Music is just one part of the story at Westlake/MacArthur Park Station

As B and D line riders know, the Westlake/MacArthur Park station has, unfortunately, long been a place with a disproportionately high amount of crime, drug use, and loitering. Lately, we’ve seen increases in illegal activity at the station that we don’t want anyone to experience anywhere on our system – among them fatal drug overdoses and our riders and employees victimized by crime.

So, we are proactively doing something very different about it.

In February, we launched a new approach to improve safety and the customer experience at Westlake/MacArthur Park Station – an approach that goes far beyond law enforcement to prevent issues before they occur. Some recent news reports have focused on one aspect of this effort: that we’re playing classical music inside the station. Whats gotten lost is that in addition to playing classical music, weve also:

  • Added Metro Ambassadors, Metro Transit Security, dedicated Metro Custodians, and worked with our law enforcement partners on a layered deployment to improve the visible presence of staff at the station.
  • Improved station lighting, particularly in darker corners where people engaged in illegal or disorderly activity.
  • Added more and better closed-circuit cameras to monitor activity and dispatch the correct response.
  • Increased airflow in the station public areas to remove odors and fumes.
  • Closed one underused station entrance so we can better patrol the station and prevent misuse of empty station corridors.
  • Fenced off unused areas of the street-level plaza.

Were also working with neighborhood stakeholders and our City and County partners to reimagine the vendor marketplace and transform the plaza into a safe and active community space that supports local entrepreneurs and community events.

Early results show that incidents of graffiti, vandalism, loitering and trash/clean-up incidents have decreased by more than 50 percent.

We want to be clear: This entire effort is aimed at turning the Westlake MacArthur Park Station into a space Metro riders can use for its intended purpose: accessing your transit system. This is a pilot program, and we have and will continue to take feedback and make any adjustments to this program as appropriate. Meanwhile, we’re encouraged by the results we are seeing and the positive feedback we’re getting from our customers.

As always, we appreciate your help to make our transit system as clean, safe, and friendly as it can be. If you see illegal activity, please take the time to report it. The best way to report:

  • Call 888.950.SAFE (7233).
  • Use the Transit Watch app, which allows you to send text messages and photos directly to our security team, 24 hours a day.  The app is available in the App Store and Google Play.
  • If there’s an emergency, please call 911.

Thank you for riding Metro.

18 replies

  1. I hope more enforcement of code and conduct can begin immediately. Consistency will result in improvement in the rider experience. Periodic efforts, sweeps, clean-ups, etc. don’t usually solve the problems because they just start back again if policies/patrols aren’t done continuously. It’s disheartening to hear about the decline in safety and trashing of the stations and trains. This is a critical time to take action and devote the resources necessary to make the trains safe and clean otherwise ridership will drop much more radically than it already has, and many of those customers will not return. Period.

  2. With the West Lake Station being one of the original stations why hasn’t a mixed use project ever been built there? Instead of typical commercial on the ground floor provide assigned spaces with no or a small fee each day for vendors. And instead of single or one bedroom apartments the residential consist of small individual sleeping spaces for each tenant and communal cooking and bathing areas on each floor. these unit would not be for permanent housing but instead temporary housing with strict regulations concerning not only drugs and alcohol but also conduct and community responsibility within the complex.

    • Because apparently TOD equals gentrification nowadays.

      Honestly, if there was a place that desperately needs gentrification or 24 hour patrol service, it’s Westlake. That area was so beautiful even post-white flight era. By the 1970s though it was too late.

  3. A kid that was about 10 years old asked in a very scared voice “Can I sit next to you?” after a crazy women not wearing any pants gets on the train yelling like someone was chasing (There was not anyone chasing her. She does this REGULARLY).

    Metro has failed to address the fact that kids still have to use this system to get to school. There are not as many as their used to be, but incidents like this would not happen if they would just make sure people have passes before riding.

    There is no excuse. Police at Macarthur Park just send homeless/crazies to other stations or onto trains to ride back and forth and annoy paying passengers.

    Less enforcement means people from ALL OVER THE COUNTRY spill into this city because you can be as high as you want, w/o consequences on our system… SF is a close competitor, but warm weather has drawn many crazies from across the country…

    I felt so bad for that kid that day because that was me 25 years ago.

  4. Hey, I’ll give credit where it’s due, even if done in such a half baked manner:

    Noticed dogs sniff around all train cars today. Sure that’s a nice gesture, but maybe don’t purposely delay trains as a result of this. You seriously mean to tell me these dogs aren’t allowed to travel on the trains and actually sniff around to see if anything is found?

    *half-baked applause*

  5. It’s nice to know that the LAPD is fulfilling its contract with Metro to patrol the stations and trains.

    No wait, it isn’t.

    Is Metro doing anything about that?

    • Hi Pat;

      Our Board of Directors still must consider whether to renew the contract and the terms. Part of the discussion involves deployment.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  6. It’s a good start, but Metro still needs to be more preventative: complete control of access to the platform. Unless patrons have paid their fare, they can’t be on the platform. If Metro achieves this, then the perception of safety will dramatically increase.

    The perception of danger and lack of control on the platforms and in the cars is what led to the 4% decline in women ridership. There were 21,047,072 riders in January. Around 800,000 women declined to ride Metro anymore because of Metro’s failure in their primary job: safely transport their customers. It’s the 800,000 women and millions of previous riders that Metro needs to address their concerns.

    Hopefully, the pilot program is strengthened and expanded. Metro can show compassion for those in our society that are struggling by offering a parallel transport system, but they can’t do it at the expense of regular riders.

  7. Metro needs to just start checking fares at every station. All this other stuff is nonsense.

    Airport doesn’t want unwanted visitors? Everyone has to show a boarding pass before entry.

    Same goes for every controlled environment. Stadiums, theaters etc.

    All the glass kiosks and station facelifts stained and abandoned because service is just so bad and 8 out of ten train smell like urine.

    Metro: “Were working hard to improve your experience… Until 8pm… The you’re on your own….”

    Metro is a failure.

    • Dude have you been to LAX lately!? The airport is full of homeless people. You need a boarding pass to get past TSA, not to get into the terminal.

      • That’s what I was going to say, but I’ve only noticed this at LAX. Not even Burbank has this problem at least the last time I was there. Outside of SEA (No homeless problem), not sure of how things are at San Diego, SFO or Portland.

        • That’s probably indicative of the fact that the city of Burbank in general seems to have a much better handle on the homeless situation and vagrancy issues than LA city does. I haven’t even seen many if any at all homeless people in Burbank lately come to think of it but I could be mistaken. LAX is wholly within LA city limits though and thus reflects the city’s incompetence around this matter.

  8. Thank you for trying. Naysayers will wish nothing was done at all. Hold steady and keep trying to improve the safety of Metro’s stations.

  9. Thank you for all of your efforts to stop crime on the subway. Ignore the haters – drive them back with progress in making transit desirable to the general populous.

  10. To deal with homelessness and crime a a seamless system of enforcement of safety,,cleanliness and available services for the homeless poulation is absolutely necessary! Unfotrunately avaliable housing is not available. All efforts to solve the problems will not be successful until the housing problem is solved. In the mean time stop gap measures,while necessary, will fail!
    The county and city politicians are the responsible parties for a lack.of active functional solutions.
    Until the politicians act la metro and its riders will pay the price and alot of mis directive blame! SHAME on the county and city politicians!!!!!

    • Agreed. Systemic issues are abound. Unfortunately though, many people that focus on just that, essentially want nothing to be done with regards to enforcement of rules untill said societal issues are fixed, which could take decades. So yeah, both need to happen. Enforcement of existing rules needs to be consistent (and metro needs step it up for their part in said rules and keeping the system pleasant to use for all paying riders as much as possible) while the overall systemic issues are addressed gradually, since there’s no overnight fix unfortunately (plus incompetence and dealing with NIMBYs).