Metro To Pedestrianize Front Of Union Station, Seeking Input

Union Station Forecourt and Esplanade Improvements will reconfigure space to make the station more pedestrian oriented
Union Station Forecourt and Esplanade Improvements will reconfigure space to make the station more pedestrian oriented

Metro is planning big changes for Union Station. For the big picture overview, watch this video or read master plan documents. With recent state Active Transportation Program funding secured, the agency is moving forward with upgrades to the front of the station. These initial improvements will make it easier and safer for pedestrians. The pedestrian improvements are part of Metro’s Connect US linkages plan.

Last night, Metro kicked off a scoping meeting for environmental studies for the “Union Station Forecourt and Esplanade Improvements” project. Metro is seeking scoping input for its Environmental Impact Report (EIR). Readers can send Metro their scoping comments at CarvajalE[at] The scoping comments deadline is January 31.

The planned Union Station improvements will create a 50-foot wide raised crossing at Alameda in front of Union Station. Image via Metro's Connect US plan
The planned Union Station improvements will create a 50-foot wide raised crossing at Alameda in front of Union Station. Image via Metro’s Connect US plan

For the space in front of Union Station, the project will dramatically reallocate space to give priority given to pedestrians. The parking lots in front of Union Station will give way to a civic plaza with a water feature. The narrow crosswalk across Alameda will be expanded to a 50-foot wide raised crossing. Half of Los Angeles Street will be closed to broaden the pedestrian plaza at El Pueblo. Alameda Street will be reduced from six lanes to four, with space given over to widened sidewalks and a sidewalk-level multi-use bike/walk path along the east side of Alameda. For details and renderings, see the Connect US plan.

Cross-section of planned new Union Station frontage
Cross-section of planned new Union Station frontage

Metro expects to complete its environmental studies by this summer, with construction anticipated in 2020.

(Post updated with clearer images. Concept design and drawings by Deborah Murphy Urban Design + Planning with Lyric Design & planning.)

  • 1976boy

    There are two ramps onto the NB 101 freeway – one from Los Angeles St and one from Broadway. The best thing that could be done to compliment this excellent effort would be to remove the Los Angeles St onramp and direct traffic to Broadway to enter the freeway. Take the resulting open space and expand the park, or build new structures there, maybe even housing?

    I find that even with traffic calming and pedestrian improvements, when the streets are filled with impatient drivers trying to get to the freeway, it’s still something of an unsafe experience.

  • User_1

    Sounds like Metro is making Union Station welcoming to pedestrians for the future, yet today they are making it far less friendlier to pedestrians! It used to be that there was seating and welcome sign for pedestrians in Union Station. That has since went away! Alot of seating is gone, I’m betting more than half that was there before is now gone. Nowadays you get hassled by security as to why you are sitting there. Also this “welcoming seating” is roped off. Yes I understand you don’t want it welcoming to hobos, but what about alot of the traveling public???????

    Trust me, I now see the con-game played by many.

  • LAifer

    Maybe offer comments to that effect before the January 31 deadline?

  • MetroBoominLA

    Noticed Chicago bus routes that pass by near a station usually “loop” into the station and pick up or drop off, and either end their route at the station, or continue their route. Just a thought, wouldn’t want to copy them, but I can imagine a few routes near Union that can do something similar and it would make It easier on travelers/pedestrians.

  • Joe Linton

    It’s a good concept – and L.A. already does it! There is a big bus loop in the back of Union Station – called Patsaouras Plaza. There are dozens of bus lines very close to Union Station, but I think that there are only one or two lines that run on Alameda Street directly in front of the station.


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