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Union Station: L.A.’s nearly perfect time machine (L.A. Times)
D.J. Waldie has a nice op-ed piece on the eve of Union Station’s 75th anniversary celebration on Saturday. Excerpt:
Those who pause will see a nearly perfect public space meant to be both monumental and deferential, and designed to reassure as much as to impress. In the station’s concrete daydream of Spanish Colonial Revival, Mission, Moorish and Art Deco styles, the city’s imagined past and hoped-for future overlay seamlessly. Those faux wood beams were given a patina to look as if they had been there a century or more. The station’s streamlined details in aluminum and bronze pointed toward a triumphant, machine-age tomorrow. When Union Station was new, everything about it reflected the longing of Los Angeles to be both modern and nostalgic.
Union Station, like few of the city’s other architectural survivals, is a place where it’s possible for the patient sojourner to slip out of now and into an earlier time like a shadow passing.
John and Donald Parkinson, the station’s supervising architects, understood shadows and how pausing in them invites reverie. The station’s shadows are there by design: to give shelter from the Los Angeles sun in the long arcades and add movement through the day to the static surface of its exterior. Inside, transient light patterns the travertine walls and contrasts with the durable patterns laid in the 75,000 square feet of cement, marble, tile and linoleum flooring, as well as on the faience wainscoting and doorway surrounds and the parquetry of the patios’ brick walkways.
In addition, KPCC’s Take Two has a nice eight-minute segment on the station’s history.
And here’s the lineup of events for Saturday’s celebration at Union Station.
Gold Line bill hurt by lack of communication: guest commentary (San Gabriel Valley Tribune)
The president of the San Bernardino Associated Governments board writes that a bill that would have allowed planning of a Gold Line segment between Montclair and Ontario Airport did not provide enough protections for San Bernardino County taxpayers. At this point it’s a moot point — the bill was withdrawn last week. Construction of the Pasadena-to-Azusa phase of the project continues, as does planning and engineering work for the unfunded segment between Azusa and Montclair.
The huge Obama transportation bill you heard nothing about (Time)
The President released the details of a four-year transportation funding bill earlier this week, a follow-up to a budget released earlier this year. The $300-million, four year bill would greatly include funding for transit and other worthy infrastructure programs, but Time says it’s non-news until the time comes when Republicans may agree to such a bill. Debate over the bill is likely to continue for the remainder of this year.
Madrid’s smart parking meters charge more for most polluting cars (The Guardian)
About one in four motorists — those with the most polluting cars — will pay 20 percent more for parking. Meanwhile, those in the least polluting cars will pay 20 percent less. Great idea!
Want to be more creative? Take a walk (New York Times)
A new Stanford study aims to show that people who walk show more signs of creative and innovating thinking. Not exactly a surprise — creative types have been singing the praises of going for a stroll for ages. No one is exactly sure the mechanism at work that boosts creativity — one idea is that walking simply puts people in a better mood and good moods translate to more expansive thought.
The train tunnel in this film is now part of PCH (Southland)
Great footage shot in 1898 of a train rumbling through what is now the McClure Tunnel that connects the Santa Monica Freeway to Pacific Coast Highway in Santa Monica.
Categories: Transportation Headlines
Union Station is a Los Angeles treasure that was somewhat ruined with the construction of the apartment buildings and the MWD headquarters. Some of the plans do include the removal of the apartments. The only place in the complex I would like to see changed or upgraded is the dismal under tracks tunnel. If it was relite and the walls painted a more pleasing color would be a big improvement. Some type of indirect lighting that would brighten up the long walkway.