April 26, 2012 1 Comment
With teams having showcased their broad-view ideas for the Union Station area yesterday, I thought I would share one small change I think would make a huge difference. While the plans can include hotels, offices, restaurants, and more, all will certainly bring more pedestrian traffic to the station. It will end up being more of a destination point, rather than just a transfer point, as it is for many travelers now. Of course, with the Regional Connector, possibly High Speed Rail, pass through tracks, and other transportation connections, it will continue to be the major transfer hub for Los Angeles, but with Olvera Street and El Pueblo across the street (and remember, this is where a future streetcar connection would actually end), the additions to the Union Station Property, and potentially Park 101, we will see many more pedestrians exiting the station’s front doors.
Currently, there is a small plaza leading directly up to Union Station’s main entrance, with some memorial plaques and other pedestrian oriented designs. The problem is, the crosswalks crossing Alameda don’t lead to this plaza, they cross parallel on both sides of it due to Los Angeles Street splitting in two around this entryway as is comes into and out of the station. When you exit the front of the station, you’re actually blocked from crossing onto what is supposed to be an entry plaza by a chain and stanchions, forcing you to go around it.
To better serve pedestrians, this small entry plaza should directly connect the front doors of the station with the Plaza at el Pueblo.
The best way to do this is by consolidating Los Angeles St. to the south (where the current vehicle entry is) and moving the vehicle exit to the north side of the timed parking lot, next to Mozaic Apartments. The current vehicle exit from Union Station and the northern side of Los Angeles St. will be transformed into a straight pedestrian entry plaza that extends from Union Station’s doors, across Alameda Street, up to the entrance of Olvera Street.