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.”
Aimed at improving pedestrian safety and bike access, the multimodal project will:
- Make crosswalk improvements at 19 intersections, build a bike/walk esplanade with Class 1 bike lanes and construct 1.7 miles of local bike lanes that will close gaps in the existing network.
- Provide streetscape improvements along 5 miles of city streets that include sidewalk widenings, repairs, new tree plantings, and the replacement of 100 traditional streetlights with low-energy LED lighting.
- Include important stormwater management elements, including the installation of storm parkways (bioswales) to improve stormwater runoff and reduce water pollution from reaching the ocean.
Construction on both projects – the Eastside Access Improvement Project and the Regional Connector Transit Project – is expected to be completed in 2022.
Source: LA Metro