downtown los angeles, financial district

Approved: New Metro Pedestrian Tunnel Linking The Bloc in Downtown LA

A "knock out panel" (seen where the illuminated maps are) will be taken out to make way for a new pedestrian tunnel linking to The Bloc across 7th Street

A “knock out panel” (seen where the illuminated maps are) will be taken out to make way for a new pedestrian tunnel linking to The Bloc across 7th Street

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.

7th Metro

metro 02

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.

20 Comments

  1. Why would this have operating hours 6am – 10pm? Unless the entire shopping center was closed outside those hours, doesn’t make sense…

    I assume that restaurants at The Bloc will be open after 10pm, and Metro runs later than 10pm, so the connection should be open as long as both of those are.

  2. Blue Line B says

    The MTA or the Bloc will need to have a cleaning crew clean the passageway hourly. The Hope St passageway is always reeking of urine and feces from the homeless to hang out in the station.

  3. Jesse Traughber says

    We will still have to pay additional fare to stop at the Bloc.

  4. Dieter Muller says

    Shouldn’t people be using the crosswalk to get across the street? Somebody please enlighten me why this silly 12′ tunnel is such a big deal for the public.

    • Belial says

      Saves people from having to go up stairs and outside in weather, or with luggage or bags; reduces congestion both on the street and in the station.

    • Lol Dieter Muller, obviously you haven’t traveled much out of the country…

  5. Jhileman says

    12′ tunnel costing $9.3M? That’s $64,583 PER INCH! Does anyone think that sounds kinda expensive?

    • icebrg says

      Tunnels are not cheap, but if you read the article that also includes an easement fee, which presumably is the biggest chunk of what Metro is paying for. Not to mention those are project costs, not construction cost. There are architects, engineers and entitlements to pay for as well.

    • I think12 feet refers to the width. It’s probably also going to be12 feet high and approximately 80 feet long. That should get the cost down to about $800 a cubic foot or $0.46 cents per cubic inch

  6. Belial says

    So hopefully this will be a precedent for them to build a similar tunnel over to the Wilshire Grand building when that’s open.

  7. Good news for downtown. A few more pedestrian access tunnels like this one, and we might just get L.A. Metro looking like Tokyo yet

    • Shabaz says

      Good luck being like Tokyo…. at the present rate, that will take a few hundred years.

      We Americans just don’t prioritize moving mass amounts of people efficiently (and cheaply) around the city or state or country very well. If we did, we may look more like China, Japan, India, Mexico, and the majority of European countries. Lack of access to cheap transportation (without the need for a car and driver’s license) is what keeps our citizens fairly regional and parochial in attitude and interest. You have to have money and college-educated to be able and interested to travel around the city/country/world when living here…. Los Angeles is no different.

  8. aardvark says

    My god, look at us. We’re all grown up and play at the big cities table now.

  9. Manujon says

    @Steven White, privet property, that’s why.
    @Jhileman it takes more than a shovel and hammer to build a tunnel where thousands of heavy cars pass everyday. Let’s not play stupid now.

  10. Glad to see that Downtown is getting the Metro’s first commercial connection to shopping. That’s especially convenient for the residents of Roosevelt Lofts and 655 Hope lofts.

  11. RK says

    @shabaz

    Los Angeles can build a good transit system quite quickly if we ever put our minds to it as we did with the freeways. Don’t talk down to LA as though we’re close minded and regional when our airport has such a high number of direct flights to basically every single part of the world.

    Also, India is a terrible model for transit. Probably shouldn’t lump them in with Europe and China just because a few rail lines are being built there. And that’s coming from someone of indian descent.

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