Tribune Co. scuttles subway entrance plan

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Transportation officials have shelved plans for a second entrance to a downtown subway station across from L.A. police headquarters and the Los Angeles Times because the newspaper’s parent company says it may develop the site, according to Metro documents published Tuesday.

The Tribune Co. property, a parking lot in downtown L.A.’s Historic Core, is the site of a future station along a $1.4-billion subway aimed at closing one of the most frustrating gaps in Los Angeles County’s growing rail network. The Downtown Regional Connector will link two light-rail lines 1.9 miles apart, one near Staples Center and the other near Union Station.

When the rail project is completed, scheduled for 2020, passengers will be able to travel across the county on one train, eliminating two transfers and $3 a trip in extra fares.


The only subway station entrance on Tribune property, at 2nd Street and Broadway, would face east, two blocks from Police Department headquarters and three blocks from Los Angeles City Hall.

Tribune Co. spokesman Gary Weitman declined to comment on any possible development at the site. Metro spokesman Rick Jager said a non-disclosure agreement with Tribune prevented him from discussing any details.

The discussion of development around the station came as staff members for the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority recommended awarding a $927-million joint contract for the connector to Skanska USA and Traylor Bros., two construction firms building other regional rail projects.

Skanska-Traylor was not the rail line’s lowest bidder: Their proposal was $39 million higher than another bid Metro considered. But the winning group’s promise to finish construction 115 days early and its willingness to absorb the cost of any delays caused by Metro or subcontractors justified the higher price, agency staff members wrote.

Metro directors are slated to vote on the contract and the budget reallocations at their April 24 meeting. Another lucrative contract, for the $2.8-billion Westside subway extension through Mid-City to La Cienega Boulevard, will probably be awarded over the summer.

The Metro report highlighted one possible snag in the downtown connector’s ambitious schedule: The agency is still waiting for the Los Angeles Police Commission to approve permits for construction work during nighttime, holidays, peak hours and weekends. Without the waivers, the cost of the project could rise by 15%, to about $1.68 billion, and open a year late.


Metro has also shelved a pedestrian bridge that would link the 2nd Street and Hope Station to the cultural attractions along Grand Avenue, including the Broad Museum and the Walt Disney Concert Hall. The bridge will not be built unless community leaders can find the money, agency staff members said.


Twitter: @laura_nelson