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.