The largest railroad passenger terminal in the Western United States is officially moving into the 21st century, as the Los Angeles County MTA Board of Directors just approved Grimshaw and Gruen's master plan for LA's Union Station. The iconic 1939 transit hub combines Spanish Colonial Revival architecture, Mission Revival and Streamline Moderne styles - and it's set to receive a series of near-term updates that will vastly improve the experience for nearly 110,000 daily passengers - a figure that is expected to grow to 197,000 passengers by 2040.
LA Mayor and Metro Board Chair Eric Garcetti called the approval “a milestone day in our goal to bring ‘America’s Last Great Train Station’ into the 21st century,” adding that “Metro is now on the move to make Los Angeles Union Station a world-class transit hub.”
Planned improvements will accommodate California High-Speed Rail lines from San Francisco that by 2029 will zip passengers from the future Transbay Transit Center in downtown S.F. to the new Union Station in downtown LA in under three hours at top speeds of more than 200 mph. Phase one of California HSR is currently under construction in the Central Valley.
According to LA Metro’s The Source online news site, perimeter upgrades include “a series of streetscape, open space and transit stop improvements that soften the edges of the station, improve the pedestrian and cyclist experience, strengthen connections to and from the station’s entrances and create a more welcoming environment to transit riders and visitors.” The most noticeable of these improvements will be the removal of a surface parking lot and the creation of a public plaza that will directly link to the El Pueblo historic monument.
Metro began plans to turn Union Station into a world-class facility when the transit agency purchased the property in 2011. Grants have already been received to improve four bus stops and build a Metro Bike Hub that will offer parking for 300 bicycles among other amenities. Metro also plans to renovate the 75-year-old roof and replace the heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems. New eateries are also in the works. With proper funding, long-term plans include the relocation of Patsaouras Bus Plaza to the west side of the property and a new expanded, multi-modal passenger concourse. Both projects are expected to “improve the efficiency of transit operations and enhance the passenger experience at the station,” according to The Source.
Images via Metro