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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. 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 Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) purchased the iconic downtown LA station in 2011 and shortly thereafter initiated the preparation of the Union Station Master Plan. Gruen Associates was selected as the prime consultant, with Grimshaw Architects as the design lead to prepare the Union Station Master Plan. The team included 20 subconsultants with a variety of expertise, and the master planning process took place between 2012 and 2014. The process was informed by several stakeholder meetings, workshops, and presentations to the Board of Directors. The final master plan was presented to the Board of Directors in October 2014.
The Union Station Master Plan is a long range, visionary plan that establishes the framework for transforming Los Angeles Union Station into a world-class transportation facility.
In addition, a detailed description of the process, analysis, recommendations, and implementation strategies proposed in the Union Station Master Plan (USMP) are described in the Transforming Los Angeles Union Station (19.8 mb) Summary Report.
The USMP was developed with three programmatic goals: transit optimization, destination, and connectivity. Each are described in greater detail below:
The Union Station Master Plan (USMP) is firmly grounded in the first, and arguably the most critical program goal; transit optimization. Los Angeles Union Station (LAUS) is Southern California's premier transportation hub and as part of the USMP, it was critical to ensure that LAUS was positioned to meet current and future transit needs. The USMP includes three key transit improvements that will modernize the station to meet current and future transit needs: a new expanded, multi-modal passenger concourse, the relocation of Patsaouras Bus Plaza to the west of the rail yard and the consolidation of bus operations at the new plaza, and the seamless integration of High Speed Rail.
The second program goal is focused on making LAUS a great destination for transit riders and other visitors alike. The USMP includes the reinvigoration of the historic station and its courtyards, prioritizes sustainability, and includes a 3.25 million square foot development program that will attract an array of uses and activities to LAUS.
The third program goal is driven by multi-modal connectivity; improving how people get around within the station as well as how the station connects to surrounding neighborhoods. The USMP includes a series of ground-level pedestrian and bicycle connections throughout the site as well as a series of plazas and terraces that will link people to bus and rail service, bicycle facilities, and other on-site amenities. In addition, the first implementation measure of the USMP includes perimeter improvements on Alameda Street and Los Angeles Street that are focused on formalizing a physical connection between LAUS and El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument, directly across the street.
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 be closely coordinated with the Union Station Master Plan.
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 procured Kleinfelder to prepare a Programmatic Environmental Impact Report (PEIR) for the Union Station Master Plan. The PEIR process was initiated in summer of 2015. 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. Metro received a $1 million Prop A grant from the Los Angeles County Regional Park and Open Space District to improve Father Serra Park and the connections between the park, El Pueblo and Los Angeles Union Station. In addition, in collaboration with the City of Los Angeles, Metro submitted and was awarded a $12.3 million Caltrans Active Transportation Program Cycle 2 grant for the Alameda Esplanade component of the Stage 1 Perimeter Improvements.
- Transforming Los Angeles Union Station: Metro has released Transforming Los Angeles Union Station, a Summary Report that succinctly encapsulates the two-year USMP planning process, including substantial data analysis, stakeholder engagement, key findings, alternatives analysis, final recommendations, and an implementation strategy.
- Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP): Staff has initiated the process for including the USMP transit improvements in the LRTP. Inclusion in the LRTP is required to compete for federal funding.
|October 2014||Metro Board of Directors authorized moving the USMP from the planning phase into the implementation phase..|
|December 2014||Councilmember Jose Huizar (Council District 14) introduced Motion # for Stage 1 Metro and City coordination.|
|January 2015||Initiated the process for including the USMP in the Long Range Transportation Plan, a key step toward securing funding for the transit improvements identified in the plan.|
|May 2015||Metro executed an agreement with the Los Angeles County Regional Park and Open Space District for a $1 million Prop A grant to improve Father Serra Park and the connections from the Park to Los Angeles Union Station and El Pueblo.|
|June 2015||Initiated preparation of Programmatic Environmental Impact Report|
|June 2015||Metro submitted Active Transportation Program Cycle 2 grant applications for the Stage 1 Perimeter Improvements.|
|September 2015||Preliminary Caltrans staff recommendation to fund the Alameda Esplanade.|
|October 2015||California Transportation Commission (CTC) approved funding the Alameda Esplanade as part of the ATP Cycle 2 grant program.|
|October 2015||Metro Board to consider a recommendation expanding the SCRIP project description to include the expanded multi-modal concourse proposed in the USMP; SCRIP would then take concourse design to 35% design and pursue CEQA and NEPA clearance.|
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 - UPDATED
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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