Southern California Planning Congress
Event Summary – January 2015
The January event was a follow-up of an earlier one on initial visioning for the Union Station Master Plan. Now that the project is in a more advanced design stage, the event provided a good opportunity to learn more about the Plan’s progress.
Bob Fazio, the SCPC Vice President of Programs, introduced the speaker and project, giving some background on Union Station and its prominence in Los Angeles history and in the current transportation network.
Guest speaker Elizabeth Carvajal, Transportation Planning Manager at the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, gave an overview of the project’s status. She also went through in detail a video animation of the various project components and how they would overlap as implementation progresses.
The project, in its current form, has the following goals:
- Celebrate the site’s history
- Improve the Union Station passenger experience
- Create a great destination
- Prepare for High Speed Rail
The project embraces and preserves the historical terminal/station building, while greatly improving the design, airiness, and physical pedestrian travel capacity of the main east-west circulation hall (which is currently a tunnel under the station tracks). The station tracks will be raised to a second level to accommodate this improved circulation network. The pedestrian pathways will be open to daylight in many areas and will include seating and services, improving upon the utilitarian nature of the current tunnel.
Joint development will be promoted anew, to provide commercial office and other uses at this commuter hub. High speed rail, if completed to the Union Station site, would be accommodated within an adjacent facility to the east.
The project video illustrates how many of the new project elements would come together. Project construction will potentially involve the removal of some existing buildings and facilities, including the east portal adjacent to the Patsaouras Transit Plaza, and the Plaza itself. A new centralized facility will be provided immediately to the east of the main station building, providing better vehicle and pedestrian access.
We look forward to seeing this grand station develop into a less isolated and better-linked node in our transportation infrastructure. The station is now in public hands and we hope it becomes a more welcoming complex for the community at large.