Los Angeles Union Station (LAUS) is considering plans to add a new southern entrance/exit for Metrolink and Amtrak trains and build a new expanded passenger concourse. The Link Union Station project (Link US) will transform the historic LAUS from a “stub-end,” or dead-end station, to a “run-through” station by extending tracks south over the US-101 freeway, resulting in reduced passenger wait times.
The estimated $2 billion-plus project would also add a new loop track to improve operational flexibility for rail service. Project officials say these modifications will "significantly enhance the station’s efficiency and enable LAUS to continue to serve as a major hub for local, regional, and interstate transportation."
The new concourse would replace the current tunnel under the Metrolink, Amtrak and Gold Line train tracks. The current tunnel is showing signs of age, is prone to overcrowding, and lacks passenger amenities.
There are two options on the design table for the concourse. One would sit above the tracks and the other would sit just below the tracks. Metro released a couple of concept videos showcasing both design ideas.
The above-grade video shows how a concourse above the tracks would connect with new passenger platforms, Union Station, Patsaouras Bus Plaza and potential transit and retail amenities throughout the concourse. The design features modern architecture hovering above, with glass-filled walkways, sweeping staircases and panoramic passenger platforms.
The more recent at-grade video shows beautiful courtyards and lawns leading to passenger platforms, escalators, elevators and walkways lined with shops and amenities.
Both designs, which are subject to change, are draft conceptual renderings that will be included and analyzed in the project’s draft environmental study, which is due for release later this year. A new Draft Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact Report (EIS/EIR) is anticipated to be released in the First Quarter of 2018. A Final EIS/EIR will be prepared, with certification of an expected Record of Decision (ROD)/EIR Certification by the Fourth Quarter of 2018.
Whichever design is chosen, the project will be made up of several key components, including:
- New run-through tracks over the US-101 freeway to provide one-seat rides to major destinations in Southern California
- Reconfiguration of the “throat” (station entry tracks) and “rail yard” (station arrival and boarding area)
- A new passenger concourse with retail, food services, passenger waiting areas, and other amenities
- Accommodation of future transportation options, including the West Santa Ana Branch Light Rail Transit Corridor project and California High-Speed Rail (HSR)
The project’s current planning and environmental phase is fully funded through Measure R, State Proposition 1B, and the FRA American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) in coordination with California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA.) CHSRA has contributed $18.72 million to the planning and environmental phase of this project. The source of funding for the final design and construction phase has not been determined or secured.
The Metro Link US Team is working together with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), CHSRA, the Southern California Regional Rail Authority (SCRRA, also known as Metrolink), Amtrak, Los Angeles – San Diego – San Luis Obispo (LOSSAN) Rail Corridor Agency, Caltrans, and the City of Los Angeles.