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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 establishes Metro’s vision and plan to guide future development at the station, including transit operations and new private and/or public real estate development.
Celebrate the site’s history
The Master Plan celebrates the station and embraces 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 wayfinding signage, improved transfers and expanded services -- have been designed to enhance each passenger’s visit.
Create a great destination
Building on the significant attributes of Union Station, the Master Plan shapes 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 initiated a separate study to look specifically at pedestrian and bicycle improvements in the areas around Union station. This Connect US Action Plan (formerly the Linkages Study) was closely coordinated with the Union Station Master Plan.
|June 2012||Consultant contract award|
|September 2012||Project kick-off|
|Fall 2012||Data collection and analysis
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 to authorize moving the project from the planning phase to the implementation phase|
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 other 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, Los Angeles River, 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.
In October of 2014, the Metro Board of Directors approved moving the USMP from planning to implementation, view presentation here. Since then, Metro has focused on initial implementation activities, listed below:
- Program EIR: The Countywide Planning Department has initiated the process to procure a qualified consultant to prepare a Programmatic Environmental Impact Report (PEIR) for the Union Station Master Plan. The PEIR process will kick off late Spring 2015 and Metro will keep stakeholders apprised of the process and opportunities to participate.
- Stage 1 Perimeter Improvements: The Los Angeles City Council approved Motion 15-0075 calling for relevant City departments to work with Metro on developing a strategy to implement the USMP Stage 1 Perimeter Improvements. An initial has been held and a working group of relevant City departments has been formed.
- Bike Hub: Metro’s bike planning team is working on plans to implement a new bike hub at Union Station, funded by $1.2 million in grants and that will provide storage and parking for 300 bikes, a retail space and a training room.
- Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP): Metro is in the process of updating the Long Range transportation Plan, and the transit improvements in the USMP are being submitted for inclusion. Inclusion in the LRTP is required in order to compete for federal funding.
Even More Eateries Slated for Los Angeles Union Station
Even more leases have been signed for Union Station, bringing a variety of new food options.
Cedd Moses and Eric Needleman, who have been very successful with other downtown Los Angeles bars and eateries, including Seven Grand, Honeycut, Casey’s Irish Pub, Broadway Bar and Varnish and will now be transforming the Fred Harvey Restaurant into the a new gastropub, 213 Spirits, Inc. The restoration will pay careful attention to preserving the historic features of the space, working with an historic preservation architect, and will offer indoor and outdoor seating options. Spirits 213, Inc. is anticipated to open in spring 2016.
Café Crepe will be occupying the former Union Bagel space, directly across from Traxx. Café Crepe will include seating areas within the historic station as well as the South Patio. The diverse menu will offer breakfast, lunch, and dinner with favorites like burgers, salads, sandwiches, and desserts. Café Crepe is expected to open in Summer 2015.
In addition, several smaller kiosks will be opening in Union Station East including:
- Oto-Oto (Japanese cuisine and bento box options)
- Green Bowl to Go (Custom salads and various wraps)
- Press Brothers Juicery (Pressed juice options that will be prepackaged and sold for a quick grab and go)
- Barista Society (Coffee boutique that features and services multi-roaster coffees, organic teas and fresh baked pastries)
Recognizing Historic Los Angeles Union Station
A Historic Structures Report (HSR) was prepared for Los Angeles Union Station to catalogue the developmental history of the station and recommendations for treatment and work. The HSR will be a key resource for any improvements in and around the station.
The LA Union Station Master Plan
The Union Station Master Plan will guide future development of the station to help it become an even greater destination. The Union Station Master Plan will optimize transit operations, enhance the historic site, and bring new development and activities to the station.
A look at the future of LA Union Station
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.
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