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Metro releases four possible plans for Union Station redesign; asks for public input

By Hayley Fox
Published: Thursday, May 02, 2013, at 09:50AM
Courtesy of Metro

Metro will present four plans for Union Station's Master Plan to the public tonight at a community workshop.

Tonight at a community workshop in downtown L.A., Metro plans to release four possible plans for the complete overhaul and redesign of Union Station.

These four concepts for the station's Master Plan focus on streamlining the station to make it easier to use and more accessible to cyclists and pedestrians. Metro officials say they want the station to become a "world class" transit hub, which means adding more amenities such as retail and restaurants, and preparing for major transit additions including the High Speed Rail and the Regional Connector.

Union Station was built in 1939 and though the community around it has changed drastically over the decades, the station has stayed pretty much the same. Metro says that currently, about 60,000 people go through the station on a daily basis; by 2020, officials expect that number to reach 100,000.

But the station with it's Art Deco details and grandiose entryways, is an iconic structure in Downtown and has been featured in movies, commercial shoots and real-life weddings.

Some may be wary of any proposed sweeping changes to the building, but Metro says they aim to maintain the structure's aesthetic and history while adapting it to contemporary needs. The original Union Station was built as a succession of buildings and courtyards, which creates an airy feel and allows some natural sunlight in — a feature Metro wants to keep in the redesign.

Over the next few months Metro, with the help of the public, will analyze the four possible designs and hope to have selected one finalist by September. Once they nail down the basic layout of where all the transit elements will go, they can begin planning additional developments for the area that include restaurants, shops, apartments or theaters.

Officials hope that the new Union Station will become a place where visitors can live, work and play, 24 hours a day.

Metro purchased Union Station for $75 million in 2011. Since then, they have been developing a Master Plan to map out a complete overhaul of the station.

Tonight's community workshop is scheduled from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Aratani Central Hall of the Japanese American National Museum. The museum is located at 100 N. Central Avenue.

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