The Link Union Station (also known as Link US) is holding an Open House at Union Station this Thursday to discuss proposed changes made to the project as part of its Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR).
The Open House will be held 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. in Union Station East on the Vignes Street side of the station. Go to the P1 Level, which is adjacent to the aquarium and near the Metro Customer Service Center. Presentations by Metro staff will take place at 4:30 p.m. and 6 p.m.
Metro staff will also be available for questions and one-on-one discussions.
The aim of the Link US project is to make it possible for Metrolink and Amtrak trains to enter and exit Union Station from both the south and north while also expanding rail service capacity at the station, accommodating high-speed rail and building a new passenger concourse to handle growing crowds, and transforming Union Station into a world-class transit station. Union Station, purchased by Metro in 2011, is already pretty crowded with roughly 100,000 passengers a day and the number of people using the station is expected to double to over 200,000 passengers by 2040.
Perhaps the biggest change that Metro staff is proposing in response to public comments on the Draft EIR is the elimination of an above-grade passenger concourse above the current train platforms. In its place, a new 140-feet wide expanded passageway would be built under the tracks to replace the existing 30-feet wide passageway.
As envisioned, the new expanded passageway would provide sufficient capacity to meet future demands while also offering new passenger amenities, including retail. Many comments received said the above-grade concourse would have made access to the station more difficult and added to the time it takes to reach trains.
Other adjustments to the project would reduce the amount of property Metro would need to acquire by eliminating a southbound-to-northbound loop track.
Metro staff anticipates requesting the Metro Board of Directors to review and consider approval of the project’s FEIR later this summer.
The project is partially funded at this time with $950 million available from a variety of sources. That’s enough to: make the necessary upgrades to the current northern entrance and exit tracks and rail signal and communication systems; build the entire track structure over the 101 freeway and two new run-through tracks to the south in the interim, and; do utility relocations and right-of-way acquisition south of the 101 freeway. Additional funds will be needed to build the proposed new expanded passageway, platforms, the West Plaza and the remaining run-through tracks.