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Critic's Review: Los Angeles Union Station Master Plan

Christopher Hawthorne details the finalized master plan for Los Angeles' remodel of its historic Union Station, saying the master plan positions the station to be a hub of activity in a remade city.
September 29, 2014, 10am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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"A nearly finalized master plan by L.A. firm Gruen Associates and London's Grimshaw Architects imagines remaking not just the guts of the station, including the concourse that leads passengers beneath its tracks, but a swath of downtown surrounding it," according to Los Angeles Times Architecture Critic Christopher Hawthorne.

Hawthorne provides insight to many of complex decisions under consideration in the master plan, including this, which he cites as an example of the "contradictions of planning contemporary Los Angeles":

The plan also calls for remaking Alameda itself as it runs in front of the station, making it easier for pedestrians and cyclists to navigate. Complicating this goal, the city's existing plan for Alameda actually anticipates widening the street to make room for the heavier car traffic produced by a busier Union Station.

Among the other details discussed by Hawthorne are the implications of raising the tracks by five feet in a $350 million switch to a run-through setup and remaining questions about a large unused old ticket room just north of the main entrance, a proposed skyscraper at the eastern edge of the property, and another project hanging in the balance that could greatly influence the surrounding neighborhood and the building itself: California High Speed Rail.

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Published on Friday, September 26, 2014 in Los Angeles Times
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