Project team evaluates single station entrances, knock-out panels for Regional Connector project

As planning and preliminary engineering continues to unfold for the Regional Connector project, Metro is evaluating different options for the three new stations — including building two of the stations with one entrance instead of two. The Little Tokyo Station is still configured to include two entrances to accommodate a high volume of riders and transfers.  The different options, naturally, have created a buzz in the downtown community.

The project team is studying these options to help mitigate impacts from the project and keep the project within the $1.366-million project approved by the Metro Board of Directors. This type of value engineering typically occurs in the preliminary engineering phase of a construction project to bring costs in line.

The Regional Connector is set to receive $160 million from the Measure R sales tax increase approved by voters in 2008, with much of the remaining funds to be requested from the federal government. The project was still in its very early planning stages when Measure R was approved by voters in 2008 and the cost of the Connector subsequently increased when Metro, responding to community concerns, decided to make it a fully underground line.

Staff is also integrating knock-out panels into stations designs. The panels would provide additional access points for future joint development opportunities at the stations.

The Regional Connector project team says the revised station entrance configuration will still accommodate the ridership demand generated by the Regional Connector. The Connector is expected to have 90,000 users in 2035, according to the latest numbers. It will connect the Gold Line to the Blue Line and Expo Line, allowing riders to travel through downtown L.A. without having to transfer to another line.

A breakdown of the preliminary site plan for the three stations is as follows:

  • 2nd/Hope Station (Bunker Hill). The station entrance will be on 2nd and Hope Street. Engineers are planning to have a knockout panel on the southern portion of the station that is close to 3rd and Flower streets.
  • 2nd/Broadway Station (Historic Core).  This station will have a station entrance at the intersection of 2nd and Broadway. The site consists of only a parking lot adjacent to the Los Angeles Times building and is possibly available for a new development. An entirely new secondary station entrance could easily be incorporated into any future building designs on the Spring Street side of the station. The block between Broadway and Spring streets is about 400 feet long — a very short walk.
  • 1st/Central Station (Little Tokyo/Arts District).  The new Little Tokyo station will have two entrances: a primary north entrance at 1st and Central and a second, south entrance close to 2nd Street. Additionally, a knock-out panel built at the northeast corner of 1st and Alameda would provide pedestrian access to the city of Los Angeles-owned Mangrove site, another potential joint development site.

It is important to note that all these plans are still preliminary and all decisions are ultimately up to the Metro Board of Directors.

Metro staff will continue meeting with the community to get their input. Ultimately, it will be up to the Board if they wish to modify the current configuration for stations proposed by staff while still staying within budget.

The Regional Connector’s final environmental document is scheduled to be released this fall and considered by the Board at its final meeting of the year in December.

13 replies

  1. “Metro needs to do a better job at projecting costs of these projects so by the time they are constructed they actually serve the community who worked hard to give feedback.”

    However, doing that costs more money and more time that will actually reduce the very effectiveness of what you’re asking for. To get a finite definition of cost of a project this size will require more detailed engineering work which adds more time to the EIR process which in turn makes projects less competive for Federal Funding grants. There’s a careful balance of time, efficency and cost that needs to be met to make this work out.

    With that aside, I think the only mistake is not having the additional entrance portal at 3rd/Flower. That will go a long ways into improving the connections to the Upper Financial District area and building better working relations with that base to build a champion for the project. This is where CRA funds should have been used to build the station portals instead of a parking structure for the Broad Museum, but I digress.

    However with some of the other designs such as the portals for the Histroic Core station, that should just be a combined portal that’s located between Broadway and Spring solves the problem and saves the agency money as it would promote more walkability around the area.

  2. Are the current station portal proposals posted anywhere for us to download? It would be nice to see and possibly compare the plans.

  3. I’m curious where the Little Tokyo stations entrance on 2nd street will be. Above it says “south entrance close to 2nd Street”. But the FEIR drawings show that entrance on the plaza, well North of 2nd street.


  4. An underground pass needs to be made to let subway riders access the Orange Line superbus directly from the final Lankershim Red Line subway station.

  5. Metro Rail has NEVER had enough subway portals.

    Subway entrances are the only highly visible parts of the Red Line. Extra portals make a subway appear more convenient. They are absolutely vital.

    On the one hand, I am glad to hear that Little Tokyo will still have two portals. Clearly, the First/Central portal will be the most important. The First/Alameda portal should be a requirement of any development at the Mangrove property.

    However, it is unfortunate that the Bunker Hill station will only have one entrance. That station deserves two entrances as much as Little Tokyo does. If Metro lacks the funds, surely somebody with big, Broad pockets might be able to help.

    If Metro says that they will design the stations with knock-out panels, I hope that those panels will get knocked-out for new entrances soon.

  6. I’m glad there will at least be knockout panels for a 3rd street entrance as that will serve that vicinity just as well as a 5th street station would and quite frankly, having a 5th street station would have been overkill anyway. I don’t think walking two short blocks to 5th is really a big deal. Plus, having three subway stations over a six block span just doesn’t make sense.

    Also, I agree with Mark Johnston about the knockout panels for expandability of rail lines, especially with the West Santa Ana Corridor. Ideally that line should run up from orange county and continue to Echo Park and/or Silver lake and then to Glendale. This would serve as an excellent revival of the Glendale PE row as an all-in-one project with the West Santa Ana Branch. It could also have a stop at Dodger Stadium and connect to a future 134 line. Food for thought.

  7. I’d be curious to know more about what is necessary to knock out these knock-out panels further down the line. If I remember correctly, there’s an entire second mezzanine level sitting untouched in the Hollywood/Highland Red Line station, just waiting for some benevolent developer to come by and decide it’s worth making transit more convenient for the community. How long has that option been left untouched? The area around there is certainly bustling; what’s the trigger that will open up that second entrance?

  8. George they are taking away exits for a future promis of maybe an exit when they find money. Pretty short sighted especially for the bunker hill station where the 3rd/flower exit was a bandaid for not having a station at 5th and flower.

    It would be nice to see numbers on this as far as how much they are saving with this measure.

    Metro needs to do a better job at projecting costs of these projects so by the time they are constructed they actually serve the community who worked hard to give feedback.

  9. I am heartened to read of this. Leaving opportunity for future expansion of the rail infrastructure shows vision. Los Angeles is the city of potential and possibility . Building for the denser, smarter urban core yet-to-come is the right thing to do. I wish the same though had been put into planning the Vermont/Sunset Red Line station, or the interfacing of the Orange Line and the Red Line. And I wonder how or if the Harbor Freeway Transitway will traverse downtown L.A. someday…

  10. They also need to consider “knock out panels” for connections to future rail lines.. such as down Alameda or Central towards the blue line and the line down to Orange County. Or how about something heading up to Echo Park or Silver Lake? The conversation needs to be about the future in the area, now just the near term

  11. When they say the Little Tokyo station is being built to accommodate a high number of transfers, what does this mean?

    All of the stations between Pico and Little Tokyo will be shared for these lines, so technically they can all be used for Expo/Blue/Gold (or whatever they change them to) transfers.

    Will the Little Tokyo station be designed as a major transfer point for busses or other transit options?