Metro started work last week on the first major development in its New Blue project, which will overhaul the aging Blue Line over the next year.
Agency officials kicked off renovations of South LA’s Willowbrook/Rosa Parks station Thursday, promising that the $109 million redesign would make the station safer and more comfortable for riders.
Components of the project include a larger platform for passengers, a new station entrance, self-cleaning restrooms, a bike hub, a customer service window, and a public plaza, which the agency envisions as a community event space where celebrations and outdoor movie screenings could be held.
Plans are also in place for a security center, complete with a new surveillance system to supplement officer patrols at the station. Security has been a major focus for Metro in recent years, and the agency recently purchased scanners to detect concealed weapons and bombs at transit stations.
Willowbrook/Rosa Parks station is the agency’s fourth-busiest rail stop. On top of the Blue Line, it’s served by numerous buses, and riders can also transfer to the Green Line light rail platform upstairs.
The station will remain open until the end of the year, but will close in January as construction ramps up on the project and other Blue Line improvements.
The light rail route opened in 1990 and is notoriously prone to delays and breakdowns. Metro officials say repairs and upgrades will fix those problems and even shave about 10 minutes off of the length of a trip. But riders will face major service interruptions while that work is being completed.
Between January and May, the line’s southern segment will close; buses will replace train service between Watts and Long Beach. Then, from May until September, the northern portion of the route will close; riders will have to travel between Compton and Downtown LA on bus shuttles during that time.
Both the Willowbrook/Rosa Parks station and the full Blue Line route are expected to reopen in September 2019, though work on the station won’t wrap up until the end of 2020.