Eyes on the Street: Universal City Ped Bridge Nearly Ready For Its Close-Up

Metro's new Universal City bridge is nearly complete. Photos by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.
Metro’s new Universal City bridge will be finished in a month. Photos by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

Universal Studios is a month away from the April 7 grand opening for their new Harry Potter attraction “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.” CEO Phil Washington has pledged that Metro will serve Harry Potter fans by completing its $27 million pedestrian bridge connecting the Metro Red Line Universal City Station with Universal Studios.

The project, officially the Universal City/Studio City Station Pedestrian Bridge Project, crosses Lankershim Boulevard. It “[f]acilitates access to all 3 corners of Lankershim and Campo de Cahuenga intersection.” That intersection, of course, has four intersections. The one corner that the bridge misses just happens to serve a half dozen bus lines. The bridge may make pedestrian crossings a little safer, but, by doing away with streetside foot traffic, it signals a wholesale surrender from making street-level Lankershim anything other than a car-choked stroad.

Last week, the overall structure of the bridge was looking nearly complete, but a lot of final construction tasks were still underway. More pictures after the jump. 

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Bridge escalator ramp under construction next to Red Line escalator entrance
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View of bridge structure from the Universal Studios side of Lankershim Boulevard
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Construction workers to show the scale of the new bridge
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The bridge curves behind the Universal Studios marquee sign

It is not quite the Hogwarts Express, and SBLA’s criticism, it is nonetheless good timing to see construction finishing in time to serve Red Line riders next month.

  • Joe

    I have mixed feelings about this bridge. On the one hand, I see how an underground portal connecting the subway mezzanine to the southeast corner of Lankershim and Universal Hollywood would have been the most convenient for subway riders. (And with The Bloc shopping center in DTLA getting an underground connection to 7th St. / Metro Center Station, I don’t really understand why they couldn’t have made one work here.) On the other hand, I actually think the bridge looks pretty nice, and personally, I think and outdoor sky bridge provides a more pleasant and interesting pedestrian experience than a lengthened underground tunnel. If I remember previous articles correctly, I believe street level crossings at this intersection will be limited/prohibited once this bridge opens. I’ll be interested how inclined people are to use it (the bridge).

  • M

    As a woman, I really don’t know if I feel comfortable using this bridge. To be blunt, this is an area with a large number of mentally unstable homeless and I have been assaulted by the homeless and others in this area AND the police brushed me off. I’ve been followed when leaving the subway and buses before. Now you’re telling me to go up away from other people (because let’s be honest, there’s certain times of day when there’s TONS of people crossing Lankershim and other times of the day when things are pretty dead and this bridge and the pedestrian crossing being limited will be a 24/7 thing, not just during “business hours”) into an isolated area where there’s only a couple ways for me to “get away”, little chance of someone seeing what’s going on (I’m assuming there will be cameras on the bridge, but cameras are good at showing a view of what happened, but they don’t mean anyone is paying attention at the moment) and just be ok with that? I’m not. Add onto this the fact that I now feel like the rest of the pedestrian and cyclist experience in this area is being “demoted” in importance and honestly, my plan is to avoid this area at all costs, which is pretty hard given the geography and the fact I live nearby and that I do use the Red line.

    Selfishly though, I’ll be glad this thing is done because I don’t know how many times I’ve been woken up by the construction overnight thinking there was a shooting or something else going on, especially in the last few months.

  • Jason

    Maybe I’m just naive but how the hell does that cost $27 million?

  • calwatch

    The maintenance will really be key on this. In other places pedestrian bridges have homeless people and feces of various animals and so are unused by the general public. An extension of the underground subway station to serve the north side was the original proposal, but for whatever reason Universal and MTA failed to agree on the design and the cost kept shooting up over the years, so this is the alternate proposal agreed to by Universal and MTA.

  • davistrain

    When weight of paperwork equals weight of bridge, it’s ready to open. Not really, but getting anything done in an urban area involves several government and quasi-governmental bureaucracies. Everyone has to justify his or her paycheck, so we have a lot of people making decisions and shuffling paper. And there are probably all sorts of restrictions and regulations that run up the price. That said, $27M does seem a bit much–I think the Gold Line bridge across I-210 in Arcadia wasn’t that much more, and may have been less.

  • I’m not gonna knock it until I try it, but $27mil sounds like a whole lot of street level improvements… 540 miles of bike lanes, for example.

  • Joe Linton

    Sadly, it actually went up to $30 million.

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