Metro and elected officials dedicate new state-of-the-art El Monte Station

Supervisor and Metro Board Member Gloria Molina cuts the ribbon the new El Monte station while joined with other elected officials. Photo by Gary Leonard for Metro.

The public opening is Sunday, when the reviews from riders will start rolling in. One key takeaway here is that funding for the station expansion partially came from the funds provided by the federal government to Metro to test the ExpressLanes concept on parts of the 10 and 110 freeways (the 110 section opens next month).

Here’s the news release from Metro:

Metro joined a host of elected and community officials this morning to officially dedicate the completion of the new state-of-the-art El Monte Bus Station that has been totally revamped and expanded and is now set to open to the public on Sunday, Oct. 14.

“As part of our efforts to enhance the County’s regional transit system, this new state-of-the-art bus facility will be a major San Gabriel Valley connection point for thousands of daily commuters,” said LA County Supervisor and Metro Board Chair Michael D. Antonovich.

The upgrade of the El Monte facility, which first opened in 1973, is part of the Congestion Reduction Demonstration Program known as Metro ExpressLanes and is funded by a $210 million federal grant by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Metro and Caltrans District 7, along with Foothill Transit, Gardena Transit, the Los Angeles Department of Transportation, and Torrance Transit are partnering in a one-year demonstration project during which existing carpool lanes on the I-10 El Monte Busway (between Alameda Street and I-605) and the I-110 Harbor Transitway (between Adams Boulevard and the Harbor Gateway Transit Center) will be converted to High-Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes called Metro ExpressLanes.

The upper level bus bays at the new El Monte Station. Photo by Gary Leonard for Metro.

As part of the Metro ExpressLanes program, a portion of the funding is being used to improve transportation facilities in El Monte near the I-10 San Bernardino Freeway and the Harbor Gateway Transit Center in Gardena adjacent to the I-110 Harbor Transitway to allow for better bus connections and improved bus service along these two heavily traveled corridors. The new facility at El Monte will give the public added opportunities to use public transit instead of driving during their daily commute.

“We are excited about the completion of this new state-of-the-art bus facility here in El Monte,” said LA County Supervisor and Metro Board Member Gloria Molina. “El Monte is the transit hub of the San Gabriel Valley and this bus station is a major connection point for thousands of daily commuters. We’re proud to offer a new top-quality facility to Metro bus riders.”

The new $60 million El Monte Station consists of a new two story building that will house a public bus and terminal station with limited retail space, a customer service center and surface parking. Construction on the new facility began in September 2010.

“Improvements to existing bus service is paramount to the success of the Metro ExpressLanes program and this new bus facility will go a long way toward providing the needed infrastructure to handle the growing need of residents and commuters in this region so they are equipped with sound commuting choices,” said LA County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, a Metro Board Member and Chair of the Board’s Ad-Hoc Committee on Congestion Pricing.

Currently, approximately 22,000 patrons use the facility daily. It is the largest bus station west of Chicago and is used by Metro, Foothill Transit, Greyhound, El Monte Transit and Metrolink Shuttle.

“As a result of the successful competition for federal congestion pricing demonstration grant funds, we were awarded $210 million. Due to the expanded transit service, $60 million was allocated for a modern state-of-the-art LEED certified transit facility,” said Metro Board Member and Mayor of the City of Duarte John Fasana. “This is a crowning jewel in the San Gabriel Valley.”

The upgrading of the El Monte Bus Station is an essential part of the success of the ExpressLane project in an effort to provide commuters, regardless of income level, with new and better travel options along two of LA County’s most congested corridors. ExpressLanes along the Harbor Freeway will open November 10. ExpressLanes along the San Bernardino Freeway will open in early 2013.

“The opening of this new bus facility is a major milestone as we strive to improve transportation services for the region,” said Metro CEO Art Leahy. “Better connections and better bus service await passengers using this new facility.”

The new El Monte Station, opening to the public Sunday, Oct. 14, is twice the size of the old facility and has modern amenities including variable message signs, intercoms, closed circuit television, solar panels, wayfinding equipment and information displays, new elevators and escalators, a transit store, bike stations and lockers.

Project highlights of the new facility include an increase in daily passenger capacity by 82 percent (from 22,000 to 40,000), increase in bus bays by 87 percent (from 16 to 30), installation of 30 bike lockers/storage units, better accommodations for both 40-foot and 60-foot buses and enhanced law enforcement presence.

A monumental sculpture by internationally renowned artist Donald Lipski is incorporated in the new El Monte Station as part of Metro’s public art program. Time Piece features three functional clocks suspended from an elegant, sweeping stainless steel arch using a web of thin stainless steel cables.

The new facility uses energy efficient and sustainable building methods and was built to Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEEDS) Gold standards. Construction of the new facility generated more than 350 construction-related jobs.

The construction work at the El Monte Station was done by KPRS Construction Services based in Brea under contact to Metro. RNL Design is the design architect and Gensler is the architect of record for the project.