Downtown L.A. 7th Street Subway Station Opens New Tunnel to The Bloc

Dignitaries officially opened Metro's new station exit into The Bloc this morning. Image via @metrolosangeles Twitter
Dignitaries officially opened Metro's new station exit into The Bloc this morning. Image via @metrolosangeles Twitter

This morning, a new tunnel opened connecting Metro’s 7th Street Station with The Bloc shopping center complex. Metro riders no longer need to cross a busy 7th Street at street level, but can ascend into the mall on the south side of the street. These sorts of subway access points are fairly common in east coast cities, but the new tunnel represents the L.A. Metro rail system’s first exit directly into a private business site.

Metro, in the 1990s, had the foresight to build its underground stations with knock-out panels to facilitate these types of expansion. A similar panel was removed to make way for Metro’s recently-opened North Hollywood Station underpass.

Metro's new 7th Street tunnel is open. Photo: Joel Epstein
Metro’s new 7th Street tunnel is open. Photo: Joel Epstein

The 25-foot tunnel cost $9.3 million. In a public-private partnership, the cost was split between Metro and The Bloc. Under the terms of the partnership, the Bloc is responsible for keeping the tunnel open to the public from at least 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

The Bloc was formerly Macy’s Plaza, a never-quite-thriving 1972 mall. The site was redeveloped by The Ratkovich Company, with partners National Real Estate Advisors, Blue Vista Capital, and Studio One Eleven. It is in the final stages of a $180 million renovation which included removing the roof to create an open-air plaza. The overall project includes office and residential towers, the Sheraton Grand Hotel, and large parking structures. Ratkovich has developed (and preserved) several wonderful L.A. historic sites, including the Oviatt Building, the Fine Arts Building, the Chapman Market, and the Wiltern Theater.

The downtown Los Angeles 7th Street Station serves Metro’s Blue, Expo, Red, and Purple Lines. It is the second-busiest station in the Metro system, after Union Station. With the opening of the under-construction Regional Connector subway (set for 2021), the station will get even busier.

On hand to celebrate the tunnel this morning were actor Ed Begley, Jr., Metro board chair John Fasana, City Councilmember José Huizar, Metro boardmember Jackie Dupont-Walker, The Ratkovich Company president Wayne Ratkovich, and others. Speakers emphasized the win-win benefits of the tunnel which expands Metro’s station capacity, and improves foot traffic for The Bloc. Huizar spoke of how the project fits the walkable, bikeable character emerging downtown, emphasizing that in the future, 7th Street will be remade to give transit and active transportation higher priority, and, in the not too distant future, the downtown streetcar will return.

The Bloc’s renovation and the Metro tunnel construction have taken longer than expected. In early 2015, the tunnel was anticipated to open later that year. This morning, two years later, the tunnel and many stores are open. Several storefronts remain boarded up but are expected to open soon.



Take a video tour of the new tunnel here.

7 thoughts on Downtown L.A. 7th Street Subway Station Opens New Tunnel to The Bloc

  1. Nice to see a new station entrance. Remember, Tokyo has an entire station named Mitsukoshimae – literally means “in front of Mitsukoshi” (major department store).

  2. And with this new exit comes an elevator that the Hope entrance users can access. So the station is now sort of fully ADA accessible. At least from 6 am to 10 pm.

  3. $9 million? Go ahead, justify that. What, nobody can use a freakin’ crosswalk? This is getting really pathetic.

  4. The station was already under the edge of the south sidewalk of 7th. Most all of the money went to extending the basement of Macy’s Plaza (The Bloc) to the station. For a small price, Metro got a (basically) fully ADA station. Those in wheelchairs had much further to travel before this. Unless you also view the disabled as “pathetic”?

  5. Do you use the 7th St station? Or are you one of the drivers who menace pedestrians when they walk to and from the north side of 7th St going to and from the train.

    We could make back 9 million in a month ticketing scofflaw drivers on 7th St but they seem to be a protected class who are given a pass on law breaking.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Metro Tunnel Under DTLA 7th Street Expected Complete Late 2015

Step aside, North Hollywood. Keep chugging along, Purple and Crenshaw lines, and Regional Connector. Wait a while, preferably a long, long while, South Pasadena. The first of new Metro’s new tunnels underway is expected to be completed late this year. It will be under 7th Street in downtown Los Angeles. It may not be long or expensive, but it […]

Today’s Headlines

Should the Purple Line Subway Go All the Way To Santa Monica? (Urbanize) Foothill Gold Line To Montclair Delayed Two Years (SGV Tribune) L.A. City Council Moves To Legalize Street Vending (LAT) More Criticism Of L.A.’s Vision Zero Action Plan (Biking in L.A.) Fashion District Los Angeles Street Ped Improvements Underway (Urbanize) Adventures In North Hollywood […]

Today’s Headlines

The national network of Streetsblog sites are pleased to be upgrading site designs and functionality today. There will be some brief interruptions of service, and by the end of the day, SBLA will have a new look including new mobile-friendly features. A Push To Legalize Street Vending In L.A. (NYT) Palos Verdes Cyclists Stage Die-In To Push […]

Today’s Headlines

Metro Plans To Crack Down On Seat-Hogging (KPCC) Carnage: Red-Light Running Driver Crashes Into Van, Kills Person (LAT) Deadly Hit-and-Run Crash In Glendale Kills 81-Year-Old Pedestrian (ABC7) Strava App Under Criticism In Doping Scandal (LAT) Bus Or Train Passenger Conversations Being Recorded For Security (KPCC) LAT Opinion Asks How CA High-Speed Rail Will Get To L.A. […]

Metro Studying Arts District Red/Purple Line Subway Extension

Metro’s outgoing CEO Art Leahy spoke enthusiastically at last week’s Metro board Planning and Programming Committee about potentially extending the Red and Purple Line subways into the Downtown Los Angeles Arts District. The new station or stations would take advantage of existing tracks in Metro’s Heavy Rail Maintenance Yard, which extends southeast of Union Station, sandwiched between […]

Metro Lowers ‘Angeli’ the Regional Connector Tunnel Boring Machine

This morning, Metro celebrated the ceremonial naming and lowering of the Regional Connector subway tunnel boring machine. Metro’s newest TBM – another is currently tunneling portions of Metro’s Crenshaw/LAX light rail line – is named “Angeli.” The winning name was proposed by Windsor McInerny, a student at Woodrow Wilson High School. McInerny was joined by […]