New Wayfinding Signs, More Upgrades Coming Soon to Union Station in Downtown LA

The busiest rail station west of the Mississippi, Union Station in Downtown LA, is getting some exciting upgrades by the end of spring 2014 including new wayfinding and interactive electronic signs

The busiest rail station west of the Mississippi, Union Station in Downtown LA, is getting some exciting upgrades by the end of spring 2014 including new wayfinding and interactive electronic signs

Last week, I got an awesome tour of Union Station from Metro’s Deputy Executive Officer of Countywide Planning, Jenna Hornstock. I learned about some very exciting changes coming to the busiest rail station west of the Mississippi. Basically, you have two different timelines for planned improvement projects: short term and long term changes. Both are very exciting because it means Union Station is going to get better and better and play a much more prominent and vital role in our region’s growing mass transit network.

List of exciting short term changes coming to Union Station:

  • All brand new wayfinding signs will replace existing ones at Union Station with the goal of making it easier for transit riders to navigate the sprawling station including where to find the elusive Flyaway pick-up spot. New signs will also have a consistent design theme that not only strive to complement our historic rail station but give it a stronger identity as well.
    .
  • New electronic displays will be installed throughout the station including new Amtrak and Metrolink destination schedules in the main seating area and real-time bus schedules displayed outside in the Patsaouras Transit Plaza. In addition, an interactive info kiosk will be installed in the East Portal near the Red Line subway entrance allowing riders to plan their trip or learn more about nearby communities.
    .
  • Repainting many parts of Union Station including the exterior of the historic facade facing Alameda and the newly exposed walls of the main concourse where non-historic tiles have recently been removed during the last few months.
    .
  • Other touch ups include refinishing the tunnel floors and restoring the metal framing of Union Station’s beautiful giant arched windows and other woodwork including the original ticket booths in the grand ticket hall.
    .
  • The historic grand ticket hall in the front of the station (closed to the public for many decades and only rented out for special events like wedding receptions) will soon be open to the public again as Metro is planning to activate it with possible commercial use (kiosks seem like a possibility).

The short term changes are exciting because we won’t have to wait very long to see some real quick but substantial improvements. Much of the list above will be implemented by this May 2014. However, the proposed long term master plan is really, really exciting. We’re talking about the expansion of the main concourse with a lot more retail space, a brand new consolidated bus concourse replacing Patsaouras Transit Plaza, the redevelopment of land around Union Station into mixed-use projects, and eventual hub for the California high-speed rail. And those huge changes will occur in phases throughout the next decade as the Metro Board of Directors is prepared to adopt the Final Master Plan this summer.

For more info about the Union Station Master Plan, check out Metro’s official transit blog, The Source.

(Click to enlarge) Conceptual Site Plan: Recommended Approach for Union Station Master Plan

(Click to enlarge) Conceptual Site Plan: Recommended Approach for Union Station Master Plan

Now back to the short term changes

New interactive info kiosks with four 50-inch flat panel touch screens will be installed soon in the East Portal at the blue X on the floor

New interactive info kiosks with four 50-inch flat panel touch screens will be installed soon in the East Portal at the blue X on the floor

All existing signs will be replaced by new updated wayfinding signs

All existing signs will be replaced by new updated wayfinding signs

Metrolink will also change out their bland schedule board for newly designed electronic ones as part of the new wayfinding sign program

Metrolink will also change out their bland schedule board for newly designed electronic ones as part of the new wayfinding sign program

Most if not all of these flimsy stands spread throughout the station (causing unnecessary "noise") will be removed when the new wayfinding signs are installed

Most if not all of these flimsy stands spread throughout the station (causing unnecessary “noise”) will be removed when the new wayfinding signs are installed

New flat panels will be installed in Patsaouras Transit Plaza that display real-time bus schedules

New flat panels will be installed in Patsaouras Transit Plaza that display real-time bus schedules

This older schedule board will be removed allowing for more open space within the station (FYI: the sign will be carefully dismantled and stored for possible future use somewhere else in the station)

This older schedule board will be removed allowing for more open space within the station (FYI: the sign will be carefully dismantled and stored for possible future use somewhere else in the station)

Because the older schedule board will be removed, two new large flat panel displays -- one for Metrolink, one for Amtrak -- will be installed on the walls in the waiting room catering to passengers

Because the older schedule board will be removed, two new large flat panel displays — one for Metrolink, one for Amtrak — will be installed on the walls in the waiting room catering to passengers

The main concourse will remove all non-historic tile and repaint the walls

The main concourse will remove all non-historic tile and repaint the walls

The grand ticket hall, closed to the public for decades, will finally be opened back up with possible commercial use such as kiosks

The grand ticket hall, closed to the public for decades, will finally be opened back up with possible commercial use such as kiosks

A peek behind the curtain reveals the beautiful grand ticket hall where the original ticket booths are being restored

A peek behind the curtain reveals the beautiful grand ticket hall where the original ticket booths are being restored

Exterior facade restoration continues with fresh paint and touch ups for the metal work

Exterior facade restoration continues with fresh paint and touch ups for the metal work

12 responses to “New Wayfinding Signs, More Upgrades Coming Soon to Union Station in Downtown LA

  1. Maybe it’s just me but I think removing the tile in the tunnel is a step backwards. I know it may not be original, but can’t we allow things that are tasteful additions to stand even when focusing on historic preservation of the overall building and style? Maybe I’m just looking at it before all of the work is done, and it’ll be better in the future. But a plain solid painted tunnel is pretty bland and boring.

    • Agreed. Unless they cover the tunnel walls with full-size ads (which I’m not totally opposed to, to be honest), I suspect we’ll see “Marlboro Man” shoe stains on the tunnel walls soon. Kinda seems like a step backward.

  2. Exciting news indeed. There are so many small things the MTA can do to improve service right away. As you exit the Red and Purple Lines, for instance, the monitors in front of you show the times for, uh, the Red and Purple Lines from which you have just exited. It would be far more useful to have the times for the Gold Line, to which a number of commuters are probably headed.

  3. From London, whilst Union Station is certainly not the biggest nor busiest, it’s a real gem and always worth a visit. Adding a few more retail and dining options would be a bonus

  4. More space, more commercial activity and all very nice. But, we will we get more lavatories too ? We had one or two taken away before all this commercial activity started. a few years back. Now there’s more people and that’s good. Don’t we need to have more and cleaner rest room facilities while transiting or waiting for a train/bus ?

    M.G.

  5. If they do open up the old ticket hall to everyone, it has bathroom facilities that people can use.

  6. more metrolink ticket vending machines please…and closer to actual metrolink gates

  7. Very exciting and interesting, however, I don’t understand removing the tile from the tunnel walls. I think it looked good, was practical and I would not have guessed it was not the original material. Painted walls will need additional maintenance and frequent repainting. The elephant in the room is what about the Harvey Restaurant space? It is spectacular. It will be interesting to see the changes as they take place. It seems well-thought out. Union Station is such a gem and I’m glad to see improvements that will enhance the basic structure.

  8. Just a thought here – I’m curious if there is a way to make a better connection with the outside spaces (like the courtyard) and the interior. I don’t have anything specific in mind, but I was thinking of a more continuous feeling throughout the interior and exterior.

  9. definitely the restrooms need upgrading. one small entryway for both mens and womens – with all the luggage that people tote around it gets very crowded there.

  10. Union Station is beautiful and the changes will make it even more beautiful.

  11. When are they going to let people sit down again? All those restaurants and new commercial crap, and nowhere to sit with your food. Very insulting to
    commuters.

Add Your Thoughts