L.A.'s Union Station Turns 80 and Looks to the Future
While Union Station in downtown Los Angeles has hit hard times before, Colleen Shalby reports that ridership numbers last year were the lowest in a decade and the station has a low profile in the city. "The transit hub bustles with 36 million visitors a year, slightly less than the traffic at Washington’s famed Union Station. But unlike in the nation’s capital — and in cities such as Denver and New York — L.A.’s Union Station has yet to become a central destination."
Improvements have been made to the station facilities, and planned transit and pedestrian projects will also better connect the station to surrounding neighborhoods and the region. "One effort currently underway is Link Union Station, a $2.2-billion project that hopes to make the facility a hub connecting Metro Rail’s intercity subway and light rail lines to allow for a better long-term travel experience — and hopefully stem falling ridership," writes Shalby.
Another long-term goal, say officials, is to make the station more than just a transit center for commuters and travelers by also developing it into a cultural and historical location. In addition, they are anticipating increased ridership in the coming years along with an influx of visitors for major events in Los Angeles, including the Super Bowl and the Olympics.