Pedal to the metal at Los Angeles’ Union Station

Development, Urbanism, West
Thursday, September 18, 2014
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Proposed new east entrance to Union Station (Grimshaw/Gruen/Metro)

Proposed new east portal to Union Station (Grimshaw/Gruen/Metro)

After refining their master plan over the last several months, Metro, Grimshaw, and Gruen are ready, as Metro Deputy Executive Officer for Countywide Planning Jenna Hornstock put it, to “put the pedal to the metal.” They’re asking the Metro Planning and Programming Committee to approve several recommendations (PDF) to begin the implementation of their Union Station Master Plan, including the development of a Program Environmental Impact Report. Yesterday they presented to the committee, and a vote is expected at the next gathering on October 15.

Continue reading after the jump.

And Now A Gehry Tower For LACMA? What’s Next?

Model of Zumthor's newest scheme for LACMA, along with massing study of new tower. (Courtesy LACMA)

Model of Zumthor’s newest scheme for LACMA, along with massing study of new tower. (Courtesy LACMA)

The surprises keep coming at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). After learning that the museum plans to shift its proposed Peter Zumthor–designed building southward (partially bridging Wilshire Boulevard) to avoid damaging the La Brea Tar Pits, now comes news that the museum is hoping to partner with LA’s transit agency, METRO, to build a tower across the street.

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Finally, Los Angeles moving ahead with rail connection to LAX

Staff rendering of proposed 96th street station (METRO)

Staff rendering of proposed 96th street station (METRO)

At long last, it appears Los Angeles is getting its train to the airport. Last week, the board of LA County’s transit agency, METRO, agreed to proceed with a $200-million light-rail station, part of the new Crenshaw Line, connecting to a proposed people mover that will usher passengers to their terminals. The new station would be located about a mile and a half east of LAX’s central terminal area, and about a half mile north of the Crenshaw Line’s Aviation/ Century Stop,  at 96th Street and Aviation Boulevard.

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The New Paris Underground: Mayoral Candidate Proposes Reusing Abandoned Subway Stations

Metro_archpaper2

Subway station as restaurant (Courtesty OXO architects + Laisné architecte urbaniste)

Paris mayoral candidate Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet is attempting to forge a new underground scene in the French capital. In conjunction with her 2014 campaign the politician has commissioned a series of mock-ups that re-imagine abandoned subway stations as cultural and recreational gathering spaces. The designs were executed by Manal Rachdi of OXO architects + Nicolas Laisné from Laisné architecte urbaniste.

Read more after the jump.

Video> Los Angeles’ Regional Connector Subway Line Coming Into Focus

West
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
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A new video released by LA METRO gives us all a much clearer conception of the construction sequencing of the Regional Connector, the 1.9 mile downtown underground light rail line that will connect Los Angeles’ now-dispersed Gold, Blue, and Expo lines. The $1.3 billion connector, funded largely by 2008’s Measure R sales tax increase, is set to begin construction later this year. It will travel primarily under Flower Street and 2nd Street, and is set to open by 2019. Movement of utilities around the line began in December. Yes, more transit in Los Angeles. This is really happening!

When Artists Design Infrastructure: Basket-like Bridge Energizes San Gabriel Valley

West
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
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The Gold Line Bridge over the EB 210 Freeway in Arcadia. (Courtesy METRO Los Angeles)

The Gold Line Bridge over the EB 210 Freeway in Arcadia. (Courtesy METRO Los Angeles)

The expansion of LA’s Metro Rail Gold Line is well underway with a stunning new piece of infrastructure: The Gold Line Bridge. Completed last week, the 584-foot dual-track bridge, stretching over the eastbound lanes of the I-210 Freeway, will provide a light rail connection between the existing Sierra Madre Villa Station in Pasadena and Azusa’s future Arcadia Station. The rail line itself is scheduled for completion in 2014.

Made from steel reinforced concrete with added quartz, mica crystals, and mirrored glass, the monochromatic, abstract design, conceived by artist Andrew Leicester, pays homage to the region’s historic American Indian basket-weaving tradition and includes a carriageway and a post-and-lintel support beam system. The 25-foot baskets adorning each of the posts, “metaphorically represent the Native Americans of the region…and pay tribute to the iconic sculptural traditions of Route 66,” wrote Leicester.

Continue reading after the jump.

Voters Approve Streetcars Tax Measure in Downtown Los Angeles

West
Wednesday, December 5, 2012
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Return of the historic Red Car? (Courtesy Metro Transportation Library)

Return of the historic Red Car? (Courtesy Metro Transportation Library)

This week, Los Angeles voters approved a local tax on downtown landowners to help pay for a downtown streetcar, which could begin running as early as 2016. The $125 million project would—yes—run on tracks, just like the streetcars that used to dominate the city.

Cars haven’t been chosen yet, but their primary route would go south on Broadway from 1st Street to 11th Street, west to Figueroa Street, north to 7th Street, east to Hill Street, and north, terminating at 1st Street. LA’s transportation agency, Metro, began work on the project in 2011 with the city’s former Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA/LA), with the city itself, and with Los Angeles Streetcar, Inc.

After the votes were counted, 73 percent of downtown voters approved the measure. Now the project needs to get federal approval before officially moving ahead. See more images of the historic Pacific Electric streetcars, which once dominated the city, below.

More images after the jump.

Could LA’s Transit Measure Still Pass?  By all accounts Measure J, the LA County ballot proposal to extend 2008’s Measure R funds and speed up transit projects around Los Angeles, appears doomed to failure. But it seems that the vote counting isn’t done, and it’s getting closer. According to LA Metro’s blog, The Source, the measure now has 65.66 percent of the vote (up about a half percentage point from earlier tallies), about one percent shy of the 66.67 it needs for approval. There are about 100,000 votes yet to be counted, and by Metro’s own admission it’s unlikely, but possible, that it will pass. Stay tuned for the final update by December 4.

 

Downtown LA Streetcar Nears Approval

Newsletter, West
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
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Rendering of the proposed streetcar (LA Streetcar Inc)

Rendering of the proposed streetcar (LA Streetcar Inc)

The dream of again riding a streetcar in Downtown LA is one step closer to reality. Blogdowntown reports that an environmental review is now underway for two potential routes. The two paths, each four-miles long, were selected as part of the federally-required Alternatives Analysis (AA) process and were recently sent to METRO’s Planning & Programming Committee and Construction Committee.

More about the routes after the jump.

LA Union Station Shortlist Announced & The Notables That Missed The Cut

Newsletter, West
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
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LA's Union Station. (Martin Schall)

LA's Union Station. (Martin Schall)

It’s official: the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority (METRO) has revealed the shortlist for its Union Station Master Plan RFIQ (Request For Information & Qualifications), which seeks a team to oversee the redevelopment of 42 acres of land and up to six million square feet of entitlements around the station. “In addition to creating a model for Transit Oriented Development in the region, it is now important that the property be planned with an eye to its role as the center of regional transportation,” said METRO in an official document released by its executive management committee.

Shortlisted teams include: EE&K, a Perkins Eastman Company; Gruen Associates/ Grimshaw Architects; IBI Group/ Foster + Partners; Moore Ruble Yudell and TEN Arquitectos; NBBJ/Ingenhoven Architects; and Renzo Piano Building Workshop/ Parsons Transportation Group.

An impressive list, but perhaps even more notable are those that didn’t make the cut.

LA Planning Director Keeping His Eyes On The Street

West
Friday, December 3, 2010
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LA Planning Director Michael LoGrande (standing in front of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa)

Rethinking the streetscape will be the priority at the Los Angeles Planning Department, revealed newly appointed Planning Director Michael LoGrande in a conversation with LA Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne. “We’re getting people out of their cars and thinking differently about transit,” said LoGrande, who chatted with Hawthorne on Wednesday night at Occidental College.

Confirmed August 4 after the resignation of his predecessor, Gail Goldberg, LoGrande has faced significant staff and budget cuts, which he’s responded to by re-focusing long-term planning on transit projects rather than just catering to a constant stream of ad hoc requests.

Read More

Eavesdrop CA 10

Eavesdroplet
Friday, December 18, 2009
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Will they stay or will they go: William Morris Endeavor debates the future of its new, Gensler-designed headquarters in Beverley Hills.

Will they stay or will they go: William Morris Endeavor is reconsidering its lease at new offices in Beverly Hills.

HITCHIN’ A RIDE
With its price hikes, worker strife, and bureaucratic image, LA METRO doesn’t exactly set the standard for good press. But that appears to be changing as the transit authority has hired two of our favorite writers to supply in-house news and consulting. After being laid off by the Los Angeles Times in March, transit reporter Steve Hymon was hired by Metro to put together its new transit blog, The Source. On November 20, AN contributor Sam Hall Kaplan announced that he had been hired by Metro to be a transportation planning manager, with a focus on “crafting a user-friendly interface in Downtown LA between the Metro and the proposed California High Speed Rail,” in particular for stations and streetscapes. Eavesdrop hopes there’s one more spot for a guy who would like to check out the coolest cities and their metro systems for ideas—say Paris, Rome, Berlin, and Tokyo. Read More

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