Metro Board members seek master plan for Union Station

I know there was a lot of reader interest — understandably — in the recent news that Metro intends to purchase Union Station. Many readers were pleased with the news, saying the station needs more amenities as the number of rail users increases.

The deal is scheduled to close shortly and in the meantime three members of the Metro Board — Richard Katz, Supervisor Gloria Molina and L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa — have written a motion asking Metro to draw up a master plan for Union Station. The motion asks that Metro hold a design competition leading to conceptual plans for a “world class Union Station inter-modal station.”

The motion will be heard at the Board’s Executive Management & Audit Committee meeting on Thursday and then, presumably, at the full Board meeting on March 24.

The full motion is posted after the jump.

Click above to see a larger image.

20 replies

  1. I definitely agree with what Cameron said. Although a few “everywhere” places won’t be too bad so long as they don’t become the dominant type of amenity.

  2. Please, just don’t turn it into another mall. With all of these stores, that can easily be found in any and every shopping center/district, there will be no sense of identity. Just more of the same thing you get when you leave the station.

  3. Please, if you do buy the building, gut out the restrooms and build new ones. It’s unbelievable the filth and smell in there, and this is right next to Famima where I’m supposed to get food in the morning. Otherwise the building is an architectural and historical landmark, and should not be modified structurally.
    I’m almost glad you are buying it because the station gets huge traffic due to the gold and red line, and metrolink. If you’re a metrolink rider waiting for your metro connection after 10pm you get kicked out of the waiting hall like a bum by security; supposedly, you have to present an Amtrak ticket. What’s up with that? These imbeciles the current owner calls security don’t even know that a Metrolink monthly pass is valid on Amtrak trains between LAUS and Burbank Airport (rail to rail program) which I ride every day. You always have to fight with them to be able to sit in the waiting hall for some miserable 20 mins while it’s raining outside. At $150 for a pass/month, 20 mins in the waiting hall between connections is not that much to ask considering I end up buy food there which is good for business.

  4. Starbucks is going to open next week (March 25, the sign on the door said…)

    Since the beginning of this year, LAUS has added four stores/restaurants (Wetzels, Famima, and Subway….with Starbucks in the wings) I say things are pretty good.

    I’d like them to do something with the old Harvey restaurant in the courtyard. And I agree, clean up the bathrooms, both in the station, and at the Pat Plaza end.

    There also needs to be a proper lounge area for the long-distance sleeper passengers.

  5. @y fukuzawa

    There already is a Famima, subway and wetzles pretzels in union station and I think I saw see’s candy too.

  6. Bring Greyhound to Union Sta.

    A 7-Eleven or Famima! would be nice; lots of transit oriented cities have convenience stores within the train station compounds. It’ll also be a good testing ground to start using TAP’s cash-purse option for making purchases there too.

    Starbucks, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, etc. as well.

    Franchised food from the best restaurants in LA, similar to how Pinky’s opened up their shop at LAX. Ask around in Chinatown, Little Tokyo and Koreatown for any Asian restaurants to be built directly at Union Sta.; they are the experts in doing those in their country anyway, it’d be nice to see noodle shops and such at the train station.

    Frankly, LA Metro board members should just visit Tokyo Sta. or Shinjuku Sta. in Japan and see how train stations in Japan are operated like.

  7. I think the building is fine but I do think there needs to be better pedestrian access and many more amenities. Also the metro customer center needs to be open on weekends and for longer hours because it can often be confusing for people on where things are and how they connect especially regarding the buses. Oh and the gold line transfer really needs to be streamlined somehow, because its really quite cumbersome at the moment with all the long walks and sets of stairs and elevators, and the trains don’t seem to be coordinated with each other.

  8. I say start with the simple things like clean the bathrooms. I hop off the gold line to take a leak and the stalls look like the bathroom in “trainspotting”. Might as well use the fountain outside!

  9. I like Alex’s notion of opening up the front of Union Station to pedestrian traffic. By connecting it better with the Olvera St. plaza, a wonderfully fluid public meeting space would be created.

  10. I agree with Elkie. It’s an embarrassment for us Angelenos to have Traxx Bar and Restaurant as the only mid-scale lounge in and near the vicinity of LAUS. This establishment certainly does not help set LAUS apart as a “world class” transportation hub! The only reason it is open for business now is that it is the ONLY sit-down restaurant and the ONLY bar in Union Station. I will summarize several of the previous suggestions in one line: Preserve the stucture/architecture, improve the lighting and add additional restaurants and lounges.

  11. There is a lot that they can do to clean it up, and modernize it, but still maintain all the historic charm. They should also develop a short term and long term vision. Short term they need a lot more next train signage throughout the building. There is not reason why you shouldn’t be able to see an arrivals/ departure board from the waiting area, and from within Traxx bar. Also under consolidated management get rid of the study “boarding gates” that amtrak uses, they just waste space. The other priority enhancement would be more ticketing machines, and improve the platform speaker system. You can’t even make out what people are saying.

    But I do agree that the station will have to develop a long term master plan in order to integrate HSR and all the other services coming in and out of there. And they should definately redevelop the parking lot in front into additional bus drop offs so that the station has transit feeding into both ends of the concourse.

  12. They should change the management of Traxx Bar and Restaurant. The “owner” is a joke and has made that place not very nice…

  13. Union Station is part of Los Angeles’ history and cultural heritage.

    It is a beautiful place and I can’t imagine why anybody would want to gut it.

  14. I’m with Steve, and the first 2 comments.

    Union Station is so rad, gutting it would be an epic fail. I can see MAYBE adding lighting…but I really like it now.

  15. Gut the interior, and modernize it! Add more lighting, and flooring that does not look like vomit! Get rid of all the brown trim, and brighten the inside of it! Union station has the ambiance of a funeral parlor! Having more food and beverage vendors would help also.

    • Hi John;

      I disagree with you on all counts. I think it’s an attractive building but — like many others — believes it needs more amenities for the thousands of people who use the station each day. Also, Metro isn’t just purchasing the station. The agency is also getting the land immediately around the building and a master plan could help guide what (and what not to do) with that land.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  16. I am curious what “integration of all transit services serving Union Station and surrounding areas” means?

    Better foot traffic flow within LAUS?

    Better info displays to inform passengers when next train arrivals are?

    How about getting Greyhound to ditch 7th/Alameda and building a permanent terminal on LAUS grounds?

  17. For everyones sake, don’t do anything bad to the building itself. It is amazingly beautiful, and is would be a shame for it to be changed at all. If anything, it should be cleaned. I would say, if anything, make the Gold Line underground, and make the front parking underground. With the front parking underground, turn the old parking lot into a park with cafes to service the community.

  18. while i agree that union station does need some rennovation, the history of the center should not be destroyed… it is a beautiful center, and any plans to renovate should include the keeping of the history of that center. i could not imagine walking through to the gold line or the metrolink without the history there… please do keep that in mind when renovating union station!