Metro will begin work in April on a new super-bus-station at Union Station that will create a direct link between the El Monte Busway and the station. As it stands now, riders of the Silver Line and Foothill buses that use the busway are dropped off on Alameda Street and face a quarter mile walk on a busy street to make a connection; the new station will allow passengers to alight directly off the busway and take an elevated walkway right inside. As reported by Building Los Angeles, the project also includes a "wind bridge" designed by artist Ned Kahn, which will be a "500-foot long structure ... adorned with perforated aluminum panels, arranged to 'move with the wind, resulting in complex rippling patterns of light and shade created by sunlight penetrating in between the two layers of perforated metal.'"
According to this Metro document, the busway connector was originally supposed to be part of the larger renovation of Union Station's Patsaouras Plaza, but it ran into a snag when site preparation work started in 2010. It turned out the soil beneath the project site was an ugly mix of concrete, bricks, steel, storage drums, telephone poles, railroad ties, and asbestos. Originally, Metro planned on sending the contaminated soil to a site near the Salton Sea, but ended up having to ship it to Yuma, Arizona at twice the cost. Eventually, Metro decided to move forward with the bus plaza project and put the new El Monte station on hold until more funding was available.
The document also makes note of the Union StationMaster Plan, which calls for a large development over the site where the new bridge will sit. The document says that, "In consultation with the Planning staff, the Patsaouras Plaza Busway Station project will be included as a 'site constraint,' and the Master Plan will be developed assuming that this project will be constructed and complete in 2015." The estimated completion date is now October 2016.
· New Union Station Bus Platform to Begin Construction in April [Building LA]
· New Silver Line Bus Station for Downtown's Union Station [Curbed LA]
· Here's the Possible New Look For a Reimagined Union Station [Curbed LA]