In an effort to build in pedestrian safety and connectivity at AECOM’s Bunker Hill Metro Station southwest of 2nd and Hope streets—part of LA’s upcoming Regional Connector Transit Corridor—Will Wright, director of Government and Public Affairs at AIA Los Angeles, has suggested costing out a two-level elevator with a pedestrian bridge. The $1.367 billion, 1.9-mile underground light rail project, set to open in 2019, will connect the Blue, Gold, and Expo lines in downtown. The stop is being planned one block west of the upcoming Broad Museum. The proposed bridge would provide commuters with a way of accessing Broad Plaza from the station without having to negotiate the daunting amount of motorized traffic on Hope Street.
“As currently proposed, the station is in a triangular island with 17 lanes of traffic,” said Wright. “How do we make it connect to Grand Avenue in the most human way possible and enhance the pedestrian experience?”
The proposal comes at a critical time, when Metro is asking pre-qualified contractors to bid on the project. Submissions are due May 21.
Wright clarifies that the proposal would not mean additional construction costs, just a request for contractors to add this scenario to their existing bids. Should the idea take root, the costs could be funded by a public-private partnership between stakeholders in the surrounding area.
“There are no plans to include this scenario at the moment, but it is being discussed and considered,” said Anne Chen, a spokesperson at Metro. “We want to make sure our stations are pedestrian-friendly and accessible.”
Should Metro include the bridge, it would be a small, but crucial improvement, say its advocates. “Metro has never connected the dots that providing good pedestrian access means getting more customers,” said Deborah Murphy, founder of Los Angeles Walks, a community-driven organization that promotes walking and pedestrian infrastructure in Los Angeles. Though Murphy acknowledged an improvement in safety measures comparing the older Blue Line to the relatively newer Gold Line stations, she says there is still far to go to truly put the pedestrian at the heart of the design.
The Bunker Hill Metro Station is one of three new stations being built as part of the Regional Connector. Construction work is already underway, relocating utilities around the route. When finished in 2019, the connector will offer one continuous trip between Claremont and Long Beach, and between East Los Angeles and Santa Monica, shaving as much as 20 minutes off the usual commute.