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Ambitious Park 101 Project Proposes Small First Step at Union Station

By Eric Richardson
Published: Tuesday, May 11, 2010, at 10:23AM
Park 101 Rendering AECOM

The Park 101 project would create a green cap over the 101 freeway, restoring linkages between Downtown neighborhoods and creating development opportunities.



Creating a green space that would run from the Los Angeles River to Grand Avenue, Park 101 is nothing if not ambitious.

Every journey begins with a first step, though, and project planners hope that a $20 million reworking of the connection between Union Station and El Pueblo can be the piece that starts Downtown toward its new park.

With the support of Caltrans and the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG), a team from planning and engineering firm AECOM are currently developing a strategy and next steps for the Park 101 concept, which was first unveiled back in June of 2008. The goal of the step is to "tie infrastructure investment and park/open space development together to deliver [the] biggest bang for buck."

While planning and financing for the entire park project would certainly take years, the project team sees Union Station as the place where Park 101 can connect to other massive projects just getting underway.

"You have an L.A. River project that has to start somewhere. You have a Union Station / High Speed Rail that has to start somewhere. And we have a park project," explained Vaughan Davies, a Principal and Director of Urban Design at AECOM. "So isn't there a way to develop that phase one nexis?"

The first step would be to reshape the driveways and walks that enter Union Station, making it more inviting for pedestrians to travel from the station into El Pueblo. A second phase would then continue that walk across the 101 freeway into the Civic Center, potentially making the block between Main and Los Angeles the first to get capped.

The team will be presenting its plan to the public this Thursday, May 13, with a community meeting and open house before the Downtown Art Walk. It will run from 4 to 6pm, and will be held inside the Caltrans Building at 100 S. Main.

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