A Bitter Ode to Union Station

10_1_09_delete.jpgKoeppel’s photo essay on Union Station at Flickr is almost as good as this story.

I love this place. It is among the most beautiful train stations in the world, and I’m not
the only one who thinks so. And I feel bad for Union Station, too: for
years – and this may be part of the reason it hasn’t fallen to the wrecking ball – not much
happened here. Amtrak was sleepy before the State of California began funding
it. Bus services was weak. There was no Metro Red Line or Gold Line.
Now, with all that happening, and even more expansion coming in the next decade, L.A.’s primary transit hub actually has to
figure out how to function.

That’s not easy, since it requires the coordination of multiple
agencies, many of which are inexperienced and have yet to
figure out how to successfully build even internal infrastructure.

With that in mind, here’s some tough love – and hints on navigating – the now 70-year-old structure.

GHOST TOWN: The coolest parts of Union Station are roped off,
seemingly closed forever, gathering dust. The old ticketing area at the
station’s front end – an absolute masterpiece of design – is available
only as a movie set. Amtrak’s "new" customer service center is
functional, but artless and even difficult to find, hidden, as it is
behind pillars. The lovely information booth – see above – is also closed
forever. The station belongs to the people of Los Angeles – so why all
this "look, but don’t touch?" But be warning: If you try to sneak into on of the station’s forbidden zones, Homeland Security will probably catch you!

WHAT’S A PORTAL? The station’s back door, also known as the
"East Portal," also known as the Patsouras Transit Plaza, also known as
the Gateway Center, is where lots of buses – but not all – stop. You can’t easily figure out what leaves
from where – or how to get there from where you are. Wherever that is.
Here’s a crib sheet. East side: Flyaway Bus to LAX. Cheap (($6/day)
parking underneath. Freeway and express buses (mostly.) NO taxis. Live
Metrolink ticket both. More elevators than you’ll know what to do with.
A smallish newsstand with limited hours. At the main end of the
station: Amtrak tickets. Food. Clean bathrooms. Car rental. Two
information booths, one sometimes manned. Garden and main
waiting areas. Taxis. Expensive parking ($24/day.) Many local buses
(outside, on Alameda St.) Big newsstand and bagel shop. Good from both
ends: Access to Gold and Red lines.

10_1_09_three_names.jpg

YOU CAN’T GET THERE: I made this rant on my own blog last
month and you can read it in more detail there. My simple question:
why is there no bus service down Sunset Boulevard that stops directly
at Union Station, other than the peak-hours only 704? Sunset/Cesar
Chavez is the station’s northern boundary. It is arguably the city’s
most important thoroughfare, winding, as it does, from the Pacific, all
the way to East Los Angeles. But if you’re trying to get to Union
Station from the west, you end up having to transfer a maddening
half-mile or so from the actual station – the second bus ride, with
waiting time, adds another twenty minutes to the journey. And in
off-hours, the walk can be a little scary (see photo essay.) Why doesn’t a bus
actually go all the way down this big, important avenue all the way to
this big, important train station?

WHERE DO I PARK (MY BIKE?) There are bike lockers at Union Station, but I couldn’t find
them. Metro simply tells you that they’re "there." But even if I had located them, I’d have discovered they’re only available to
long-term renters. Other cities offer day-use bike lockers, or even
bike check facilities. Nobody in the station could tell me,
either. I couldn’t find the bike racks, either. 

WHERE DO I PARK (MY CAR?) There are four lots at Union
Station. The one in front, Lot B, costs $24 daily. You don’t want to
park there. But finding the cheaper parking – Lot D, over by that East
Portal, charges $6/day – isn’t easy. First, there’s are signs that appear to point you to parking (photo essay), but that don’t really lead to any parking or any parking for the public. Four entrances to the correct lot – once you find it – are gated. The sign indicating the actual entrance is so tiny that you need binoculars to read it (Photo essay. Again.) Finally, once
you’ve actually parked, you face a warren of elevators – at least five
– none of which do a good job telling you where they go. This is
awesome if you want to visit the new MTA tower that rises above the East Portal. Not so awesome if you don’t want to miss your train.
(You want the ones to East Portal or Patsouras Transit Plaza. Hit P1
to get to the station directly. Hitting P overshoots you by one story,
but does put you at Flyaway Bus level. The next choice on the elevator
panel was "3." I was afraid to push it.)

HUNGRY: The Traxx Restaurant serves good, pricey food. If you can afford it, and you happen to be around when it is open – which may not
be likely – give it a shot (speaking of shots, the Traxx Bar is open
seven days a week…) Otherwise, you’re stuck with Union Bagels, next
to the newsstand. Not bad, and not terribly overpriced, but be warned:
the service is horribly slow for a place where people are, by definition, in a rush. During peak hours, expect to
miss your train if you’ve allotted less than twenty minutes from the
time you queue up to order and when your coffee and
poppy-seed-with-a-schmear actually arrives. One place you won’t be able to eat is the
shuttered Harvey House restaurant on the station’s south side. Amble
over and stare at this gorgeously preserved, off-limits artifact of a
chain that once offered convenient, elegant dining at railway depots
across the West.

SIGNAGE HIJINKS IN UNION STATION and more tips are at the photo essay.

All that said, Union Station remains an absolute essential stop for
anyone interested in Los Angeles history – and all the better if you
actually use it. Even more challenges face the facility over the next
decade, as major track renovations – right now, trains dead end here and have to make a reverse-turnaround to re-exit the station – get
underway in order to accommodate a proposed high-speed rail line that
would get you to San Francisco in under three hours.

Bonus/Related tips:

  • If you need to use the rest room, choose the ones at the center of
    the station, near the Amtrak ticket offices. The east-side restrooms
    are generally pretty gross.
  • When you buy your Amtrak tickets electronically, you are asked
    whether you want to pick up your tickets at the Amtrak machines or the
    Metrolink machines. The implication is that you’ve got an either/or
    situation. Not true, which is good, because there are only three Amtrak
    devices, and finding them is practically a scavenger hunt. But Metrolink’s ticket robots are everywhere. The
    trick? Don’t choose the Metrolink option when purchasing. Opting for
    the Amtrak machines yields you a bar-coded receipt that only they can
    scan – but you can manually enter your Amtrak confirmation number into
    any Metrolink unit.
  • Speaking of Amtrak, the fare to San Diego can be made cheaper if
    you buy a AAA-member ticket (three days in advance.) You probably can
    get away without actually being a member. I’ve never been asked for ID.
  • Speaking of Amtrak, part II: For $14, you can get a
    business-class upgrade. You get, for that, a free drink, some snacks,
    and a reserved seat with power outlets. You don’t need it. There is
    ALWAYS plenty of room on the regular train. The seats and power outlets
    are exactly the same. The free drink (singular) and snacks aren’t worth the moolah. Correction: As one poster pointed out, my evaluation of seating options is very San Diego-bound-centric. Other trains can be packed, in which case a reserved spot might make sense.
  • If you’re super-hungry and the food places are closed, begin your
    quest at the main entrance (Olvera Street’s burrito joints; food carts.) There’s nothing but a horrid Denny’s near
    the East Portal.
  • See more of Union Station in movies – Chinatown and Blade Runner (where it was police headquarters). On television, my favorite appearance was on an old episode of (I suck, I know) Jackass. An unknowing commuter is sitting in the waiting room. First, a cop sites next to him. Then a construction worker. Then an indian chief…
  • Union Station has no official website. You’ll find snippets of info at various agency pages (Amtrak does OK
    with this) as well as at Wikipedia. A straight-ahead search lands you at a Sierra Club page, of all things – and then gets you a ton of links
    for the Washington, D.C. depot of the same name. Here’s the Google maps location.
  • You can live at Union Station, and not just beneath the nearby underpasses. The Mosaic Apartments
    are on-site. Studios start at $1,600. I’m not sure which option is better.

And this:

Bottom line is that you’re going to have a very hard time figuring
out if or whether your train has arrived unless you are sitting on top
of an Amtrak agent. Do not, therefore, repose in either the gorgeous
waiting room or the outdoor garden. Instead, waiting in the signed
"check-in area." (See the photos.) Even there, the giant, digital arrivals/departure board is merciless; it will not
show that your train is boarding, nor will it give you a track number.
But a very friendly agent – seriously, I’ve never met nicer, more
helpful real people in a transit system – will be happy to help you, if you can find one. (Best advice I’ve ever gotten: "The 7:20? RUN!")  That somewhat makes up for the
lack of clear info.

  • Wow. Fantastic summary of the current state of Union Station, Dan. While it’s nice to see it functioning, and seasoned transit riders can learn to manage its “idiosyncrasies”, I hope in the future full advantage is taken of all the fantastic space has to offer.

    One pet peeve I have is that digital arrivals/departures board, beyond that it’s often missing some key information, is that there’s only one of them! What about transit riders arriving from the East Plaza? Why must we trek all the way down the tunnel to check out the arrival/departure screen? FML.

  • David Galvan

    Thanks for the tip regarding buying amtrak tickets online. I guess I will choose the Amtrak machine option from now on. Kind of counterintuitive, given there are fewer Amtrak machines, but as long as I can always enter the conf # into a metrolink machine, I guess I’m covered.

  • M

    I actually have been on Amtrak trains (and buses) that are packed, with every single seat filled in the middle of a non-holiday week. I also have never been able to buy weekend tickets for the Amtrak going out to Palm Springs in the years I’ve had family live out in that direction. Union Station to Palm Springs is always sold out, even a month in advance. Then again maybe you were just talking about the Amtrak trains to San Diego….

  • Dan K.

    Thanks, M. To clarify, I was talking about the Surfliner to San Diego. Bad on me for implying that the only Amtrak train I take is the only Amtrak train. (I’ve corrected the post…)

  • KinOfCain

    Is there any effort ongoing to get the station redesigned? It’s going to need to be completely revamped for both the high speed rail system and the metrolink through tracks.

    If not, we should start one.

  • Erik G.

    A huge part of the issue with LAUS is that it is not owned by Amtrak or Metrolink or LA Metro; it is owned by Catellus, a corporate decendant of the Southern Pacific and Sante Fe railroads. Hence the poor signage and multiple policing (small P)jurisdictions of LASD and Catellus security all within the second largest transportation facility in the city of Los Angeles (think LAPD).

    Also, please be careful with the above mentioned Amtrak.com choosing of the Amtrak QuikTrak machine versus the Metrolink TVM. Six months ago I booked a trip (and therefore purchased) a ticket on the unreserved Surfliner to San Diego. I chose to pick up at an Amtrak QuikTrak, but then tried to pick up the tickets at a closer-to-home Metrolink TVM; when I did so, the Metrolink TVM would not dispense the ticket and instead spit out, on its credit card receipt paper, a message telling me that my ticket was cancelled and I would have to write to Amtrak ticketing in Philadelphia to get my money back.

    Why there is no QuikTrak in the East Portal is yet another example that Amtrak is run by twits.

    P.S. There is an extra Metrolink TVM outside at the south end of the track 5/6 platform.

  • kevin

    Great post. I’ve always been surprised more hasn’t been done to union station. With the number of folks going through there everyday, I’m surprised there isn’t more options for food. I’ve always thought a new restaurant in the old Harvey House space. LAUS could use something a little more formal than union bagel but more relaxed than Traxx.

    I very surprised the Metrolink machines even do amtrak tickets, it makes the machines more complex and takes people much longer to complete a transacation than it otherwise could. When traveling amtrak, I always pick up from the QuickTrak Machine. There is rarely a line, and if you’ve got the barcode to scan, you’ve got your ticket in ten seconds.

    Although getting all the different agencies to work together would probably be hard, what they need is to hire some folks that can give information on everything. People who don’t travel regularly don’t know the difference between Metro, Metrolink, and Amtrak, and I’ve seen people go to three different windows and never get their question answered. at the very least, someone could make a little flyer that explains who is responsible for waht and tells your which window to go to.

    I’m sure Amtrak employees are tired on being asked how to get to long beach on the blue line and metrolink employees shouldn’t have to constantly explain why you can’t buy a metrolink ticket to San Diego.

    Another pamplet should explain all the different busses that serve union station are.

  • Robert

    I love Union Station. I remember it from 20 years ago…there is so much more energy there today. I was wondering if the MWD buiding adjacent to Union Station has a cafeteria open to the public.

    My biggest complaint is trying to get back to Orange County via train after 6:30 PM. Amtrak trains come from up north and are very unreliable. Metrolink stops at 6:30. It really is crazy. I have had to take the bus too many times to get to San Juan Capistrano because there is no train. Metrolink doesn’t care..I mean how many people would like to take a later train? I think Union Station could see even more business if our trains would evolve. LA should be thankful for light rail and the red line. They are pretty reliable!

  • If you’re in the neighborhood, Union Station is lovely decorated for the holidays. They put up a giant tree near the main entrance, and wreaths and garlands with lights all around. Its amusing that the snowman has become a popular motif in public holiday decor in California; I suppose because its secular. I took several photos of Union Station last year for my photoblog Munjeli Fotobox decorated for the season. It’s a natural target since my photos were mostly of downtown architecture, plus a series on Metro stations..

  • dude

    Are you sure the bar is open 7 days a week? I’ve missed a Sunday train only to have limited options for an hour or two. You should mention that Olvera Street is right across Alameda and is good for a snack or to walk around if you have a half hour or more to kill.

  • “The station belongs to the people of Los Angeles – so why all this “look, but don’t touch?””

    Because the more parts of it that are used the more maintenance costs that will be incurred. Why use the old ticket lobby if the current one works just as well and you can rent out the place to film producers? I doubt there is much demand for that ticket lobby as a functional room. There are plenty of ticket machines around for Metrolink and Amtrak. You can always go on a tour with the LA Conservancy if you are so inclined.

    Personally, aside from the fact that it could use some better signage, I love Union Station. I personally (remember, I said personally), never use taxis or park there, so I don’t care about those things. It’s not so bad that it doesn’t have more places to eat. I probably wouldn’t visit them anyway. They would likely cater to commuters anyway and mark up the prices appropriately.

  • Nathanael

    Currently there are no plans to improve the place.

    If the number of passengers increases enough, there will be. That’s how it works.

    Unfortunately, at that point Catellus will demand an arm and a leg for the location. A smart LA City or County would buy it now (and improve the signage)

  • Josephine

    Next door to Union Station Courtyard, there is Water and Power Cafeteria. It’s open to the public for breakfast and lunch on weekdays. You need to sign in before eating there. They have daily specials and they make very good salads, burgers w/fries, sandwiches, and etc. They also accept credit cards too.

  • It’s a very good, very fun article about an incredible place I really love. When I connect between Red and Gold Line trains, I make a point of walking into the old station… it’s a great space.

    One thing that might be worth touching on that I didn’t see is some of the dubious… frankly racist… history of L.A. Union Station. The station is situated where L.A.’s thriving Chinatown was located. Due to restrictive laws, Chinese Americans were not allowed to own property (until the 1950’s! in Los Angeles) so they were evicted wholesale to make way for the new station in the late 1920’s and early 1930’s.

    Chinese businesses were promised relocation… into what was then called “New Chinatown” – what we know as just Chinatown today. The city had to kick out the Sonoran immigrants who were already living in present-day Chinatown (many of the Sonorans moved to nearby Chavez Ravine, where they would soon be displaced again – ultimately making space for Dodgers Stadium.) New Chinatown was delayed so relocation didn’t take place until the late 1930’s … businesses were in limbo nearly 10 years which, of course, destroyed or sent many of them away.

    I learned much of this from books… and I couldn’t find the story just now in a quick web search… though a little of it is told here: http://www.cityprojectca.org/blog/archives/1016

    LAUS is still a great space… but it’s important to tell these stories too.

  • And they don’t hide that history. The old Chinatown border is clearly marked on the property.

  • JWalker64

    Great article! BTW, about 15 bike rack spaces DO exist within the MTA building garage. They are located adjacent to the East Portal near the fish tanks.

  • David Galvan

    I got to chime in and agree that I wish Union Station were revitalized. It seems there is a lot of space going unused. Renting out the old ticket-room for filming and parties (I’ve actually been to one) is nice and should be continued, but it would be nice if that space were open to the public as a waiting area or something as well. And that other restaurant and waiting area should be renovated and used as well.

    To be honest, while the architecture is nice and everything, walking through that station is to me like walking through an aging, out-of-style, neglected school or something. If those booths and signs and restaurants and so forth actually worked, it would seem more alive to me. Even the waiting line area for the surfliner just seems so thrown-together and ad hoc. They just set up those “line up here” signs and zip-tape in the middle of the room. I dunno, doesn’t feel like it is being used as efficiently as it could be.

  • Jarrett Mullen

    According to this 1992 video produced by RTD and Catellus, Union Station was to be a very lively place in the future:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BRWeThfv-Js

    Since the future has arrived, not much has changed besides the “bus arroyo” and the LACMTA building. I wonder why the rest of the proposed office buildings and shops were never constructed.

  • MarkB

    If you buy Amtrak tix online and choose the Metrolink TVM option, you can still use QuikTrac if you want to (I’ve done it). For either agency’s TVMs, you don’t have to manually enter a confirmation number: just dip your credit card and it’ll pull up your reservation.

  • Stephen

    The one drawback I noticed about using the barcode method to print your tickets is that they don’t check for anything else, such as last name or credit card used. So if you lose that piece of paper, someone can just take it, scan it, and have tickets printed.

    I also have to say that the Surfliner to San Diego can be very crowded. I’ve stood all the way down to Solana Beach before.

    Also, level 3 takes you to the security gates to get into Metro HQ. FYI, there is also a cafeteria on level 3 which you don’t need to sign in for. But the food is better at MWD, as others suggested.

  • Dan K.

    @spokker: your points are good, but I want the public spaces in Union Station to function as public spaces, and not as movie sets (or wedding venues.) To reopen those areas to real commerce and interchange would set a grand example for a more civic, more human Los Angeles.

    @stephen: You reminded me; the only time the Surfliner was crowded was when there was racing at Del Mar (Solana Beach stop.) Checking to see if the horses are running – and opting for a biz class upgrade – might be a good thing on those days.

    – dan

  • Dan K.

    @stephen, part two:

    And why am I not surprised that MWD’s food is better than Metro’s? (And no jokes about what kind of “fare” one gets from our transit agency. Oops. Sorry.)

  • Jan

    Fantastic post on Union Station – a perfect description of its beauty and charm, along with its maddening quirks (confusing parking lots, too many elevators in the parking lots [with no signage explaining where they go to], only Union Bagel for food, no official website, etc.). I love Union Station, but they don’t make it easy for you to. ;)

  • I put on facebook last night that my freelancers are putting me to shame. Joe and Stephen are churning out articles and this one by Dan is so beautiful. Next week’s writers are going to have a challenge to keep up…

  • This is great piece for a “newbie” guide to LA Transit if you ever want to expand your website.

  • Glen

    After a recent visit the station still looks good and hopefully the old ticket area will reopen for HSR as the current set up will be far too small
    for the all the increased business that will fill the station.

  • Travis

    There are bicycle racks in the parking garage of the Metro tower, just exit the train tunnel level at the half dome portal (east?) via the doorways to the north…. walk north past the loading area to the left and you will find racks with a rather rag-tag collection of bikes to your right between to concrete walls…. note you can’t see this from the north doorway out of the north portal. But there are about 8 racks, so there is always room, just lock extra securely, as there is zero observation of this location.

  • cph

    There used to be another restaurant in Union Station back in the 90’s….it was a branch of one of the Mexican places on Olvera street. Served greasy food, but was another choice.

    Otherwise it’s Traxx (too expensive and froo-froo), Union Bagel (better than it once was, but still kind of limited) or catch-as-catch-can with packaged sandwiches and snacks from one of the newsstands.

    There’s also a lunch truck at the end of the tracks, platform level. It’s not there all the time (never seen it during the mid-afternoon or on weekends), but they sell sodas for $1 a can, rather than the $2.50/bottle just about everywhere else in the station. (Vending machines included).

    Bathrooms are pretty horrid in the station and the portal. The ones in the station proper seem to be looked after a bit better, but are very crowded.
    The ones in the closed-off section (used for private parties, etc.) are
    nice and clean, though. (I was there a couple of years back for an Oscar party)

    Sometimes they have a person in the “Traveler’s Aid” booth near the Alameda street entrance. Mostly during the day and on weekends.

  • “To reopen those areas to real commerce and interchange would set a grand example for a more civic, more human Los Angeles.”

    I don’t disagree. I was just trying to put myself in the shoes of those responsible for maintaining the joint.

  • Union Station was my first impression of LA since my family used to take the train up from San Juan Capistrano for Mexican holidays at Olvera Street. Now that I commute from Koreatown to Irvine on the train, I pass through it many times a week. I love it. Despite the lack of helper personnel Dan notes, I’ve found it pretty easy to use. And I like it when confused co-users of the space ask me about things, especially whether it costs extra to take your bike on Amtrak trains (it doesn’t).

  • Scott Bottles’ book Los Angeles and the Automobile has an entire chapter on the battle over the building of Union Station between the city and the railroads. Quite interesting.

    I long agitated for a kiosk be placed in the Gateway Plaza with a map showing where the various buses that serve the Union Station aea board. Some are on the busway (at Alameda), some on Cavez at Vignes and others go into the Plaza. Finally a year or so ago they placed it adjacent one of the Plaza elevators. Long overdue.

    We are all curious about this new busway loading area adjacent to the Plaza that is supposed to be done as part of the Congestion Pricing project, replqacing the bus stop at Alameda. It will be a center platform with tunnel connecting it to the Plaza. I am not quite sure where the portal for it will be.

  • Forgive my poor spelling. Spent two days staffing a booth at alt car expo. Just starting to recover.

  • mark

    You wrote:

    “Bus services was weak.”

    Grammar much? :-)

  • I should note the new busway loading platform is in lieu of the long delayed Ramirez Flyover that was supposed to link the busway (both directions) with the Plaza.

  • The bike racks are a hassle for first-time visitors to find. The signage is abysmal and I had to talk to four people, including security + someone in customer relations (uh, that’s a point of information for visitors, right?) before I found someone (a Metro communications person who was not Jody Litvak) to escort me to the bike racks. I hope Metro has a really good reason for not having bike racks in front of the main entrance to their building.

  • Erik G.

    Dana, don’t you think they might carve out a portion of the parking garage to link the bus platform to the corridor that runs near the elevator to the East Portal of the Red/Purple Line?

  • JWalker64

    The new Union Station El Monte Busway stop will look something like this:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/27717393@N05/3526186713/

  • Bruce Shelton

    Enjoyed your post. I’m an Amtrak conductor assigned to Caltrain (the San Francisco-San Jose equivalent of Metrolink). However, I always enjoy my visits as a passenger/visitor to LAUS. I, too, have often wondered why they have not leased out the former Fred Harvey restaurant space. It presently represents merely lost revenue to the station owner (Catellus) and the city of L.A. The station itself is, both architecturally and historically, one of the truly great edifices in Los Angeles…a civic treasure if ever there was one!

  • There was talk earlier this year of Famima (a mini mart a la 7-11) opening at Union Station. Anyone know if that is still in the offing?

    http://www.famima-usa.com/

  • cph

    Re: Fred Harvey Restaurant:

    Was there an issue with it being a historical site, making it difficult to bring it up to current restaurant safety codes?

  • This blog, definitely part of the greater good. Thank you for the excellent photos and commentary. Really helpful.

    Most of what’s wrong with LA MTA (such as having to walk through the freeway under-tunnel to get to west-moving buses from LAUS) is simple classism. Money moved west and farther west in LA and that money doesn’t want impecunious gang-bangers coming up from MX to LAUS by rail and being able to head west on the bus along Sunset to Brentwood & the Palisades — at least without being very visible in so doing. Same reason in reverse, it has been rumored in LA that certain stops on bus routes have changed due to which muckety-mucks’ female domestics needed a better way to get to and from cleaning rich dudes’ mansions.

    Classism: Also why we’re unlikely to see the LA subway out to the beach any time soon.

    Haven’t lived in LA for a few years, and not sure what the bus riders union is doing about (or can do about) any of this. But until the greed/fear bases of too many of the MTA decisions can be seen for what they are and transcended, then good energy from decent people simply seeking decent mass transit is squandered in hand wringing.

    Certainly the reigning powers know how asinine it is to have to walk through the under-tunnel to catch a west-moving bus from LAUS when Sunset/Chavez runs right to the station. Certainly calling the reigning powers on their hypocrisy might make a difference, if enough people join their voices peacefully but persistently. I have a car, no criminal record and no need to be transported to anybody’s mansion, but only a simple desire to use mass transit. I, like you, deserve more than the reigning smiles and lying eyes.

  • James Fujita

    I would love to see Famima!! (that’s the American branch of Family Mart in Japan) at Union Station.

    I don’t know where they would have room to put it, but it seems very appropriate to have a Japanese mini-mart at such a transit-oriented location as Union Station.

    I love Union Station and I think I would be very, very cautious about doing anything that would change the nature of the place, but I do agree that it seems like there ought to be room for some retail. Maybe in the less historic parts, like in the back or the East Portal?

  • “Classism: Also why we’re unlikely to see the LA subway out to the beach any time soon.”

    Uh, no one really opposes the subway anymore. The biggest issue is money, not classism. Beverly Hills wants a station now. When it’s finally built I’m going to go steal some TVs using the new station as my “getaway car.”

  • London, which is also a sprawl, has several “Union Stations”, where commuter rails meet the tubes: Paddington, Liverpool Street, King’s Cross, Victoria, Charing Cross, etc.

    I would love to see a second “Union Station” near LAX, where Metrolink (via Harbor Sudivision) can meet light rail (Green, Crenshaw, Sepulveda) and a large bus depot.

  • When is the to built it up underground to the lower level of the groundbreaking to under construction is coming soon @ Los Angeles Union Station and also to built it up new McDonald’s Restaurant of the Full Service Dine-In Restaurant is will be opening next Summer of August 2012 to visit web at http://www.mcdonalds.com after to exit off the Metrolink, Metro Red Line, Metro Gold Line, Amtrak, LADOT, Foothill Transit, Metro Rapid, OCTA and Greyhound?

  • When is the new elevator is going downstairs to McDonald’s Restaurant of the lower level and i love working at McDonald’s?

  • coming soon in Los Angeles Union Station of the new sign of McDonald’s Restaurant!

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New Twist Enlivens Old Station

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What are the most significant 2010 on-the-ground improvements for Los Angeles’ green transportation? At-grade Exposition Line rail crossings? The city of Los Angeles’ first sharrows? Sixty-thousand-plus Angelenos walking, biking and skating the first CicLAvia? Janette Sadik-Khan‘s visit for the L.A. Street Summit? A shattered elbow leading to another summit? The Backbone Bikeway Network making it into the city’s Bike Plan? Wilshire Boulevard Bus-Only lanes lumping […]
Preliminary rendering of future double-deck light rail tracks at Union Station, with the Gold Line below the future West Santa Ana Branch rail. Image via Metro staff presentation

Metro Board To Vote On “Link US” Union Station Run-Through Tracks

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Tomorrow, the Metro board will be voting on a recommended alternative for future run-through tracks at Union Station. (Update: on 2/23 the Metro board voted to postpone/continue the item.) The new loop tracks would extend Union Station’s existing stub-end tracks. The project will include tracks running on a new wide 101 Freeway bridge just east of the existing […]