Eyes on the Stations: Downtown Regional Connector Subway Construction
You may have heard: Metro is building new rail lines and extensions. Among the projects furthest along is the downtown L.A. Regional Connector subway. Earlier this week, Streetsblog biked around downtown checking out above-ground evidence of Regional Connector construction.
The Regional Connector is a $1.8 billion 1.9-mile light rail subway below downtown Los Angeles. Construction got underway in 2014, and is now 88 percent complete. If all goes well, the line will be substantially complete by mid-2022. After that it will undergo about a half-year of testing, then will open to the public. The grand opening is about a year away – likely at the very end of 2022 or early 2023.
The project will tie together the Metro A (Blue), E (Expo), and L (Gold) Lines. Though the project is called the Regional Connector, that name will go away. Nobody will say “take the Regional Connector to MOCA” because once all the lines are connectored, er, connected, they will just be the A and E Lines. The L Line will go away too – meaning that the Pasadena-Foothill Gold Line will become the A Line, and the Eastside Gold Line will become the E Line.
Streetsblog toured the Regional Connector project’s three new stations. From east to west they are:
- Little Tokyo/Arts District Station – at 1st Street and Central Avenue, across from the Japanese American National Museum
- Historic Broadway Station – at 2nd Street and Broadway, behind the historic L.A. Times building
- Grand Avenue Arts/Bunker Hill Station – located at 2nd Place and Hope Street, behind the Broad Museum
Below is Metro’s rendering of the future station in Little Tokyo.
This week Metro crews are working on the station’s above-ground structures.
Around that station (mostly immediately north of the station) a separate interconnected project – called the Eastside Access Improvements – is also under construction. That project includes many walk and bike improvements to help facilitate first/last mile connections to the Little Tokyo station. Eastside Access’ most prominent component is a bike/walk esplanade along the east side of Alameda Street, where the trains will run underground. This includes the site of the former Little Tokyo Station. The Metro board recently approved looking into how to extend the esplanade across the 101 Freeway to connect to a similar (unfortunately watered down) esplanade soon under construction in front of Union Station. For that Alameda esplanade extension study, see further details at Metro’s staff report or Urbanize coverage.
Moving west, the next Connector portal is the Historic Broadway Station.
The third and final station is deep below Bunker Hill.
Last year in March and June, Streetsblog posted photos of the new station bridge that will connect to Grand Avenue. That bridge looks nearly complete, and the above-ground station framework is in place.
Lastly, below are two photos of Regional Connector construction wrapping up on Flower Street, where the connection to the 7th Street Station was built using the cut-and-cover method.