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HomeNewsMetro's New Area Connector: From East LA to Santa Monica

Metro’s New Area Connector: From East LA to Santa Monica

A railroad that runs through downtown Los Angeles, better connecting the foothills to the beaches, opens June 16, Father’s Day weekend.

Known as regional connection, the two-mile route eliminates the need to transfer between the L (Yellow), A (Blue) and E (Expo) lines, allowing passengers to travel from Azusa to Long Beach in one hour and 58 minutes, or from East Los Angeles to Santa Monica for an hour and nine minutes. Officials plan to make free trips for the opening ceremony.

Two years behind schedule and 335 million USD go over the budgeta four-stop underground light rail line that traverses the historic city center from the existing 7th/Metro Center station to the newly built Little Tokyo/Arts District station.

Metro CEO Stephanie Wiggins speaks in a "peep" ride on the new Regional Connector that is about to open.

Metro CEO Stephanie Wiggins speaks during a “sneak peek” ride Monday on the newly opened Regional Connector.

(Christina House / Los Angeles Times)

“This is a game changer,” said Stephanie Wiggins, executive director of the Metropolitan Transport Authority. “It really removes all that we call friction in our system and eliminates having to worry about where to transition to connect to another train.”

New routes link Gold, Blue and Expo routes, creating longer uninterrupted north-south and east-west transit options for riders. The connector brings the three main lines together along a single route downtown, and Wiggins says it will reduce travel time by 20 minutes for passengers who previously had to transfer. The railway is crucial to the agency’s master plan to expand the rail network ahead of the 2028 Olympic Games.

Building beneath some of Los Angeles’ oldest urban areas proved difficult.

“To build something in the city center that connects three existing old routes built in three different decades — no one has ever done it,” said Matthew Antonelli, deputy program manager for the project. this before.

Metro operator Glenda Murrell, who has worked for Metro since 1997, operates trains during "peep" drive.

Metro operator Glenda Murrell, who has worked for the Metro since 1997, runs the train during a “sneak peek” on the soon-to-open New Regional Connectivity Line.

(Christina House / Los Angeles Times)

Tunnel excavations have uncovered everything from an old aqueduct to whale bones. Near Walt Disney Hall and Colburn School, engineers had to build a track that wouldn’t create vibrations or sounds that would spoil the experience of concertgoers. At Broadway, engineers had to build the station so that it could support the weight of a tall skyscraper. And Bunker Hill presented a unique challenge: The Grand Avenue Terminal had to be built more than 100 feet below ground level, accessible only by a row of six elevators and stairs. Officials say it is the only stop deep on the West Coast.

Little Tokyo Station, used to be a street level stop for the Gold Line, was rebuilt underground. The connector allows for a north-south combination of the A and L lines running 49.5 miles from Azusa to Long Beach (soon to be a long A line) and the East-west E line for 22.5 miles from East Los Angeles to Santa Monica. The new line A will be the longest light rail line in the country, transit officials said.

“This is our new red car, yellow only,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor and Metro council member Hilda Solis. “It will have a lasting impact and help revitalize our downtown area, as well as our iconic cultural sites like Little Tokyo, Bunker Hill and Grand. [Avenue].”

During the summer, Metro is planning a series of community events around each station to showcase Los Angeles’ newest train.

The art inside Little Tokyo station depicts the historical struggles that have shaped the city, from the plight of those on Skid Row to the Gabrielino Tongva Tribe.

The tour showcases artworks at three of Metro's new subway stations.

Metro CEO Stephanie Wiggins, Metro executives, board members and elected officials will “sneak peek” of the ride on the new Regional Connector on Monday.

(Christina House / Los Angeles Times)

The Historic Broadway stop spills over into what was once the city’s shopping center and features a 148-foot abstract glass mosaic that pays homage to red cars, long defunct trams pass through the area. A deck at the Grand Avenue Arts/Bunker Hill exit opens onto a picturesque pedestrian bridge behind Disney Hall, the Broad Museum and within view of the Music Center. A dramatic 61-foot abstract mural runs along the wall of the towering elevator that descends to the station.

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