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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 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.

Project Goals

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.

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 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. 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.
  • Cesar Chavez Bus Stop Improvements: Metro was awarded $1.6 million (and committed a $400,000 match) to improve the four bus stops on Cesar Chavez between Alameda and Vignes, and to create a transit pavilions and bike station at the corner of Chavez and Vignes. These improvements are part of the Stage 1 improvement plans and Metro is taking steps to kick off the planning process.
  • 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

Metro and Morlin Asset Management, LP submitted an application for awards to both the Los Angeles Conservancy and the Los Angeles Business Council. The focus of the applications are the restoration and maintenance work recently completed at the station. The awards are selected by an independent jury of distinguished architects, preservation professionals, and business and community leaders.

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.

Showing the latest posts relating to: Union Station Master Plan

Go Metro Weekends, March 27-29
Posted by Lexi Hinton on March 27, 2015 5:31 am
Friday Triple Chicken Foot, a three-member Folk band known for playing foot stomping, fiddle and banjo tunes, will perform two 45-minute sets Friday evening at Union Station. The trio has ...
Go Metro Weekends, March 13 – 15
Posted by Lexi Hinton on March 13, 2015 6:20 am
Historical Egyptian Theatre via Egytian Theatre Official Facebook. Friday Metro Presents showcases art and cultural programs for all ages, and this Friday you and your family can enjoy a live slide ...
2014: A milestone year for Metro
Posted by Steve Hymon on December 23, 2014 6:09 pm
Click on photos to see larger versions please By almost any measure, 2014 was a pretty remarkable one for ...
Metro Board approves Union Station Master Plan, allowing near-term projects to go forward
Posted by Dave Sotero on October 23, 2014 12:40 pm
The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board of Directors today approved actions to officially move the Union Station Master Plan, an ambitious long-range roadmap for ...
Transportation headlines, Wednesday, October 1
Posted by Steve Hymon on October 1, 2014 10:08 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 ...
Metro seeks OK to move Union Station Master Plan from planning to implementation
Posted by Dave Sotero on September 17, 2014 1:17 pm
The Metro Board this month will consider recommendations for finalizing and implementing the ambitious Union Station Master Plan. That process begins Wednesday at the Board’s Planning ...
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 ...

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