. – 11:00 p.m. to finish the job as quickly as possible, conduct quiet work from 11:00 p.m. – 6:00 a.m., position 21 variable message signs to route visitors into and through Little Tokyo, and station trained flaggers to assist motorists visiting Little Tokyo.
The earlier decision to begin construction at 1st Street and Alameda Avenue on December 4 was designed to complete all work in the Little Tokyo area in time for the scheduled March 5, 2016 opening of the Metro Gold Line Foothill extension, giving the region a fully functional light rail system from Azusa to East Los Angeles. Also, Metro looked to take advantage of construction efficiencies to prevent future cost increases due to the unanticipated replacement of an old 36” water line pipe at 1st and Alameda.
The Regional Connector Transit Project completes a 1.9-mile segment between the Metro Blue and Expo Lines and the Metro Gold Line by providing a direct connection with three new stations planned for 1st Street/Central Avenue, 2nd Street/Broadway and 2nd Place/Hope Street in downtown Los Angeles. The rail line, expected to be completed in 2020, will attract nearly 17,000 new daily riders and provide access to more than 88,000 passengers saving commuters up to 20 minutes off their daily commutes. It will provide a one-seat, one fare ride for commuters from Azusa to Long Beach and from East Los Angeles to Santa Monica without the need to transfer between rail lines for major east/west and north/south trips.
Thru traffic will be maintained on Alameda Street between Temple Street and 2nd Street with one lane open in each direction. Westbound 1st Street will be closed between Alameda Street and Vignes Street 24-hours a day from during the construction period. One thru lane on eastbound 1st Street will be maintained between Alameda Street and Vignes Street. Full closure of 1st Street between Central Avenue and Alameda Street will also take place intermittently.
Westbound 1st Street traffic will be detoured right on Vignes Street, left on Temple Street, left on Judge Aiso Street, back to 1st Street.
Eastbound 1st Street traffic will be detoured right on Central Avenue, left on 2nd Street, left on Alameda Street back to 1st Street.