In my weekly column yesterday I wrote about the benefits and challenges of the proposed Westwood/VA station for the Westside Subway Extension. Above and below are a couple of preliminary station entrance renderings that I thought readers would like to see.
In the above drawing, that’s Wilshire Boulevard cutting diagonally across the left side of the screen and Bonsall Avenue passes undernearth Wilshire. The stop for Wilshire buses is on the bridge above Bonsall. In the drawing below, Wilshire Boulevard can be glimpsed on the far left and the parking lot for the VA Hospital is on the right.
Why is Metro hell-bent on this VA station? Metro has done a good job of letting science and analysis drive planning at other planned stations, even at the contentious Century City site, so why is it getting political here and offering up this impotent non-solution for residents west of the 405? Yes, locals asked for a closer station than Westwood, but the VA station’s physical location doesn’t overcome it’s inferior practicality. It’s not walkable. It’s not park-able. It’s not TOD-able. It’s not even 405-transit-line-connectable. The VA administration would never approve the ROW to connect to it! Metro, do the taxpayers a favor and stop at Westwood. Save the $200 million for a future Federal or Barrington station with VA shuttle service. If not, here’s our future – thousands of potential transit riders driving east on Wilshire, passing a canopy on the shoulder of an overpass, wondering whose brilliant idea that was.
I agree with the previous comments on the poor choice of location for this entrance. Even though it is a VA stop, it appears that the people who this stop is meant to serve will still have a considerable distance to walk.
From my experience on the 720 westbound in the morning, I can imagine one reason how there would be that many people at the VA stop: All the people needing to transfer to the 720 for one more stop westbound to Barrington.
Are there no efforts to gather enough funds for the extra 500ft westwards?
As you know the population density just west of the VA is very high. Could you please go into why the station is not being placed closer to Federal so that the large number of people in this community can more easily access the Purple Line?
At this time there is only enough funding to get the station to Westwood and the VA Hospital.
Editor, The Source
This is very poor planning. This is like placing a grocery store in the middle of the desert. That site is a wasteland. It is very unattractive and no very appealing to anyone to walk to. There is NOTHING AROUND THAT SITE. The nearest destination to that site is a cemetery and the VA. Why don’t they build it somewhere close to Westwood Village?
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[…] commenter on The Source blog wrote last week that “Metro just applied for nearly $18 million in federal funding (out of a […]
This just seems so poorly sited. Is this really the best location for ridership in that area?
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I echo many of the same complaints others have made about this station, but I do think it would be somewhat redeemable if it were a park and ride station if there is room. If demand warrants, you would charge a few bucks for parking.
I would add that to make this station work, it ought to be re-named the “Brentwood” station and have a modern streetcar serving the station heading into the heart of the Brentwood village. Said streetcar could extended for direct service to the VA Hospital, saving our wounded veterans the long walk.
Clearly the ONLY things that would make this station necessary would be the added value of lot of parking for the many Westsiders who would either refuse to connect using bus or have it NOT be practical nor efficient to connect by bus. The other thing that would give this station value is if it were the connection to a rail line along or in the median of the 405. However, neither seems to be in sight, so now it is a station without a “nation.” Our only hope for such a wasteful expenditure for this station is if in 25 years, that 405 rail line finally breaks ground and our kids can say how “wise” we were to build it for NO USEFUL purpose, but it sure worked out well form them a quarter century later.
That’s great news! Thanks for taking the time to update me (us). That upgrade to the transfer point will definitely be an upgrade worthy of the $$$! I hope they receive the grant.
The VA has generally frowned on non-veterans activities on their grounds. So any TOD would not work. That onramp separating the station from the hospital grounds just looks hazardous, and the lack of any bus turnaround area means that all those buses driving down Wilshire continue into Westwood mostly empty, continuing to clog traffic in the process. If the station was at Federal or Barrington, you could have a place for buses to turnaround from Brentwood and Sawtelle, and they do not clog Wilshire through the VA grounds. Also the sidewalk on Wilshire next to the VA is going to be very congested with all of those people making that half mile walk to civilization. This really needs to go back to the drawing board, and in the meantime the VA can still be used for temporary staging.
If this is the prime location Metro needs to work with the VA to build a VA annex structure/subway entrance at this island instead of a park like hole in the ground to the subway.
Dedicated skywalks to the main VA building and the opposite side of Wilshire are needed too instead of street level pedestrian crossings. This area has a lot of car traffic and the streets are very wide here to get to the other side; having street level crosswalks will only add to traffic jams as they wait for pedestrians to cross.
When I read about this location I couldn’t remember it being at all pedestrian friendly, so I looked at it on Google maps and I thought perhaps Metro was planning to open the portal up into one of the park areas to the east of here (by removing the fences and adding foot paths). If that’s not possible for legal reasons, how about building a new public park on the surface lot directly south of this location?
At the very least, Metro could do a better job of reconfiguring the roadway to better serve pedestrians at this location (instead of the highway layout that is there now). What an awful place for the elderly or the handicapped with that dank underpass, skinny sidewalks and dangerous off-ramp style street crossings (both look unsignalized and the one in the background doesn’t even have a marked crosswalk!)
This resembles a commuter bus stop in Valencia. Just another off limits, buffer-landscaped area to zip through at 45mph like so much of this backwards city. If Metro is bound to this sprawling location, than the station absolutely needs to be pedestrian oriented with some places for people to sit in the grass, park benches, water fountains, extra wide sidewalks and inviting foot paths to connect all the various points that one has to walk to from such an inconvenient stop.
David, Metro just applied for nearly $18 million in federal funding (out of a $22 million project budget) to construct an underground pedestrian connector between the Metro Orange Line boarding platform and the Metro NoHo subway station that will allow passengers to avoid the busy crossing on Lankershim Boulevard. If successful in getting the grant, the Connector would open in June 2014.
No one is going to use that station as-is. It needs either a massive parking garage to attract drivers from places further west and/or a better bus connection (neither of which are likely due to the area’s constraints). That underpass will make transfers miserable, and sticking the terminal station in the middle of the VA rules out any direct north/south bus connections. It’s in the middle of a no-man’s land so I wouldn’t expect many walkers or bikers no matter how much you try and woo them.
If the point of building this station was to get the Purple Line west of the 405, it’s not really accomplishing that goal. It’s barely 500 feet west from the 405 on-ramps – that’s completely caught up in the very mess this station is supposed to help people avoid. These renderings make it easier to understand why this station location has been so disliked since day 1.
They are setting up the same situation at the VA that exists at the horrible transfer from the Orange Line to the Red Line in North Hollywood. Get off the bus. Walk to the Intersection. Wait for a light. Cross a very busy street. Walk some more to the entrance to the station. I still don’t understand why they haven’t upgraded the transfer to the Red Line given the success of the Orange Line. The knockout boxes are in place for an entrance that would take the customers under Lankershim and directly into the station. I would like to think Metro would learn from that mistake and not repeat it at the VA.
[…] Metro Releases Renderings of Westwood/VA Westside Subway Stop (The Source) […]
This station is just awful. I know there are going to be some vets who will be able to use it. I’m glad for them, but there’s *nothing* else there. It’s even a long walk for the vets to get to the hospital. All those people in the render aren’t really going to be standing on that sidewalk next to the speeding cars and exhaust. It’s going to be miserable, and won’t convince people from points west to walk to the subway. It might in fact have high ridership in the end, but only because of a forced transfer from buses feeding into it. It would be much better at least at Federal.
Not only that, but the VA station violates the station spacing rule for the subway by being just over half a mile from the Westwood station. This was why they dropped the Crenshaw station, yet ridership for this station once the subway continues to Santa Monica is going to be minimal. It doesn’t alleviate traffic at all – not only is there no parking, but no kiss and ride area, so cars will have to either clog up the Bonsall offramp and drop people off on the ramp, or go all the way to Sepulveda to turn around. And what about the people picking up passengers? They are probably going to use the VA parking lot as their waiting lot, causing more traffic and security issues there. Save the $200 million for the extra half mile of subway and the station and just build the tail tracks underneath the 405 freeway instead.
I agree with the sentiment here. I had anticipated that this would be an issue with this station. It was inevitable given the layout of the immediate area and the choice to make it hospital centric rather than area centric. But this is worse than I expected for the reasons already stated in many other comments. Getting to this station in any way other than connecting buses will be a hassle, so the bus only lanes had better be well enforced. Also, the bus lanes should be all hours, not just rush hour, its not like that’s the only time when there is heavy traffic on Wilshire. But I digress. I think metro should try to come up with an innovative way to make the station more walkable from points just west. Moving walkways maybe?… Heh, somehow I don’t think that will happen but I thought I’d throw the idea out there anyway.
As a veteren, i think the placement is perfect, lets just build it and get this project going. remember 100% of the people commentating ar bot engineers so leave it to them. the 720 stops int he same place already its only a 4 min walk to my hospital.
As much as I hate that the line stops near the Hospital and not at Bundy, I don’t see what else Metro could do. Given measure R, Wilshire and Federal is as far west they could go. (If that far, while it would still be on VA property, you could hardly call that Westwood). But as has been pointed out above, thats a long ways from the Hospital, thus that won’t really count as a Westwood VA stop. Of course its true that more people would use that stop than the one planned, but its a Federal Veterans Hospital! Aside from our moral obligations regarding veterans now after a decade of war, think of the politics of it. We’re asking the Federal government to help pay for this, and asking them to lend us a bunch more money on top of that. How could we put the “VA” stop 0.4 miles west of the VA Hospital? Plus, the chosen site is more convenient for walking to the Hospital than either of the current bus stops. If they put it right next to the Hospital then bus access would be terrible (west bound buses would have to go under Wilshire).
Maybe if Measure R included less money for Highways or for the Foot Hill Gold Line, or Crenshaw, or the Connector, or maybe the Expo line should stop at Bundy, then maybe we’d have the perfect Wilshire line. But then maybe measure R wouldn’t of passed and Wilshire and Western would continue to be the end of the line for decades to come.
This looks awful, there’s nothing around here except the hospital. And putting it next to a freeway onramp? Who will walk to this? It makes no sense. These stops should be in the middle of dense pedestrian areas.
I am confused. I thought the whole point of the VA station was as a park and ride at the end of the line. Think of how many people would take the 405, get off on Wilshire West, and park in a gargantuan parking structure right next to the 405 freeway. I thought they were going to build a 10 story parking structure right in the SW cloverleaf that was linked directly to the 405/Wilshire West on/off ramps.
They have a huge parking structure at Expo/La Cienega for crying out loud. Or do they expect people to take buses to get to the VA stop? If their plan is for commuters to drive to Lot 36 at UCLA, then they are completely missing the point here – why have people drive east into Westwood and create more traffic, when they can just get off the 405 and park immediately?
I understand there are questions that this is close to federal land that the VA hospital, i’ve been to this location and having the station be isolated in the middle of that intersection is a terrible way to have the final station. It really should be located near more density at Federal if it can’t be closer the that actual VA hospital. I feel this was the compromised location that has terrible access. I mean look at the crosswalk for the on ramp! What a way to discourage people to walking to the station. I feel the function of this station was sacrificed and was covered up by its nice design. Please tell me we can have it slightly relocated if not have another Portal in a better more accessible location?
It’s hard for me to think of another Metro Rail station that is located and interfaced with ped/bike/bus access worse than this one. It seems just as bad as a Green Line station, only difference is that the train runs underneath a [quasi]freeway, instead of in its median.
Metro is doing some outstanding planning work, and I share everyone’s excitement about the subway. But I have to agree that it’s very hard to understand the rationale for this station. (1) the current ridership is not there, (2) it’s not that convenient to the hospital, (3) there isn’t much prospect for anything besides the hospital being there in the future, (4) people west of the 405 can’t drive there and park to access the subway. Unless putting a station here somehow lays a better foundation for a future extension of the subway or for better connections to other future transit lines, this is not a productive use of scarce transit dollars.
While I congratulate the Westside Extension team on a job well done on the overall plan, this station is an epic failure. For someone going west to Santa Monica, Brentwood or West LA, it will be better for them to just get off at Westwood. Why stay on the train to the VA when the train won’t go above 25 mph here to the VA and then when you get to the VA, you have to walk on a path to Bonsall and then continue under the tunnel under Wilshire and then climb the stairs and ramp to access a bus going West on Wilshire? No thanks. I just walk up the stairs at Westwood and get on my bus and even waiting for a lights at Veteran and Sepulveda will be faster than going through the VA.
Wilshire at Federal would be way better in order serve both VA passengers and West L.A. employees/residents. Why wasn’t that chosen? Or if you didn’t want to compromise with the VA, you could actually build at Barrington and get the most riders. This mid-VA station is too isolated.
If you’re going to isolate the pedestrians using the station in the middle of a cloverleaf, why build the station at all? It seems like with a little more creativity, the station could pop out of the ground closer to the hospital, or on the other side of the on ramp.
Seems like a long way for our nations veterans in wheelchairs and otherwise to be traveling to get to the subway entrance.
An island surrounded by cars. I think that about says it all.
Yay, let’s make disabled vets walk more to the VA Hospital if they want to use public transit. No thanks, I’ll just drive there.
Where’s the bike access? Bicycle signage? Bike racks?
Why not put the buses in the center with a BRT like platform and have the subway entrance connect to it directly? That avoids long walks under the roadway to the Westbound side.
Metro wants the bus/rail transfer to happen here but as this is designed, it will happen at Westwood.
What bothers me about this isn’t the design, it’s the lack of vision. What’s presented here is the most inexpensive and cost-efficient option for a station with low anticipated ridership and no outspoken champions.
Sure, the rendered station opens to Wilshire, is not all that pedestrian friendly, and doesn’t provide any space for expansion, development, adpatation, basically anything except a pathway; but these aren’t my main concern. What is my main concern is that we are alright with locating this station here, then turn around to look at Century City and say “this station MUST open up in the middle of these buildings” DESPITE the extra costs, litigation, and hassle.
Also, if anyone’s familiar with the area it’s clear that this rendering distorts proportions; no way pathways that large can lead to a station that size in the actual given space (even IF the parking lot is shrunk and Wilshire accessway is re-reouted). All I see is tiny people in an idealist’s rendering.
This Wilshire/VA station situation is getting worse with each piece of news.
Wilshire/Westwood isn’t the best option either. It’s an awful intersection for pedestrians. It would be better to stop a few blocks down at Veteran, which is one block away from the current Flyaway station, and in front of the Federal Building.
This rendering puts the end of the Bonsall ramp to Wilshire right at the 405 south on ramp. This will only make Wilshire traffic follow that much worse. Bonsall ramp to Wilshire east needs to be on the north side of the station with the sidewalk bridge over the ramp and reconnecting with Wilshire east of were Bonsall merges with Wilshire. This will also allow the station entrance to be shifted to the south and west reducing the length of travel from the Wilshire bus stops.
Also a wide well lit pedestrian passage way along Bonsall needs to be constructed under Wilshire from the station to access busses (and additional parking) on the north side of Wilshire.
Since this is the end of the line, a bus transfer hub needs to be built close to the station so that multiple busses and shuttles from multiple transportation agencies can be accommodated.
I have to agree… the fact that pedestrians have to cross traffic lanes (and walk a significant distance) to get to ANY destination seems to be awkward at best.
I see more cars than people! looks like it would be so annoying to use the station because of the huge roads and parking lots. They should put the station in westwood village where it’s more pedestrian friendly.
Wow, couldn’t agree more with all the above comments. It’s a beautiful rendering, but it clearly shows that it’ll be a five minute walk from anything and everything at least. Why must we always shove these valuable infrastructure points into no-mans-land?
Check out the LithoMosaic page on FB, to see what could be done with these functional, but extremely boring, concrete sidewalk/ramps. You know with LA Metro, we have come to expect the best, and the most intriquing….
The problem is this isn’t pedestrian centric, transit centric, OR car centric. It doesn’t provide a good option for people who drive to the transit station (no parking), walk to the transit station (Like “Love LA Transit” said, meandering paths and unpleasant overpass, or “onramp” to Wilshire), or take a bus to the transit station (still have to walk down that meandering path, then down into the station to transfer).
In fact, it doesn’t even serve the hospital very well, as there’s that Wilshire “onramp” between the station and the hospital.
Sorry, but no matter how hard you sell the Wilshire/VA is a good station…..it truly is a worthless station. As a regular rider on the 720, Wilshire/Bonsale is a very low boarding station, just like Wilshire/Robertson (which rightfully did not get a subway stop). Wilshire/Crenshaw has more riders than Wilshire/Bonsale. As much as we want to salute the veterans and give them the best possible…….this is not the right way to go about it. It’s a station in the “middle of nowhere”. The station should be somewhere between Barrington and Federal to be worthwhile. We should stop the subway at Wilshire/Westwood and then seek additional funding to go further west. Wilshire/VA is a terrible station location.
Also, for the planned north-south SFV-LA transit line, it should go via UCLA, so there should be no need for this station as a future potential connection to the SFV-LA transit line. Bad planning on this one.
The station entrance looks good, so does the landscaping around it. However, when looking from the top, you can see that the station entrance is between the roads, with nothing else around. Is that, once again, a case where the station is in the middle of nowhere? How about considering a more accessible location of the station? Maybe in West LA, closer to Barrington (where there’s much more pedestrian traffic, office, and retail activity)? Or maybe closer to the VA hospital itself?
I am so excited about LA’s transportation transformation but this is terrible. Wow! No this is REALLY TERRIBLE! It violates good urban design and walkability in almost every way. It is completely car oriented, has no pedestrian scale/orientation, requires long walks on needlessly meandering paths then under an unpleasant overpass or a dash across traffic on what looks like an “on-ramp” of speeding cars merging on to Wilshire. I can’t image what the experience would be like standing on noisy Wilshire with the summer sun on you or pouring rain with exhaust and noise in your face. Lets hope the final version doesn’t look or function like this. Lots of good examples around the world…. Don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Sorry but definitely two thumbs down.