Last month we got a peek at the huge plan to overhaul Union Station and it was a doozy: a $350-million train-track redesign, a fancy new public plaza, the reopening of the historic Fred Harvey restaurant. But it won't make Union Station any less of an island—as things are set up now, it's almost impossible to get between the station and the surrounding areas without a car. So it's a good thing there's a concurrent but separate project called Connect US that's looking to improve pedestrian and bike connections from Union Station and the forthcoming First Street/Central Avenue stop of the Regional Connector to nearby 'hoods like Boyle Heights, Little Tokyo, Civic Center, the Arts District, and Chinatown.
The plan, seen in this presentation delivered at a public meeting last week (via The Source), recommends five new "esplanades"; wide, tree-lined walkways, including one that would connect Union Station to the Little Tokyo area via Alameda and have a two-way bike path; and improving a cycling route that's particularly hairy at present. It also recommends new esplanades and protected bike lanes for Los Angeles Street, Alameda, and North Broadway; that last one would pass right by the Cornfield park (for improved gawking at music festivals).
Though Metro has a hand in the planning stages of the project, it's the city that has jurisdiction over LA's streets, and so it's the city that will ultimately do the work on this project. In all, the plan sees opportunities for 13 projects that would cost between $50 and $60 million, but it's broken them into smaller clusters that can be undertaken "opportunistically," as funding presents itself.
· Connect US seeks to better link Union Station to neighborhoods via new esplanades and bike paths [The Source]
· Behold Union Station's Huge Plans: Sub-Train Concourse, New Terminal, Fred Harvey Revived [Curbed LA]