Regional Connector Updates Kick Off Later This Morning
It may be less than 2 miles long, but the Regional Connector is hailed by many as the most important of all the Measure R transit projects. When we last checked in, the Metro Board of Directors had voted for a fully underground Light Rail line that will connect the Gold Line to the Blue Line and future Expo Line. Today, Metro staff will update the public on how the project is proceeding, including how to attract riders that would have accessed transit on the Fifth Street Station that will likely not be included in the project.
The first community update meeting will be held at 11:30 this morning at the Colburn School at 200 South Grand Street. Two more meetings will be held next week at the Japanese American National Museum on Wednesday, June 29 and Thursday, June 30. Get all the meeting details at the Streetsblog calendar section.
The main hurdle to construction of the line was opposition from the Little Tokyo community who worried that at-grade transit and stations would disrupt their community. The Metro vote last year erased those concerns, and Metro staff unveiled the Little Tokyo station design back in January to the approval of the community. The new station would replace the existing Gold Line Station with an underground station connecting the two lines.
Blog Downtown notes one other change that will be addressed at the meetings:
Also new since the October decision is design sketches for the Broad art museum, which includes a plaza that would wrap around the structure and would need to be integrated with the proposed Regional Connector station at 2nd and Hope.
Moving forward, Metro staff hope to complete their environmental studies in the next three months so the Metro Board can certify the findings before the end of the year. Despite selecting the underground light rail route as the “Locally Preferred Alternative,” the Board can still change its mind as we’ve seen with other projects such as the Wilshire Bus-Only Lanes.