Work began on Willowbrook/Rosa Parks station this Thursday with the demolition of a building across the street from the station. The space will make room for a new civic plaza, bike hub, customer service and security center.
Labeled “The New Blue” project by Metro officials, the $109 million renovation to the 22-mile line started in 2014 and will add four new rail switches and site-specific artwork by artists Jamex, Einar de la Torre and George Evans and replace rail in downtown Long Beach.
“The Willowbrook/Rosa Parks Station is critical. It will really expand as we open up the Crenshaw line, the Regional Connector, and the Purple Line extensions,” said Phil Washington, CEO of Metro. “Over the next 10 years, we’re going to spend a billion dollars on the Blue Line. The entire fleet of cars for the Blue Line will be brand new.”
Jacquelyn Dupont-Walker, Director Social Action Commission, described meeting the station’s namesake, Rosa Parks, as a child in Tallahassee, Florida. Parks is the inspiration for the Rosa Parks Villas, affordable housing development in Willowbrook, “a place where people can come and grow and develop,” DuPont-Walker said.
In addition to the Rosa Parks Villas, The Gateway at Willowbrook is another affordable housing option convenient to the Willowbrook/Rosa Parks Station. The newly opened senior apartment complex shares a building with the Willowbrook branch of the Los Angeles County Library. Second District County Supervisor, Mark Ridley-Thomas, cited these recent projects as evidence of the community’s continuous growth. Nearby schools and businesses are also expected to benefit from the station upgrades.
“A lot of our students and staff ride the train,” said Armando Estrada, Director of Risk Management Campus Safety and Security at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Sciences, which is less than than a 10 minute walk from the station. “I think it will actually encourage more people to take the train. I don’t think a lot of people realize how convenient it is.”
The Willowbrook/Rosa Parks station opened in 1990, on the original Blue Line route. It connects the Blue Line and Green Line to local and express buses. It is the fourth-busiest station in Metro’s system, according to a media release by Metro.
“To put it simply, the new Willowbrook/Rosa Parks Station has something for everyone,” Supervisor Ridley-Thomas said.
The Willowbrook/Rosa Parks Station is set to reopen in the summer of 2020.
A previous version of this story misstated the cost of the improvements.