I have ridden the Regional Connector

I have been following the Los Angeles Metro since about 2014. In 2014 they had a bunch of different construction projects queued up, and I was eagerly following them to the extent I could from the other side of the country. The first project to come to fruition since I started following them was the Expo Line (now E Line) Santa Monica Extension, which I got to ride only a few months after it opened.

Downtown Santa Monica Station full view
Downtown Santa Monica, terminus of the Expo Line extension

One project that I was really excited about was the Regional Connector, a tunnel downtown which would bridge a gap in the light rail system. Prior to the Regional Connector, to get from a station on the Blue or Expo Line to the Gold Line, you had to take the Red or Purple Line, meaning that a trip from the Westside to Pasadena would require three trains. This obviously wasn’t an ideal situation and was never intended to be a permanent solution, but was the status quo for roughly two decades. However, that gap has now been bridged by the Regional Connector, which breaks the former Gold Line into two pieces and joins each piece with one of the lines coming out of 7th Street/Metro Center. Now we have the A Line from Long Beach to Azusa and the E Line from Santa Monica to East LA.

I immediately noticed the different going from the Westside to Chinatown. Instead of a transfer at 7th Street/Metro Center and then another transfer that involves a long escalator and a lot of walking at Union Station, I could just change trains in the tunnel, saving me a lot of time and walking.

In addition to making getting around easier for people going across Los Angeles, this project also improves connectivity downtown by opening two new stations. The stations are, in my opinion at least, pretty impressive.

Platform at Little Tokyo/Arts District
Platform at Little Tokyo
Entrance plaza at Little Tokyo/Arts District
Entrance at Little Tokyo
Platform at Grand Ave Arts/Bunker Hill
Platform at Grand Ave Arts/Bunker Hill
Entrance at Grand Ave Arts/Bunker Hill from across the street
Entrance at Grand Ave Arts/Bunker Hill
Platform at Historic Broadway
Platform at Historic Broadway
Entrance at Historic Broadway
Entrance at Historic Broadway

In all, I’ve been waiting years for this to happen and am glad to see it come to life. A lot more is coming to the Los Angeles Metro in the coming years and I am excited to see it.