'Haltrans' Details Future Plans For LA's Union Station - New York News

'Haltrans' Details Future Plans For LA's Union Station

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Union Station will be 75 years old next year and there will be various birthday celebrations, but LA's second largest transportation hub (LAX is number one) will be going through some changes to handle the city's changing transportation needs.

METRO spokesman Dave Sotero says 10 years ago the place may have seemed like a ghost town, but now with all of the new transit expansions some 75,000 people go thru Union Station each day. People moving systems are only going to expand in the future and the belief is that as they do an increasing number of people will take advantage of them. This means expanding areas for busses, trains...even future planned high speed rail.

While much is still on the drawing boards METRO has been holding community meetings to get input on ideas which include making the station more pedestrian and bike friendly in the front, expanding rail yards above and under ground and even making Union Station more like New York's Grand Central Station with shops and restaurants.

There are still many unanswered questions. The hub expansion project is needed. But, funding still needs to be sought. What's going on now is all of the planning.

From Hal Eisner:

I'm standing on Track 1 at Union Station. Two Gold Line trains go by. There's a Metrolink. Lots of people. It's a normal day at LA's second biggest hub. LAX is #1. Problem is that Union Station, which will be 75 next year (Happy Birthday!) isn't big enough to handle the growth. When it opened to the public in 1939 Union Station was designed to handle 6000 people. As the need grew additional space was created, but at times it's bulging at the seams. Daily, the number of people through here totals about 80,000. And, in 5 to 10 years it could top 100,000.

To deal with the anticipated growth METRO, which bought the historical building in 2011, plans to build on to the historically protected part. More tracks, more tunnel space for passengers to get to the tracks and more space for more busses. This is a project that will be handled a piece here and a piece there, but METRO's Roger Moliere and Jenna Hornstock say lots of people are involved in the planning stages right now. All kinds of ideas are being floated and presented at community meetings. 

Moliere says some of the ideas being floated to improve movement of people and people movers involve building underground and elevated systems among other things. Hornstock says it's an exciting time, but there's a lot of hard work including finding funding. But, this is a project they say is needed because the growth of LA's transit system isn't slowing down.

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