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Regional Connector to Bring 3 Stations, Flower St. Improvements

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The Regional Connector project (sometimes called the Downtown Connector) is currently hosting the last round of community meetings before Metro releases its final environmental impact report later this summer or in the fall (the report is one of the final steps before construction). After four years of research, Metro officials have decided on the 1.9 mile underground route, which will connect the Blue, Gold, and Expo lines--making it possible to ride without transfers from Long Beach to Azusa (or Claremont, if that Gold Line extension is done in time for the RC's 2018 or '19 opening) and from Santa Monica to East LA. According to updates posted on The Source, the short line will have three stations: Second/Hope, Second/Broadway, and a new underground Little Tokyo station at First/Central. A proposed fourth station at Fifth and Flower was cut to keep the project from going over budget, but Metro has plans to make Flower Street in the Financial District, from Fourth to Sixth, more pedestrian-friendly so that people won't mind walking from the already-existing subway station at Seventh and Flower.

Proposed changes for Flower include "widened sidewalks on Flower Street between 4th and 6th Streets, as well as pedestrian amenities--shade trees, benches, lighting, etc.--to make the 0.2-mile walk more pleasant." According to a PowerPoint from the meeting, a pedestrian allée is also being considered for the Financial District; Merriam-Webster defines an allée as "a walkway lined with trees or tall shrubs." Also, a Fifth and Flower station could be added in the future, should money become available.

Other interesting tidbits:
-The Second and Hope station, which is steps from Grand Avenue amenities like Disney Hall and the soon-to-come Broad Museum, will have to be 130 feet underground to go under the subway tunnels of the Red/Purple lines.
-The Little Tokyo station can be staged (constructed) mostly at the former site of the Mangrove development--a dead development and current parking lot across from the existing, above-ground Little Tokyo stop.
-It's possible to have trains go in all different directions (e.g., connecting Santa Monica to Pasadena, East LA to Long Beach, etc.), but the project director says that would be complicated at rush hour because of the amount of trains needed. Sounds like for special events, like concerts or sporting events, the every-which-way configuration could get utilized.
· RC Hosts Meetings in Advance of Environmental Certification [The Source]
· AECOM Will Design Regional Connector [Curbed LA]