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L.A. Metro Builds New Landscaped Plaza in Front of Lankershim Train Depot in North Hollywood

Wednesday November 28, 2018

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) has gone ‘back to the future’ in North Hollywood by adding a new landscaped plaza in front of the historic Lankershim Train Depot. Metro riders, residents and visitors can now gather in a lush garden just steps away from the popular Metro Orange and Red Line transit stations.

Metro has built an 8,500 square-foot natural oasis that features trees and plantings, a new pedestrian thoroughfare, outdoor seats and overhead lighting. Canary Island date palms and olive trees provide an iconic visual identity to the corner of Lankershim and Chandler boulevards. Metro’s “California Garden”-inspired theme is a tribute to the State’s early horticultural beginnings, and includes colorful and drought-tolerant perennials, California natives and succulent accent plants.

In developing this corner of its transit property, Metro sought to re-create a thriving public space that was originally built at Lankershim Depot around 1914. The park was used for town concerts and local events. At the time, Lankershim Depot served as an active station for the Pacific Electric Red Car, Southern California’s first passenger rail system. The Red Cars transported Angelenos to and from the rural but increasingly urban San Fernando Valley. 

“I’m excited to see an historic site like the Lankershim Depot transformed by Metro into a stunning 21st century transit station,” said Sheila Kuehl, L.A. County Supervisor and Metro Board Chair. “It’s a beautiful, peaceful refuge in the heart of an increasingly busy multi-modal transit hub.”

Metro’s landscape contractors, Mott-McDonald and Anil Verma Associates have implemented the concept of sustainable development for the new landscaped plaza, which includes low water usage and highly efficient irrigation systems. Plantings were specifically chosen to thrive in drought conditions. Metro is also extending water conservation efforts throughout the Metro Orange Line corridor. The agency is in the process of converting the irrigation systems from a potable water source to recycled water source. Drainage swales will be used along the line to provide natural drainage and recharge the groundwater system.

“This new landscaped plaza, built by Metro, is a wonderful complement to the historic Lankershim Depot and a welcome improvement for commuters and local residents,” said Paul Krekorian, L.A. City Council Member and Metro Board Member. “It directly reflects Metro’s ongoing efforts to preserve the San Fernando Valley’s transportation heritage, while also connecting it to the present and bright future ahead. North Hollywood’s continuing resurgence goes hand-in-hand with the transit revolution that is transforming so many neighborhoods like this across the Valley and throughout L.A. County.”

Prior to construction of the landscaped plaza, Metro used the lot as a construction staging area for an underground pedestrian passageway connecting the Metro Orange and Red Lines and later for a new Groundwork Coffee within Lankershim Depot that opened in February 2017. 

“Metro continues to breathe new life into North Hollywood for the benefit of all our San Fernando Valley transit customers,” said Metro CEO Phillip A. Washington. “This new amenity is just the latest example of our ongoing efforts to improve our customers’ transit experience.” 

Metro fully restored Lankershim Depot in 2014. The $3.6-million restoration project, with partial funding from the former Community Redevelopment Agency, included building new foundation and roof, electric and plumbing systems, platforms, signage and seismic upgrades. Metro also restored sidings, eaves, windows and doors.

Originally built in the 1890s, Lankershim Depot connected the region's agricultural industry to the ports. In 1911, the Pacific Electric Red Car line opened at this station and stayed in operation until 1952. It is the Valley's oldest unmodified railroad structure.

About Metro
The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) is unique among the nation’s transportation agencies. Created in 1993, Metro is a multimodal transportation agency that transports about 1.3 million passengers daily on a fleet of 2,200 clean air buses and six rail lines. The agency also oversees bus, rail, highway and other mobility-related building projects and leads transportation planning and programming for Los Angeles County.

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