The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) revamped and expanded its El Monte Bus Station. It is set to open to the public on Oct. 14.
The upgrade of the El Monte facility, which first opened in 1973, is part of the Congestion Reduction Demonstration Program known as Metro ExpressLanes and is funded by a $210 million federal grant by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Metro and Caltrans District 7, along with Foothill Transit, Gardena Transit, the Los Angeles Department of Transportation, and Torrance Transit are partnering in a one-year demonstration project during which existing carpool lanes on the I-10 El Monte Busway and the I-110 Harbor Transitway will be converted to High-Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes called Metro ExpressLanes.
As part of the Metro ExpressLanes program, a portion of the funding is being used to improve transportation facilities in El Monte near the I-10 San Bernardino Freeway and the Harbor Gateway Transit Center in Gardena adjacent to the I-110 Harbor Transitway to allow for better bus connections and improved bus service along these two heavily traveled corridors. The new facility at El Monte will give the public added opportunities to use public transit instead of driving during their daily commute.
The new $60 million El Monte Station consists of a new two-story building that will house a public bus and terminal station with limited retail space, a customer service center and surface parking. Construction on the new facility began in September 2010.
Currently, approximately 22,000 patrons use the facility daily. It is the largest bus station west of Chicago and is used by Metro, Foothill Transit, Greyhound, El Monte Transit and Metrolink Shuttle.
The upgrading of the El Monte Bus Station is an essential part of the success of the ExpressLane project in an effort to provide commuters, regardless of income level, with new and better travel options along two of Los Angeles County's most congested corridors. ExpressLanes along the Harbor Freeway will open November 10. ExpressLanes along the San Bernardino Freeway will open in early 2013.
"The opening of this new bus facility is a major milestone as we strive to improve transportation services for the region," said Metro CEO Art Leahy. "Better connections and better bus service await passengers using this new facility."
The station is twice the size of the old facility and features modern amenities, including variable message signs, intercoms, closed-circuit television, solar panels, wayfinding equipment and information displays, new elevators and escalators, a transit store, bike stations and lockers.
Project highlights of the new facility include an increase in daily passenger capacity by 82% (from 22,000 to 40,000); increase in bus bays by 87% (from 16 to 30), installation of 30 bike lockers/storage units, better accommodations for both 40-foot and 60-foot buses and enhanced law enforcement presence.
A monumental sculpture by internationally renowned artist Donald Lipski is incorporated in the new El Monte Station as part of Metro's public art program. Time Piece features three functional clocks suspended from an elegant, sweeping stainless steel arch using a web of thin stainless steel cables.
The new facility uses energy efficient and sustainable building methods and was built to Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) Gold standards. Construction of the new facility generated more than 350 construction-related jobs.
The construction work at the El Monte Station was done by KPRS Construction Services based in Brea under contact to Metro. RNL Design is the design architect and Gensler is the architect of record for the project.