A pedestrian tunnel connecting Metro riders to the shops at Downtown LA’s new open-air mall, The Bloc, opened this morning. It’s the first time a Metro station has funneled riders directly into private businesses—and it probably won’t be the last.
During this morning’s opening ceremony for the 25-foot tunnel, Metro board member Jacquelyn DuPont-Walker said the public-private project would be the “first of many.” The transit agency is planning a number of ways to finance projects by striking deals with private companies, including selling naming rights to its stations to corporate sponsors.
With the portal now open, riders disembarking from trains at 7th Street/Metro Center—which is served by the Blue, Expo, Red, and Purple Lines—no longer have to cross the street to get to The The Bloc, which is the catchy new name for the made over mall anchored by Macy’s. Now, riders may exit toward Hope Street to walk through the tunnel and into the mall.
Metro and The Bloc split the $9.3 million cost to build the tunnel, which will be open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., according to Streetsblog LA.
Streetsblog LA explains:
“Metro, in the 1990s, had the foresight to build its underground stations with knock-out panels to facilitate these types of expansion. A similar panel was removed to make way for Metro’s recently-opened North Hollywood Station underpass.”