- Aerial photos by Gary Leonard
The Urban Land Institute (ULI) Advisory Services Panel visited Los Angeles in December, sponsored by Metro and the City of Los Angeles planning department, to examine the Union Station study area and to advise the city on what land use and infrastructure investments the city should pursue given the pending master plan for Union Station.
The ULI report is precursor to the development of the Union Station Master Plan. On June 28, the Metro Board of Directors approved Gruen/Grimshaw as the consultant team to develop the master plan, which will be completed in 24 months.
Although the Union Station Master Plan will deal strictly with the actual 40+-acre Union Station site purchased by Metro in April 2011, the ULI report provides a useful inventory of existing conditions and strategic options that will inform Metro’s planning process.
In the big picture, the ULI panel recommends the creation of a transit-oriented development district (TOD) for the 500-acre Union Station study area, aimed at fostering sustainable growth in walkable, urban mixed-use districts centered on transit assets.
Here’s a few sparks the panel suggests would help spur the TOD:
- The naturalization or reclamation of the Los Angeles River would shore up a dramatic eastern flank of the study area with open space and surrounding development.
- Cap a portion of the 101 Freeway with retail rather than green space to generate steady pedestrian activity as well as connectivity between Bunker Hill and Union Station.
- A network of linked public spaces composed of streetscapes, bikeways, parks, plazas and historic sites would create a unified identity.
- Redevelop the Terminal Annex.
- Relocate the adjacent Men’s Central Jail and the smoldering California Drop Forge and replace with a hotel and large-scale residential development
- Parcel out the underused Los Angeles Mall site, directly south of El Pueblo, for mixed-use development with ground-floor retail serving the considerable Civic Center daytime population.
- Full speed ahead, with or without High-Speed Rail. Plan B: Leave room for it.
The 37-page report gets into the details of the strategy and types of development that would likely thrive.
Here’s the situation: “The Union Station study area is under pressure to grow and change. The region’s rail and bus transportation system will continue to grow.”
Here’s the question: “Should the City of Los Angeles’ land use policies for the area influenced by Union Station change to reflect the emergence of Los Angeles Union Station as the transit hub for southern California?”
Answers below: “If so, how?”
Have a read: