|Location||N Alameda Street|
Los Angeles, California
|Platforms||1 island platform|
|Status||Closed, replacement under construction|
|Opened||November 15, 2009|
|Closed||October 24, 2020(surface station)|
|Rebuilt||2022 (underground station)|
Little Tokyo/Arts District station is a future underground light rail station in the Metro Rail system that will replace a former at-grade station with the same name. The former station was located at the intersection of 1st Street and Alameda Street, on the edge of Little Tokyo and the Arts District in Downtown Los Angeles. The former station opened in 2009 as part of the Gold Line Eastside Extension, and was served by the L Line. The at-grade platform closed in October 2020, and the new underground platform near First Street between Alameda and Central Avenue is scheduled to open in 2022. A bus bridge currently operates along the line until the replacement is completed.
Both the original Little Tokyo/Arts District station and the new one under construction are located on the border of two neighborhoods, Little Tokyo to the west and the Arts District to the east. A number of educational attractions are near the station, with the Southern California Institute of Architecture, Japanese American National Museum, and the Geffen Contemporary branch of the Museum of Contemporary Art.
This area was once a key area for trains in downtown. James M. Davies, for whom the large tract was named, subdivided the area in 1891. Several railroad lines from different companies connected through this site. Davies great-nephew, Robert Davies Volk, was the owner of the lots at First and Alameda streets with brick buildings shaped to fit the long-gone rail lines. The structures had played an important role in the cultural life of the Little Tokyo neighborhood for decades before the site was cleared for the future station. Los Angeles Railway P Line yellow streetcars operated on the surface of 1st Street until 1963, including a call at Alameda.
The new Little Tokyo/Arts District station will be underground, located on the west side of Alameda with entrances 500 feet (150 m) south of the original station; it is being built as part of the Regional Connector project. The Regional Connector is a light rail tunnel through Downtown Los Angeles that will connect the current Metro Rail A, E, and L Lines. Under current plans, the station will be served by both the restructured A Line, connecting Long Beach and the San Gabriel Valley, and the restructured E Line, connecting Santa Monica and East Los Angeles. The new station was originally referred to as 1st St/Central in planning documents, but was ultimately assigned the same name as the existing station. The decision to rebuild the station underground was driven in part by traffic concerns on Alameda and 1st Street caused by at-grade trains. The Regional Connector is scheduled to open in 2022.
Preliminary work for the underground station required the demolition of two modest single-story brick store buildings with one of the structures dating back to at least 1898. A series of new developments are being built on the blocks surrounding the station. The above-ground station was briefly closed in early 2016 due to the relocation of tracks for the Regional Connector project. The above-ground station was again closed for the final time on October 24, 2020, and the underground station is planned to open 22 months later. Until the replacement station is completed, a bus bridge will operate between Union Station and Pico/Aliso station for those riders traveling along the L Line.
Beyond the Regional Connector opening, the West Santa Ana Branch Transit Corridor is planned to terminate downtown via a new light rail tunnel to Union Station. The line will feature a new transfer at Little Tokyo/Arts District station, which requires connecting the two subways with new infrastructure.