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Public Invited for Update on Regional Connector Plans

By Eric Richardson
Published: Monday, June 20, 2011, at 12:57PM
Regional Connector Render: 2nd Street Looking West Metro

An early Regional Connector rendering shows the planned 2nd and Broadway station at its original location near Los Angeles Street.

A new round of public meetings kicks off on Tuesday for the Regional Connector, the two miles of underground track intended to connect Metro's light rail lines through Downtown.

The agency's board approved the $1.3-billion project and its draft environmental documents back in October, but the plans weren't without their controversy. Particularly at issue was the agency's decision to drop a planned station at 5th and Flower for budget reasons.

The new updates will bring the public up to speed on Metro's plans for connecting users who would have been served by the defunct station. Efforts are likely to include widened sidewalks on Flower north of the 7th and Metro station, and potentially a new station portal at 6th Street.

Also new since the October decision is design sketches for the Broad art museum, which includes a plaza that would wrap around the structure and would need to be integrated with the proposed Regional Connector station at 2nd and Hope.

Little Tokyo, the community that had been most vocal during Regional Connector planning, got a preview of changes to its part of the rail line in January. The refined 1st and Alameda station takes up only half the space of the previous design, fitting into the northern half of the block bounded by 1st, Alameda, 2nd and Central. More importantly, it creates a gentle curve onto 2nd Street that could allow Metro to use open land at 1st and Alameda to insert the Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) needed for construction of the underground line.

The Regional Connector would create an entirely underground link between the Blue Line's current terminus at 7th and Metro and the Gold Line's tracks at 1st and Alameda, adding stations at 2nd/Hope and 2nd/Broadway and replacing the existing Little Tokyo / Arts District Gold Line station with one that is underground.

Metro hopes to release final environmental documents for the line by the end of summer, allowing the agency's board to certify the documents this fall.

Tuesday's kickoff meeting will take place at 11:30am at the Colburn School (200 S. Grand). Future meetings will take place at the Japanese American National Museum (369 E. 1st) on June 29 at 6:30pm, and at the L.A. Times (145 S. Spring) on June 30 at 6:30pm. More information can be found at Metro's Regional Connector page.


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