Metro today marked the beginning of construction on the Eastside Access Improvement Project, a project that will build key streetscape, pedestrian safety and bicycle access improvements for everyone walking or bicycling in downtown L.A. between the Little Tokyo/Arts District and Los Angeles Union Station.
Project improvements will be centered within a one-mile radius of the Metro Regional Connector Transit Project’s future Little Tokyo/Arts District Station at 1st Street and Central Avenue. This new rail line, currently under construction, is a 1.9-mile underground light rail project that will provide a more seamless connection between the Metro L Line (Gold), the A Line (Blue) and the E Line (Expo) through downtown L.A.
The project calls for improvements along seven different street segments: 1st Street, Alameda Street, Los Angeles Street, 2nd Street, Central Avenue, Judge John Aiso Street, and along Santa Fe Avenue and Center Street from Los Angeles Union Station to 4th Street. Metro will make crosswalk improvements at 19 intersections, build a bike/walk esplanade featuring double rows of street trees and will build nearly 1.7 miles of local bike lanes
The project also provides streetscape improvements that include sidewalk widening, repairs, tree plantings, replacement of 100 traditional streetlights with low-energy LED lighting and installation of bioswales to improve stormwater runoff and reduce water pollution from reaching the ocean. Project improvements are expected to be completed in 2022.
“Today marks the beginning of improved access to Metro’s bus and rail facilities that stretch from Union Station to the Little Tokyo and Arts District communities that, once completed, will provide a safer and more vibrant experience for Metro bus and rail passengers, pedestrians, cyclists and visitors to downtown’s distinct neighborhoods,” said Metro Board Chair and Chair of the Los Angeles County Supervisors, Hilda L. Solis. “These improvements will provide enhanced access to and from these vibrant communities while we work to expand our bus and rail network, and they will go a long way in enhancing the quality of life for all residents nearby.”
The $29.7-million project is funded through a combination of federal grants, including a Federal Transit Administration Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER VI) grant, and local Metro Measure R half-cent sales tax funding. Construction is expected to be completed in 2022.
“When we started construction on the Regional Connector Project, we promised to not only physically restore Little Tokyo to what it was before construction, but to make it better,” said Metro CEO Stephanie N. Wiggins. “This important project helps us fulfill that promise. It provides more access, more connectivity, and a safer pedestrian environment than when we started Regional Connector construction so many years ago.”
Metro is planning other connecting pedestrian/bicycle improvements in the area. The Los Angeles Union Station Forecourt Esplanade Project, for example, will enhance walking and bicycle paths between Union Station and Olvera Street by adding new sidewalks, crosswalks, street trees, lighting and civic space. Metro is currently coordinating with the City of LA to prepare for construction.
Little Tokyo is one of only three Japantowns in the United States. The district is the heart of the largest Japanese American population in the United States. Little Tokyo was declared a National Historic Landmark District in 1995.
For additional project information, please visit https://www.metro.net/projects/eastside-access-improvements-1st-central-station/.
Here is a map that shows the street segments where the improvements will take place:
1) 1st Street from Los Angeles to Mission Street
2) Alameda Street from Commercial Street to 1st Street
3) Los Angeles Street from Arcadia Street to 2nd Street
4) 2nd Street to Traction Avenue and Alameda Street – Intersection
5) Central Avenue from 1st Street to 3rd Street
6)Judge John Aiso/San Pedro Street from Temple Street to 3rd Street
7) Santa Fe Street from Vignes Avenue to 4th Street