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L.A. Metro to Consider Pedestrian Bridge at the Broad Museum

Metro’s rendering of the planned Regional Connector pedestrian bridge over Hope Street. Image via Metro staff report

Thursday, at its Construction and Executive Management Committee meetings, the Metro board is expected to approve plans for a new pedestrian bridge to connect Grand Avenue with the under-construction Regional Connector Grand Av Arts/Bunker Hill Station.

Regional Connector map - image via Metro
Regional Connector map - image via Metro
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In case readers are unfamiliar with the Regional Connector, it is a $1.75 billion 1.9-mile light rail subway currently under construction in downtown Los Angeles. The Regional Connector will tie together the Metro Blue, Expo, and Gold Lines to create one-seat travel from Long Beach to Azuza, and from Santa Monica to East Los Angeles. The project features three new stations: Grand Av Arts/Bunker Hill (at Second Street and Hope Street), Historic Broadway (at Second Street and Broadway) and Little Tokyo/Arts District (at First Street and Central Avenue).

Tunnel and station construction are currently underway. The project is expected to open to the public in 2021.

Diagram showing planned Regional Connector bridge trajectory - via Metro staff report
Diagram showing planned Regional Connector bridge trajectory - via Metro staff report
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The Grand station is located in a somewhat out-of-the-way area on Hope Street behind the Broad Museum and Disney Hall. Long ago, this area was part of the downtown Bunker Hill urban fabric, but fell victim to 1970s era redevelopment and now features freeway ramp-type streets, parking lots, and the back wall of a high-rise apartment complex.

The project, officially the "Hope/2nd Street Pedestrian Bridge," will connect the Grand Avenue station to the actual Grand Avenue where there is significantly more street life with numerous arts institutions, governmental offices, a park, and several high-rises with office space and residential units. The bridge will put Metro riders out onto Grand Avenue immediately south of the Broad Museum, where there is a small museum plaza with olive trees.

This week's vote is to approve pursuing the final easements needed for the bridge. As part of these easement agreements, the Broad Museum may close the bridge up to seven times/year under certain conditions. Metro would provide the Broad Museum $50,000 per year for maintenance of the plaza area, due to Metro contributing to increased foot traffic. The bridge will go on the top of the Broad's parking structure, so the easement agreements would ensure that the Metro bridge would be included any future redevelopment that happens on top of the structure.

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