New video: Union Station Master Plan

This new video neatly explains the different phases of the Union Station Master Plan that was approved by the Metro Board last year. The idea is to implement the plan in phases as funding comes available or is identified.

Here is a new email blast from Metro about the project:

We have very exciting news to share about the Union Station Master Plan and the Connect US Action Plan!

The Union Station Master Plan team has been working diligently to effectuate the various implementation actions that were approved by the Metro Board of Directors in October 2014.

  • Metro has procured an environmental consulting firm, Kleinfelder, to prepare the Program EIR for the Union Station Master Plan. Work is underway and we will notify all stakeholders of opportunities to participate in the process.
  • Thanks to the leadership of Councilmember Jose Huizar, a Motion was introduced that called for relevant City departments to work with Metro on activities related to implementation of the Stage 1 Perimeter Improvements and to formally evaluate the best path forward to adopt the Connect US Action Plan.
  • Metro submitted grant applications to Caltrans Active Transportation Program (ATP) Cycle 2 grant program in June of 2015 for the Stage 1 Perimeter Improvements. The California Transportation Commission (CTC) approved funding the $12.3 million Alameda Esplanade (between Cesar E. Chavez and Arcadia St) as part of the ATP Cycle 2 grant program.
  • The Transforming Los Angeles Union Station Summary Report has been finalized and is available for download on Metro’s website. The Summary Report catalogues the progression, analysis, and recommendations included within the Union Station Master Plan.
  • The USMP has been submitted for consideration in Metro’s Long Range Transportation Plan, which is a critical document for securing federal funding for transportation improvements.

After a two year community engagement process, the Connect US Action Plan is now final and available for download on Metro’s website. The Connect US Action Plan is community-driven public improvement plan that prioritizes bike and pedestrian public improvement projects between Los Angeles Union Station and the 1st/Central Regional Connector Station and the historic and culturally significant neighborhoods that surround them.

  • To advance implementation, Metro has secured a $16.8 million in TIGER grant funding (with local match) for improvements within a 1-mile radius of the 1st and Central Regional Connector Station, examples include the Alameda Street Esplanade, the Los Angeles Street Esplanade and the Santa Fe improvements.
  • A $1.6million ATP Cycle 1 grant was secured for the Cesar E. Chavez improvement project.

What’s Next:

There will be several opportunities to continue to participate in these exciting initiatives:

  • For the Connect US Action Plan, Metro is committed to continuing its collaboration with the City of Los Angeles to evaluate a feasible adoption process.
  • Pending Board approval to initiate design activities there will be several opportunities to participate in the design and implementation of the TIGER grant funded Connect US Action Plan improvements.
  • Metro will be engaging stakeholders as part of the Union Station Master Plan Program EIR process as well as through the design and implementation of the Alameda Esplanade.

Thank you all for your interest, time, and commitment to improving multi-modalism in Los Angeles — your partnership is greatly appreciated.

More about Union Station Master Plan and ongoing improvements to the station are here.

Here are some renderings from last year:

Finally, one more update from the Union Station Master Plan team:

The AIA LA (American Institute of Architects, Los Angeles) held their annual design awards ceremony in Little Tokyo on October 29.  Metro’s Union Station Master Plan (USMP) design team, led by Gruen Associates and Grimshaw Architects was awarded with one of 18 “Next LA” merit awards, which honors designs and plans for projects that are as yet unbuilt.  Congratulations to the design team and to Metro’s Planning Department for their work on this innovative and future thinking plan, and we will continue to work hard to move this plan from “unbuilt” to “built.”

8 replies

  1. Oh joy, the anti-density, anti-modernization camps comes in again, pretending to believe that we’re still living in the 1950s.

    The vast majority of homes and businesses that are spread throughout LA today are an eyesore. They were mass built during the construction boom era of the 1950s and 1960s, poorly built, low-density, seismically unstable, lead painted and asbestos ridden structures that were built in the era of manufactured homes on huge plots of empty land. If the Big One strikes LA, the vast majority of these buildings will not be left standing and the lives lost will be catastrophic due to the way they were built.

    Land is scarce in LA today so we have to make do with what we have today. That means, razing down these old low-density structures (eyesores buildings, not historical structures) and starting building them taller with higher density to keep up withe pace of demand.

  2. If LA Union Station is going to be this major rail hub for the region along with HSR (if and when it gets built), then what the surroundings needs are more hotels within walking distance to it. And I’m not talking about crappy rundown hotels like the Metro Plaza Hotel right off of Olvera Street. It needs an Intercontinental, a Shangri-La, a Park Hyatt, five star hotels and stuff like that. You know how NY Grand Central has a Grand Hyatt right next door to it or how there’s a Renaissance Hotel right at London’s St. Pancras station?

  3. At time 1:04 through 1:06 the voice over says “this will increase capacity and travel times.” I would hope that it would *decrease* travel times.

    • I caught this as well. Hope it was an overlooked error and not a sly way of them throwing that in there.

  4. Some of the pictures above of the inside look very nice. However, after seeing the video of the future of the outside of the station I am just appalled that it looks like the area will just be ruined. Such a congested area with so many high rise buildings. It is just a shame Union Station area will never look as open and California looking like it used to. By the time all this happens, I hope I am not around to see the mess that it being planned.

    • Relax. Evolution comes to cities just as humans do.

      Every city in the world has to deal with balancing the old with the new as population density increases. Having high rises near a historical station is none different than the growth of any other city in the world. Just look at the Tokyo Station and Amsterdam station photos above with the skyscrapers and modern buildings behind it. It doesn’t look so bad, it looks like a historic oasis in the middle of a bustling metropolis if you ask me.

      You can’t keep expecting LA to look the same in 2050 as it was in 1950 and sure as 1950s LA looked different than it was in 1850.

      I sure as remember that there was Thrifty’s Drug Store on the corner of Wilshire and Western and the good old days of getting Thrifty’s ice cream there for a quarter in the early 1980s before there was a Metro station there. Now there is a mixed use high-rise condo there and it hasn’t made the historical Wiltern Theater area any worse, it is now even better with more economic activity.

    • The global population has been increasing at exponential rates for the last 4000 years, the implications of our growth affect our cities, these changes should come as no surprise to anyone. I have a hard time understanding the selfish nostalgia of some who wallow in changing cityscapes.

      Barring another global pandemic health crisis, our population will continue to swell, we can either densify areas that have already been marred by human activity or continue to destroy natural surroundings with tract homes and suburban office parks.

      Additionally, there’s no better location to construct high rises than near the largest regional train station in the second largest metropolis in the country. The reason for Los Angeles’ blight, smog and congestion is the result of underutilized alternatives to the vehicle such as buses, trains and walking. The plans to make Union Station an actual hub instead of a desolate terminus will help to draw travelers and workers out of their environmentally harmful cars and back into the public realm to restore a sense of vitality that the city currently lacks.

  5. If Metro wants to preserve the facade of the 1930s Art Deco and Mission Revival style of LA Union Station, they can also learn from how Tokyo and Amsterdam were able to save the Gothic/Renaissance Revival styles of their main train stations which were originally built in the late 19th/early 20th century while incorporating modern upgrades and additional rail tracks for HSRs.

    Tokyo Station

    Amsterdam Centraal Station