Pedestrian tunnel between Red Line and Orange Line in NoHo is now open

Photos by Steve Hymon/Metro.

Photos by Steve Hymon/Metro.









The new pedestrian tunnel connecting the Orange Line and Red Line stations in North Hollywood opened on Monday morning. The project should eliminate for many riders the mad dash across busy Lankershim Boulevard to catch a bus or train (see the bottom pic taken this morning about 11 a.m.).

Above are a few pics of the project in the minutes before elected officials cut a pair of ribbons. As of noon, the project was officially open to the public and everyone can use the tunnel for the Monday p.m. commute.

From Metro’s news release, a few factoids:

•The design-build project cost $22 million and took approximately two years to construct. The U.S. Department of Transportation contributed a $10 million livability and sustainability grant for the project.

•The project is Metro’s latest effort to build safer pedestrian connections on its system.  The tunnel is expected to save riders four to five minutes when walking from an Orange Line bus to the Red Line platform — a substantial savings that will help Metro patrons make their bus and rail connections.

•This fall, Groundwork Coffee is expected to move into the newly refurbished and historic Lankershim Depot next to the new Orange Line tunnel portal. Metro is also planning to build a Metro Bike Hub in 2018 that will provide secure bicycle parking, retail and repair services on the depot’s grounds. Now that the real estate market has rebounded, Metro is moving forward with plans to develop nearly 16 acres of Metro-owned property adjacent to the station.

Here’s a video with some remarks by elected officials who cut the ribbon on the project Monday morning:

42 replies

  1. So happy this is finally done! Why it took 10 years from the time the Orange Line opened is beyond me.

    • There was never any excuse for not installing this entrance from the get-go. They claimed it was “impossible”; I’m sure it would have been much cheaper to install it during construction than to retrofit.

      • There was no Orange Line at the get-go of the Red Line Station here, so it wouldn’t have made much sense.

        • I don’t quite understand your comment. If the Red Line station was already there, then if should have been relatively simple to modify the surrounding area to accommodate Orange Line platforms. If local buses can be accommodated with loading berths east of the station, why not the much more heavily traveled Orange BRT Line?

          Isn’t the Orange Line and customer convenience more important than a few parking slots between the station and Chandler Blvd.? Using an image on Google Earth it is obvious that this could and should have been done.

          • Because the Orange Line is simply a modified above ground bus stop. When it was built it was meant to provide cheaper mass transit than building a subway system across the valley so it used existing rights of way. All platforms are above ground. Now that the system has proven itself it makes sense to have this tunnel.

  2. Very cool…looking forward to NOT seeing that mad-dash across Lankershim…saw a few people almost get hit in the past!

  3. This is awesome. I wish more exit portals at stations existed. One thing I recently arrived at, and never thought about is the fact that our stations have so many “emergency exits” when in reality, they should just be “exits”. More access means more people riding with ease.

  4. Why wasn’t the tunnel opened this morning for the morning commute? Why wasn’t it opened this weekend if the construction was already finished? It should have been opened to the public the moment that the construction and security enhancements were completed. I am registered to vote in Los Angeles, and I would like you to ask Mayor Garcetti and his 3 appointees on Metro’s board of directors this question.

      • So true – I remember when the Arlington exit from the I-10 remained closed for an extra two days so the council person could cut a ribbon.

  5. Why a tunnel instead of extending the Orange bus further east with a stop opposite the Red line entrance?
    Also when the Orange bus is upgrade to an LRT line it will continue east.

  6. Orange Line won’t be upgraded to train and shouldn’t be. There are ways to speed it up without converting it to light rail. I do agree that it should be extended, at least to Burbank, if not all the way to Pasadena. Capcity can also be increased, merely by platooning buses. Stations were built for two buses running at once, which doubles capacity.

  7. Why is this called a tunnel? The station mezzanine was always under Lankersham and this is just a new entrance/exit to the west side of that street.

    • Also agreed. Metro must actively ensure that the developments it creates do not displace the transit-dependent communities the agency serves. Gentrification will develop rampantly unless the agency aggressively pursues what you are describing.

  8. I use a wheelchair, and shortly after the official grand Opening I tried to use the new elevators and the door closed on both but they would not move !
    So I had to risk crossing Lankershim the old fashioned way.

    Glenn Comer

    • Hi Jeff;

      To reduce the cost of the project. Another set of escalators may be added at a later date.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  9. I went by there on my bicycle heading east on Chandler Blvd at 8 PM and decided to check it out. I noticed that there was no escalator that goes down, only up, so I used one of the two elevators. I didn’t notice anyone else using this portal. When I got back to street level I saw about eight people that were crossing Lankershim Blvd at scattered points without using a crosswalk to get to the Orange Line station from the subway side. What seems abundantly clear to whoever designed the signage of how to get to the Orange Line from the subway does not yet seem understood by a good deal of customers. These people were crossing Lankershim Blvd where they saw the most direct route to get from the subway exit to the Orange Line at street level, which is where there is no longer any crosswalk. The construction fencing which was on the Orange Line side prevented them from doing this previously, but now that the fencing is gone they went back to crossing at street level at the most direct route to get to the Orange Line station, which is where there is no longer a crosswalk.

    • I also saw a few folks using the crosswalks shortly after the new subway entrance opened yesterday. I think it will take some time for everyone to realize they can get to the subway more quickly by using the new entrance. I do think it’s a real time saver.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  10. I love the new entrance, but I have an issue with the configuration of the fare gates… Maybe a month ago, the fare gates on the East Portal of the station were repositioned and right now, the fare gates on both portals are positioned so the entrance is only usable for patrons transferring between the Red and Orange lines. It would be really helpful if the gates were repositioned (to their original configuration) so patrons transferring between the Orange line to one of the many bus lines that stop at the station’s bus bays could utilize the station as a pedestrian underpass.

    Because the fare gates were recently repositioned so that pedestrians can’t take advantage of the tunnel, I have to assume someone at Metro made a decision that placed a priority on Red/Orange transfers over Orange/Bus transfers or non-Metro pedestrian usage of the tunnel, so I would be curious to know when that decision was made and the reasoning behind it.

    • I really never understood why they repositioned the fare gates. They had actually originally been where they are now, and were moved to the location between the elevators and the stairs when they became turnstiles. If they’ve removed the crosswalks across Lankershim, they really have removed transfers between Orange Line and buses from the picture. This makes no sense, as I know many people do just that.

      • Agreed. The station is an important Orange Line – bus transfer point. People make connections here outside of the popular orange to red transfer. Connectivity should reflect that.

        For orange line to metro transfers, the two hour transfer policy makes it less of a hassle to tap in to the gates on the new entrance, just to tap out of the gates on the existing entrance (or vice versa). But this is an imperfect solution and completely relies on the two hour transfer policy.

        I personally think the crosswalk should have at least stayed.

      • As shown by the last picture in the set, the crosswalk across Lankershim from the Orange Line exit platform/north side of EB Chandler lanes to the east side has not been removed. I think that putting the faregates in the location where you propose creates a huge throat and congestion. Having a separate set of gates for Orange Line transfers and for Red Line-bus/park ride customers works better operationally.

      • I called the metro customer service and I talked to 2 people about transfer from Orange line to a bus rider in the metro bus plaza. I was confused after the call but realize that if you get off the Orange line you can use the tunnel and since it is free to transfer from Orange line to the Red line use your tap card and walk though the tunnel and you will not be charged. Also getting off the bus you pay in the tunnel and when you get to the Orange line it will not change you because you are transferring to from the Red line to the Orange Line. This allows all bus riders to use the tunnel but discourages non bus riders from using the tunnel

  11. I am so happy to hear this. Such a helpful project. But why not just turn the Orange Line into a light rail and have it feed into the Red Line path. That way, North Hollywood would just be a stop instead of a transfer. I love the Orange Line, but frankly it’s too slow. Going all the way to Chatsworth takes an hour. Not even in the worst traffic would driving take that long. And the transfer from the Orange Line to the Red Line if not timed right can add 20 minutes. It may sound nitpicky, but as anyone who has taken public transportation knows, transfers are the single most time adding factor to an otherwise on-time commute.


  13. This tunnel never should have been required had Metro done the right thing in the first place.

    Specifically, the Orange Line should have initially been extended straight across Lankershim Blvd., with platforms immediately adjacent to the Red Line terminal. They could have provided two parallel platforms to allow for layover time for the buses and operators. The buses wold then turn right and leave via Chandler Blvd and back to the right-of-way at Tuhunga Avenue. There could still be additional layover and storage slots west of Lankershim Blvd.

    Now with the possible extension of the Orange Line along Chandler to the Burbank Airport and the adjacent Metrolink station, the tunnel may then be superfluous.

  14. Hello Steve. Is there any plans to remove the orange line from the signage at the old entrance? As of yesterday, the signage above the faregates at the old enterance still indicated to use that to access the orange line.