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LA Metro progresses with extension project through Westwood

Construction for the Westwood/UCLA metro station continues on Wilshire Boulevard. The two stations in Westwood make up the final stops on the extension and are slated for completion in 2027.(Finn Chitwood/Daily Bruin staff)

By Christine Kao

Aug. 15, 2022 11:46 a.m.

The Los Angeles Metro is making its way to Westwood through the Purple (D Line) Extension Transit Project.

Expanding from the existing Wilshire/Western stop in Koreatown, the project is adding seven new stations along Wilshire Boulevard, leading into West LA to improve the traveling experiences between downtown and the Westside, according to the Metro website.

Both upcoming Westwood stations, Westwood/UCLA and Westwood/VA Hospital, make up the final section of construction area slated for completion in 2027, according to the Metro website.

Located on Westwood Boulevard, the penultimate station of Westwood/UCLA will be where riders may enter Westwood Village from a stop in Century City. The Purple Line will terminate at the Westwood/VA Hospital station, which connects the south side of Wilshire Boulevard to the West LA Medical Center, according to the Purple (D Line) Extension First/Last Mile Plan.

Furkan Yalcin, president of the North Westwood Neighborhood Council, said he was excited to learn about the plan.

Yalcin said business owners will greatly benefit from the project, as the extended railway could bring greater foot traffic into the village. He added that it is important for Westwood to be connected to the rest of LA as the city looks to host the Summer Olympics in 2028.

“A train station is really a fantastic opportunity to revitalize a neighborhood, so I am looking forward to the Purple Line extension finally coming to Westwood and all of the opportunities that will bring to UCLA and to the Westwood community at large,” Yalcin said.

(Finn Chitwood/Daily Bruin staff)
Construction for the stops along the Purple (D Line) extension cause road closures on Wilshire Boulevard. The project will create several stops along Wilshire Boulevard, expanding west from the existing Wilshire/Western stop in Koreatown. (Finn Chitwood/Daily Bruin staff)

David Karwaski, director of mobility planning and traffic systems at UCLA Transportation, said the project is going to impact Westwood like no other operation has since the establishment of Interstate 405.

“It is transformative in that the Purple Line will in one sense shrink the city,” Karwaski said. “And what I mean by that is the shortened travel time.”

Linking the east part of the city to campus could bring more activities and people into both Westwood and UCLA with less car traffic, Karwaski added. Karwaski said the project will alleviate transportation insecurity for people across LA.

Both Karwaski and Yalcin also said the project has the potential to expand housing options for the UCLA community. Having a railway that arrives directly to the doorstep of UCLA, Karwaski said, may allow students and faculty to live in further residential locations.

Additionally, the project’s new stations will feature artwork from 17 commissioned artists, according to a Metro release.

Clare Haggarty, senior manager for transportation planning in arts and design at the LA Metro, said the architecturally integrated artworks in earlier stations have been helpful to customers in their navigation.

“The artwork itself becomes this landmark,” Haggarty said. “It is really critical for wayfinding in the station and to know which station you’re at.”

Yunhee Min, one of the five artists contributing to the Westwood/UCLA station, said she plans to create a mosaic piece for the station’s hall. Min said it was exciting to propose the piece for the station, as UCLA stands as an important cultural institution of LA.

Min added that she takes major inspiration from artist and educator Corita Kent, whose works present the concept of passing time, an idea Min hopes to incorporate into her upcoming work. Kent’s art pieces are also part of the Grunwald Center Collection at the Hammer Museum.

Min’s hope for her creation at the station, she said, is for people to notice it even just in passing – perhaps not during the first few visits, but eventually.

“I think our environments make a difference in the way we feel about not only a space but ultimately, in some sense, the way we associate with a place,” Min said.

Min said she also looks forward to the artwork being in a democratic and public place such as the Metro station. She added that as a citizen of the city, she thinks the extension would be an impressive infrastructure and an important resource for the public.

With the subway station work progressing and the tunnel connecting Westwood and Century City under construction, Karwaski said westbound drivers can expect detours because of closures on Wilshire Boulevard on the weekends from early August to November.

Karwaski added that the construction is currently in great progress.

“We look forward to the subway’s arrival and improved connectivity to the rest of the LA area,” Karwaski said.

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Christine Kao | Photographer
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