Today was a very exciting day for urban advocates in Los Angeles! Transit accessibility and convenience went up a great notch with the opening of Metro’s first pedestrian tunnel that links the busy 7th/Metro Center subway station — actually the busiest station in Los Angeles — directly into a private commercial property, and in this case, the shopping center known as The Bloc.
At 9 am, both Metro and The Bloc officials were joined by Councilman Jose Huizar and actor Ed Begley, Jr to celebrate the grand opening of the long-awaited pedestrian tunnel. After a slight delay (it was supposed to open on Jan 22, but the heavy rains caused some delays apparently), the portal leading to the 12-foot long passageway was finally opened up allowing transit riders to access The Bloc without having to come out of the station and cross 7th Street, saving time and adding convenience.
Funding for the pedestrian tunnel — an estimated cost of $9.3 million — was approved back in April 2015, 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.
Metro planners and engineers designed the station back in the 80s with “knock-out panels” that make it possible to connect via tunnel to neighboring commercial properties. Now, riders can access The Bloc easily much like other transit-oriented cities where transit links directly into shopping centers and other private developments.
Access to the tunnel portal will be from 6 am to 10 pm daily.