Work begins on Blue Line Willowbrook/Rosa Parks Station Improvement Project

Here’s the press release from Metro:

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) held an event today with state and federal officials and local stakeholders to announce the start of major improvements to the Metro Blue Line’s Willowbrook/Rosa Parks Station. The work will radically transform the fourth-busiest station in the Metro Rail system by improving access, expanding capacity, adding community space and better connecting the station to the surrounding community.

Among other improvements, the station will have a new Customer Service Center, Transit Security Center, and Bike Hub. The open-air plaza has also been designed as a public resource to be used for community events, special exhibits, celebrations and movie nights. The $109-million improvement project is funded by a combination of local money and state and federal grants.

“The Willowbrook/Rosa Parks Station has been used by millions of people over the years and it’s time to prepare the station for many more decades of heavy use,” said Metro Board Chair and L.A. County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl. “The community deserves a better station and I’m pleased to see this very important work finally getting underway.”

Early construction work will take place over the rest of this year. In early January, the station will close for eight to nine months as part of the New Blue project to modernize the Blue Line, which opened in 1990 and is Metro’s oldest light rail line. During the closure, rail service to the station will be replaced by bus shuttles.

“The Willowbrook/Rosa Parks Station Improvement Project is a welcome addition to the Willowbrook community and a positive step toward a more equitable transportation system. Safe, reliable, and affordable public transportation helps families better connect to education and job opportunities. My constituents throughout the 44th Congressional District will benefit greatly,” said U.S. Congressmember Nanette Diaz Barragán.

Improvements to the station include:

  • Expansion of the Blue Line platform to reduce crowding, along with an overhead canopy to protect passengers from the sun and rain.
  • The creation of a new pedestrian crossing and entrance on the south side of the extended Blue Line platform.
  • Upgrades to the elevators, escalators, stairs and the mezzanine between the Blue Line and Green Line platforms.
  • Consolidation and upgrades to the bus bays to provide a safer and more comfortable area for riders.
  • New site-specific artwork by artists Jamex, Einar de la Torre and George Evans.

“The entire Metro system will benefit from the complete transformation of this highly utilized station. These long overdue improvements will increase safety, accessibility and mobility for current and future riders, and further solidifies the Willowbrook/Rosa Parks Station as the linchpin of transit-oriented development for the Willowbrook community,” said L.A. County Supervisor and Metro Board Member Mark Ridley-Thomas.”

The Willowbrook/Rosa Parks Station will remain open until January 2019, when it is expected to close until September 2019. Rail service closures during that time will be as follows:

  • January to May 2019: Rail service will be suspended from the Willowbrook/Rosa Parks Station to the Downtown Long Beach Station and replaced by Metro bus shuttles. The Blue Line will continue running between 7th St/Metro Center and 103rd St/Watts Towers Station.
  • May to September 2019: Rail service will be suspended from the Willowbrook/Rosa Parks to 7th St/Metro Center and replaced by bus shuttles. The Blue Line will continue running between Compton Station and Downtown Long Beach Station. Red and Purple Line service will operate normally at 7th St/Metro Center.
  • During the northern closure, Expo Line rail service will be suspended for 45 days at 7th Street/Metro Center Station and Pico Station with train service in that segment replaced by bus shuttles. Expo Line trains will continue to run between LATTC/Ortho Institute Station and Downtown Santa Monica.

“The transformation of the Willowbrook/Rosa Parks Station into a modern transit hub is being made possible by our local, state and federal funding partners,” said Metro CEO Phillip A. Washington. “In addition to providing a better mobility experience for our customers, this crucial work will improve the quality of life for the Willowbrook community.”

For more information on the project, visit the project page.

Below are a couple photos from today’s event and more pics for download are at the top of this gallery.



8 replies

  1. So by expanding the platform, do you mean to accommodate 4 car trains? I don’t really see that being possible as the Long Beach Loop are in tight situations.

    • Nope. 3-car trains is the maximum length of trains on the Blue Line. To go to 4-car trains, all of the platforms on the line would have to be lengthened. The new longer platforms at this station are simply to give more space for people waiting for the train.

  2. The only upgrade that has any real value is to connect the Blue and Green Lines by a flying/borrowing junction to permit through one-seat service between Union Station/Downtown LA and LAX.

    I just cannot imagine people traveling with small children and/or dragging considerable luggage being attracted to a what at best is a second-class arrangement. I suspect that the only frequent users of the Green Line to reach LAX will be airport employees.

    Otherwise all the extra money being spent on the Crenshaw Line 96th Street station is “money thrown down the drain.” Even the latest LA Metro projection for the percentage of airline passengers would will use the LAX station is less than 1%. This is paltry, especially when compared to the 12% of JFK passengers who use the JFT AirTrain.

    An even better solution is a Blue Line branch along Slauson using the former Santa Fe/BNSF Harbor Branch to then connect with the Crenshaw Line.

    We need to”think big”and not just be concerned with $$$.

    PS – I am still waiting to see notifications of new comments and new posts as promised in the Check Boxes below.

    • “Thinking big” would be the Metro concept of extending the Purple Line south from Westwood to LAX. This would accomplish your desire of through train service to LAX (faster and more direct than an L shaped 2-wye light rail route).

      • Except now that would actually require a transfer for those coming from and going into the valley, or someone going from Westwood to the South Bay.

        Also, exactly how much faster would it be compared to the original harbor subdivision route? If I recall correctly the original Purple Line ETA from LAUS to Westwood was 25 min, so I’d assume 35-40 min if nonstop between Westwood and LAX. At that point, the flyaway from LAUS is already a better alternative.

        This is why I refused to let Metro simply get away with the idea of simply adding a bike lane on the harbor subdivision as this truly is the most direct route to LAX from downtown.

        • Yes, the flyaway (in non-rush hour situations) would likely be faster. Also, if flyaway continues to go to each terminal, this would avoid the people mover transfer and long walk to terminal.

          The Purple Line to LAX would be heavy rail entirely underground. Even using the harbor subdivision, that light rail line would be primarily at-grade with 2-wye interchanges.

  3. Hope that CEO is out there handling people’s frustrations and calming them down before they in turn take it out on the operators. #AllHandsIn

  4. FINALLY the work begins. My understanding is that the work was supposed to begin this Spring but now we’re near the end of summer.