An exciting new pedestrian tunnel linking LA’s busiest subway station 7th Street/Metro Center with The Bloc in Downtown LA was approved today by Metro’s Board of Directors. The Board adopted Metro’s Planning and Program Committee’s formal recommendation presented in a prior meeting that took place recently on April 15 to authorize the funding and approval of “The Bloc/Metro Connection.” The project entails a new 12-foot tunnel underneath 7th Street that will allow transit riders to directly access The Bloc without having to come up to the street level and vice versa.
In a joint development between The Bloc and Metro, The Bloc will construct the new pedestrian tunnel abiding by Metro’s final approved design and Metro will retain ownership and be responsible for the maintenance of the tunnel. Daily operating hours of the tunnel will be from 6 am to 10 pm.
The new underground pedestrian tunnel will be located adjacent to the current TAP vending machines near the eastern Hope Street portal of the 7th/Metro station. To allow for the tunnel to be built and connected into The Bloc, a “knock-out panel” that Metro installed at 7th/Metro station, and many other stations throughout the system, will be removed.
The cost for the project is estimated to be $9.3 million, which includes a one time easement fee that Metro will pay The Bloc and necessary improvements to integrate the new passageway connection into the shopping center. Out of the total cost, Metro will kick in roughly half not to exceed $4.65 million while The Bloc will pay for the rest.
Construction is slated to begin very soon and is projected to finish in late 2015, which is around the same time that The Bloc is expected to open as well. When completed, this will not only be the first southern entrance to the station along 7th Street, but also the first of its kind in Los Angeles to connect public transit directly underground into a private commercial development seen commonly in other transit-oriented cities around the world. The tunnel may only be 12 feet long, but it is symbolic of LA’s urban fabric maturing.