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Los Angeles Union Station Master Plan

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Union Station is the region’s primary transit hub, connecting Southern California counties whose combined population totals more than 17 million. Metro purchased the iconic downtown LA station in 2011.

More than 60,000 travelers and commuters access the station’s transit providers, which include Metro bus and rail lines, Metrolink commuter rail, Amtrak long-distance rail, and numerous municipal carriers and specialty shuttles with connections to downtown Los Angeles. As Measure R funds Metro’s system expansion, Union Station is expected to see upwards of 100,000 boardings per day.

The Union Station Master Plan will develop Metro’s vision and plan to guide future development at the station, including transit operations and new private and/or public real estate development.

Project Goals

Celebrate the site’s history
The Master Plan will celebrate the station and embrace all adjacent neighborhoods’ rich history, providing for development that complements the station’s architecture and heritage to reinforce Union Station’s place in history. 

Improve the Union Station passenger experience
A program of improvements -- including upgraded signage, improved transfers and expanded services -- will be designed to enhance each passenger’s visit.

Create a great destination
Building on the significant attributes of Union Station, the Master Plan will shape the city’s premier destination for transit users, residents and visitors. Potential enhancements include creating a public space that is sensitive to the site’s historic and cultural fabric and adjacent neighborhoods. 

Prepare for High Speed Rail
The Master Plan will be flexible to accommodate anticipated future arrival of high speed rail (HSR) serving Union Station. 

Metro also recognizes the need for greater accessibility to Union Station from surrounding neighborhoods – and has initiated a separate study to look specifically at pedestrian and bicycle improvements in the areas around Union station. This Linkages Study will be closely coordinated with the Union Station Master Plan.

Project Schedule

June 2012 Consultant contract award
September 2012 Project kick-off
Fall 2012 Data collection and analysis
Stakeholder engagement
Union Station Technical Advisory Committee meeting
Winter 2012 Community kick-off
Presentation of program to the Metro Board of Directors
Spring-Summer 2013 Development of conceptual alternative plans
Union Station Advisory Committee meeting
Public workshop #1 (preliminary conceptual alternatives)
Public workshop #2 (refined conceptual alternatives)
Fall 2013 Metro Board of Directors to select preferred conceptual alternative
Fall 2014 Final Master Plan presented to Metro Board of Directors for adoption

Built in 1939, Union Station combines Spanish Colonial Revival architecture, Mission Revival and Streamline Moderne styles. The architecture team included John and Donald Parkinson who also designed Los Angeles City Hall and city landmarks.

Originally intended as a transcontinental terminus station for the Union Pacific, Santa Fe and Southern Pacific Railways, the station was a major hub for troop movement during World War II.  With the advent of air travel, train service declined at depots across the nation – including Union Station.  The station’s historic 161,000 square foot terminal was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980 and the station was restored in 1992. Beginning in the 1970s, growing use of Amtrak and expansion of local and regional rail revitalized the station as a major transportation hub. 

Union Station Transit Operations Milestones

  • Amtrak begins operating four long distance trains from Union Station
    • 1971– Coast Starlight
    • 1971– Southwest Chief
    • 1971– Sunset Limited
    • 1982– Texas Eagle
  • 1992 – Metrolink starts operations in Union Station
  • 1993 – Metro Red/Purple Line opens
  • 1995 – Patsaouras Transit Plaza opens, serving bus operations  
  • 2003 – Metro Gold Line begins service
  • 2006 – LAX FlyAway begins offering service to Union Station  

Union Station Property Highlights

  • Approximately 40-acres, transportation hub (Metro, Metrolink, Amtrak) and urban mixed-use development site.
  • Restored historic train station, extensive gardens and courtyards, and a range of dining options.
  • Approved for more than 6 million square feet of new development (Alameda District Specific Plan, adopted 1996).
  • Adjacent to downtown Los Angeles and El Pueblo, with close proximity to the Los Angeles Civic Center, Chinatown, Little Tokyo, the Arts District and Boyle Heights.
  • Headquarters for Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Metrolink and Metropolitan Water District – with 1.1 million square feet of office space.
  • Property operations include agreements with the transit agencies, retail leases, filming locations, special events and parking.

Upcoming Metro Committee and Board Meetings

The Metro Board will consider recommendations for moving the LA Union Station Master Plan from planning to implementation at two upcoming meetings. The final proposed plan and a short term implementation plan will be presented to the Metro Board Planning and Programming Committee on Wednesday, September 17th at 2:30pm and to the full Board of Directors on Thursday, October 2nd at 9:30am. Both meetings will be held in the Board Room at Metro Headquarters, One Gateway Plaza. Please feel welcome to attend either or both of these meetings.

Community Celebration Scheduled for October 16

We have scheduled an Open House to mark the culmination of the LAUSMP and present the final plan. You’ll be able to view a video simulation of how the full project has been designed to build incrementally as future partners and funding opportunities become available, a history of the planning process and additional renderings. Please join us on Thursday, October 16th from 5:30 – 7:30pm in the Fred Harvey Room at LA Union Station, where you will see the plan in context at the station. All Metro meetings are held in ADA accessible facilities. Other ADA accommodations and translations available by calling 213.922.2499 at least 72 hours in advance.

Metro Presents: PARK(ing) Day at LA Union Station

For National PARK(ing) Day on September 19, Artist Alexis Disselkoen will create a temporary park out of a corner of the station’s Alameda-facing parking lot from noon to 5pm. The park will feature a reimagination of the classic game Lotería with imagery celebrating the rich and diverse cultural heritage of the surrounding area.

Metro’s contribution to PARK(ing) Day anticipates the transformations expected as part of the LA Union Station Master Plan. The Plan calls for removing some of the surface parking in front of the Alameda Street entrance and replacing it with a public plaza that creates a more welcoming atmosphere and a stronger connection to El Pueblo.


The Union Station Master Plan will guide future development of the station to help it become an even greater destination. This conceptual animation offers a glimpse of how the station may evolve over the years to come.

A look at the future of LA Union Station



Showing the latest posts relating to: Union Station Master Plan

Gastropub proposed for Fred Harvey Room at Los Angeles Union Station!
Posted by Steve Hymon on September 15, 2014 9:18 am
Some exciting news to pass along this morning: The Metro Board of Directors this month will be considering a lease for a new gastropub to be located in the Fred Harvey Room at Los Angeles ...
Metro Presents: PARK(ing) Day at Union Station on September 19
Posted by Anna Chen on September 12, 2014 10:38 am
Los Angeles themed Lotería cards Leave your cars in park and join Metro for PARK(ing) Day at Union Station on Friday, September 19. From noon to 5 p.m.artist Alexis Disselkoen will create a ...
Transportation headlines, Thursday, Sept. 11
Posted by Steve Hymon on September 11, 2014 11:38 am
Have a transportation-related article you think should be included in headlines? Drop me an email! And don’t forget, Metro is on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Pick your social media ...
One Day in LA video looks into the future of Union Station
Posted by Anna Chen on August 14, 2014 12:41 pm
A nice, short video on beautiful Union Station by FORM follows FUNCTION. The video interviews Metro Deputy Executive Officer Jenna Hornstock, who provides a brief overview of the Los ...
Connect US seeks to better link Union Station to neighborhoods via new esplanades and bike paths
Posted by Steve Hymon on July 23, 2014 11:10 am
View this document on Scribd As most of you likely know, Metro has been developing the Union Station Master Plan to preserve the historic train depot while also renovating it and redeveloping parts ...
Transportation headlines, Wednesday, July 2
Posted by Steve Hymon on July 2, 2014 9:58 am
Have a transportation-related article you think should be included in headlines? Drop me an email! And don’t forget, Metro is on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Pick your social media ...
Reflections on Union Station: an essay by John C. Arroyo
Posted by Heidi Zeller on June 25, 2014 3:32 pm
On the occasion of Union Station’s 75th anniversary, Metro created a special commemorative publication, Union Station: 75 Years in the Heart of LA, featuring eight written and five photographic ...
Transportation headlines, Wednesday, June 4
Posted by Steve Hymon on June 4, 2014 10:36 am
Have a transportation-related article you think should be included in headlines? Drop me an email! And don’t forget, Metro is on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Pick your social media ...
Transportation headlines, Tuesday, June 3
Posted by Steve Hymon on June 3, 2014 9:55 am
Have a transportation-related article you think should be included in headlines? Drop me an email! And don’t forget, Metro is on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Pick your social media ...
More details and renderings on the evolving Union Station Master Plan
Posted by Steve Hymon on June 2, 2014 8:04 pm
A rendering of the Union Station property in the future after the Master Plan is implemented. Click above to see larger. This rendering shows the new concourse and bus plaza, which would move from ...

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