Spurred by a new state grant, historic Union Station in downtown Los Angeles will undergo a remake of its iconic front entrance into a pedestrian and bike-friendly space.
The California Transportation Commission awarded $61 million in active transportation grants to projects around L.A. County intended to make biking and walking easier and safer.
The Union Station project administered by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority will get $12.3 million to create a wider sidewalk, streetscaping and better crossing facilities at the Alameda Street entrance. The improvements are part of a long-range upgrade known as the Union Station Master Plan.
Redesign of the station's main entrance includes converting its front parking lot into a pedestrian plaza.
"The vision is really about connecting with the surrounding environment," said Elizabeth Carvajal, a Metro planner. "Union Station can really feel like a moat that is very disconnected from the environment."
She said new facilities for bikes and pedestrians will make it easier to travel between the station and the surrounding historic neighborhood, including El Pueblo de Los Angeles and Olvera Street.
The first phase of the project is undergoing environmental review. Construction could start in 2018.
Metro is also planning to build new tracks at the southern end of the station so that trains can enter from either side, speeding up stops and improving the station's capacity to accommodate a future bullet train operating between San Francisco and L.A.
The Metro Board voted last week to approve spending $15 million to complete an environmental study and preliminary engineering of the project.
Correction: An earlier version of this story said construction would start in 2016. Designing could start in 2016 with construction in 2018.