Metro Opens New Landscaped Plaza at North Hollywood Station
This morning, Metro hosted ribbon-cutting festivities to open a newly completed landscaped plaza at the North Hollywood Red/Orange Line Station. The 8,500-square-foot plaza is located at the northwest corner of Lankershim and Chandler Boulevards. The small plaza-park is the final phase of a $3.6 million renovation of the historic North Hollywood Depot.
The renovated depot building itself re-opened in 2017, housing Groundworks Coffee House. For some time, the area where the new plaza is now served as a staging area for construction of the new west portal for the NoHo Red Line subway.
At today’s celebration, L.A. City Councilmember and Metro boardmember Paul Krekorian spoke of the important roles that the historic North Hollywood depot played in the development of the San Fernando Valley. The depot served commercial freight when North Hollywood was, according to Krekorian, “the peach capital of the world.” It also connected the Valley to the rest of Los Angeles via the Pacific Electric red car trains, which Krekorian’s mother rode to get to Hollywood.
The design of the current plaza is based on one that was there in the early 20th century. That early plaza, pictured below, opened around 1914, and lasted until around the middle of the 20th century.
The current design incorporates the historic diagonal walkway layout. Also referencing the historic plaza are two prominent palm trees. Where a hundred years ago the site featured grass, today it has drought-tolerant and native landscaping.
Krekorian sounded a lot of positive notes – from the role of transit in the growth of sustainable vibrant communities, to the coming joint development of Metro’s NoHo park-and-ride lots. Unfortunately he ended on a very car-centric point, asserting that when people “drive past” the new plaza it would inspire them to take pride in the community.
In his remarks, Metro CEO Phil Washington emphasized that the depot site project was about enhancing the transit customer experience. Instead of “dull stations,” Washington leads Metro in investing to create “vibrant” ones.
Washington also announced some good news that he received today: he said that the USDOT is providing Metro with the first $100 million for Phase 3 of the Westside Purple Line extension. The expected federal funds for the project had been delayed, as has been the case for many transit projects around the U.S. under the current administration–though since September there have been encouraging signs that federal funds would be forthcoming.