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Metro Opens Downtown Regional Connector Subway

The 1.9-mile $1.8 billion light rail includes three new stations, but its big benefit is tying together several formerly disconnected rail lines. The Metro A Line is now 49.5 miles long, the longest light rail line in US.

Metro’s new Regional Connector subway opened today. Photos by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

Earlier today, Metro opened its long-anticipated new Regional Connector subway project. The $1.8 billion 1.9-mile long project ties together three existing Metro rail lines, adding three new downtown stations. The new facility doesn't look like much on a map, but it is making a big difference for Angelenos. Trips in and through Central L.A., trips that used to involve one or two transfers will be one-seat rides, with no transfers. This connectivity saves transit riders a great deal of time, by eliminating the wait time for connecting trains.

The three new stations in downtown L.A. are: Little Tokyo/Arts District​, Historic Broadway, and Grand Av Arts/Bunker Hill. Photos of these are below.

The newly connected light rail lines through downtown are:

  • The A Line now runs all the way from Long Beach to Azusa - 49.5 miles. According to Metro, it's the longest light-rail line in the world, and it will be even longer when construction extending the terminus to Pomona finishes in a couple of years. (The A combined the former Blue Line and Foothill Gold Line.)
  • The E Line now run from Santa Monica to East Los Angeles - 22.5 miles. (The E combined the former Expo Line and Eastside Gold Line.)

Metro trains, buses, and bike-share are free today through Sunday.

Metro celebrated the opening of the connector with festivities at the Japanese American National Museum in Little Tokyo. National, state and local leadership praised the new facility. Metro board chair Ara Najarian termed the connector the "missing link" that would "catalyze ridership growth systemwide."

Norman Mineta - screengrab from Japanese American National Museum's Watase Media Arts Center video shared by Metro

Several speakers commemorated Norman Mineta, the pioneering U.S. Transportation Secretary who Metro worked with to secure federal financing for the Regional Connector. The new Little Tokyo Station is dedicated to Mineta.

US Senator Alex Padilla speaking at this morning's Regional Connector opening ceremonies.
Metro CEO Stephanie Wiggins credited Metro leadership, staff, and contractors who made the Regional Connector happen.
Ceremonial ribbon-cutting for the Metro Regional Connector.

The new Little Tokyo / Arts District Station is located at Central Avenue and First Street.

Street level entrance to the Little Tokyo / Arts District Station.
Two trains at the Regional Connector Little Tokyo station.
On board a train pulling into Little Tokyo station.
Little Tokyo platform level murals by Audrey Chan depict historic and current residents of the area
E Line train approaching the Little Tokyo / Arts District Station.

The Historic Broadway Station is located at Broadway and 2nd Street (behind the historic L.A. Times building).

Street level at the Historic Broadway Station, facing Broadway.
The surface level of the Broadway station features The People United art installation by Andrea Bowers.
Broadway's spacious mezzanine level features the Red Car Requiem mosaic by Mark Steven Greenfield.

The Grand Avenue Arts / Bunker Hill Station is located at 2nd Street and Hope Street, behind the Broad Museum. Located ten stories below Bunker Hill, this station is currently the deepest in the Metro system.

The street level at Grand Avenue Arts / Bunker Hill Station.
The upper level at Grand Avenue station features a bridge (over Hope Street) connecting to Grand Avenue via a pedestrian passageway along the south side of the Broad Museum.
The ten-stories deep Grand Avenue station does not have escalators (and stairs are emergency access only), so it is served by a bay of six elevators.
Most Metro rail stations have elevators that, from top to bottom, operate between S (Street), M (Mezzanine), and P (Platform) levels. The Grand Avenue Station elevators operate between BR (Bridge), S (Street), C (Concourse), and [not shown] P (Platform) levels.
Stretching 61 feet from the concourse to the street level is Pearl C. Hsiung's mosaic mural High Prismatic.
Grand Avenue Station, concourse level.
Grand Avenue Station, platform level.

For more information on the Regional Connector project, see earlier Streetsblog coverage and Metro's Regional Connector explainer page.

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