The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) has begun construction on its Eastside Access Improvement Project in downtown Los Angeles. The $29.7 million project will build key pedestrian safety and bicycle access features to enhance connectivity between Metro’s Regional Connector Transit Project and Los Angeles Union Station – the largest railroad passenger terminal in the Western U.S. and a major transportation hub for Southern California.
Improvements will be centered around Metro’s future Little Tokyo/Arts District Station, a new underground station being built at 1st Street and Central Avenue. This station will serve Metro’s $1.8 billion Regional Connector Transit Project, currently under construction. The 1.9-mile underground light rail line will provide a more seamless connection between three Metro lines in downtown L.A. According to Metro, the Regional Connector is expected to serve 88,000 riders daily and save commuters up to 20 minutes.
The multi-million-dollar project is funded through a combination of federal grants, including a Federal TIGER VI grant, and local Metro Measure R funding. Measure R has been financing transportation projects in L.A. County since 2008, when a two-thirds majority of voters agreed to a half-cent tax to help fund transportation projects and programs.
Metro Board Chair and Chair of the Los Angeles County Supervisors Hilda L. Solis said the project will provide “improved access to Metro’s bus and rail facilities that stretch from Union Station to the Little Tokyo and Arts District communities” and, once completed, “will provide a safer and more vibrant experience for Metro bus and rail passengers, pedestrians, cyclists and visitors to downtown’s distinct neighborhoods.”