What are the requirements for a city’s public transit system to operate successfully? We want connections between the city’s main train station and the local sports stadiums, lines between residential cores into areas of entertainment, and connections between different modes of transportation such as main stations for rail, air, and bus travel. But we also benefit from smaller, smart connections too – ones of shorter length offering more direct routes on existing transit systems to shopping and places of work.
An example of this last type of shorter, direct route for pedestrians opened recently in Downtown Los Angeles along my own commute to the office. A pedestrian walkway now connects the western end of the 7th and Metro station to the lower level of the newly renovated The Bloc shopping mall. Looking south from the vending machines, travelers can see a new elevator, stair, and an escalator to carry pedestrians from the Metro station up to the lower level of the Bloc. The Macy’s large department store continues to anchor the southern edge of the mall, but a number of new shops and restaurants are opening or being constructed on the east and west sides around a central open space.
This open air mall should hopefully draw people for dining and shopping, which in turn will offer exposure to business not visible from 7th or Hope. This underground connection will play a part in improving foot traffic to this hidden retail and dining mall. And, since one does not need to go through the turnstiles, it provides a direct and free route from the north side of the street to the south (though I have doubts most people will go to this trouble when the above-ground intersection of Hope and 7th Streets is so nearby). Most likely, it just provides easier access to and from The Bloc to the 7th/Metro Blue, Red, Purple and Exposition line trains.
It is encouraging to see improvements like this one being constructed to connect citizens to existing modes of transportation and public spaces, making access to key locations in the city more accessible for all. I’ll be eagerly keeping an eye for more connections like this in the future of Los Angeles.