The Union Station Of The Future Will Be A Cool Place To Hang Out
New renderings show the Union Station of the future, complete with surrounding development, more green space, new retail and restaurants and a civic plaza where passengers can eat and hang out in between trips. The new designs seem geared to not only make for a more efficient Union Station, but also a more people-friendly station where passengers feel comfortable waiting between trips—kind of like Chicago's Union Station or New York's Penn Station.
Union Station was built in 1939, but was taken over by Metro in 2011. Metro wants to preserve the historic architecture of the iconic building, but make improvements to the station overall, especially considering that the number of people who pass through on an average weekday is expected to double by 2040.
Last fall, Metro Board of Directors approved a new concept for Union Station with a couple of key upgrades. Now, Metro has some definitive improvements in mind as well as renderings that show how cool Union Station and its surrounding area could become.
The Master Plan items include:
- A track redesign that cuts transit time for Amtrak and Metrolink riders.
- Replacing the front parking lot with a plaza where customers can eat and hang out.
- A new, wider concourse for people boarding the Gold Line, Amtrak and Metrolink trains. This expanded concourse will be underground beneath the platforms with elevators and stairs going up to the trains. It will also contain retail.
- New restaurants, including one in the old Union Bagel, the old ticket room and the Fred Harvey House. This is expected to happen soon! Two summer ago, Union Station got a Ben & Jerry's.
- A consolidated bus terminal at the Metrolink and Amtrak platforms on the east side of the station. This means people transferring to buses would not have to cross any roads to reach the bus bay. To do this, however, Metro will have to buy and tear down the Mozaic Apartments.
- A possible high-speed rail terminal on the east side of the station near Vignes St.
- Two pedestrian and bike bridges that would connect the east and west sides of Union Station.
- Metro and the City are working on ways to make Union Station more accessible for bicyclists and pedestrians. One possible option is slimming down Alameda St.
As seen in the first image, there is also the possibility that some of the land surrounding the station can be developed to include retail and office space, as well as hotels. When Metro bought the station, they also acquired 47 acres of surrounding land. Given that Union Station is where you can pick up a $7 bus to LAX, staying in a hotel near Union Station could be good option for a car-less visitor to explore the city. Related:
Union Station's Getting A Master Plan AND a Ben & Jerry's
What Could Union Station Look Like in 2050?