Supervisor and Metro Board member Mark Ridley-Thomas joined Mayor and Metro Board Chair Eric Garcetti, Metro Board member Jacquelyn Dupont-Walker and Metro CEO Phillip A. Washington on a visit to the Willowbrook/Rosa Parks Station along the A Line for a sneak-peek of the new state-of-the-art Rosa Parks Customer Center (RPCC).
The Rosa Parks Customer Center and the Transit Court is now open to serve the public from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday through Friday. The Mobility Hub is anticipated to open in mid-November. Once it opens, working hours will be 24/7.
“The Willowbrook community in the heart of South LA has undergone a dramatic transformation over the past decade, thanks to more than $1 billion in investments towards the MLK Medical Campus, affordable apartments, parks and other projects,” LA County Supervisor and Metro Board Director Mark Ridley-Thomas said. “With the newly improved Rosa Parks/Willowbrook Station, we now have the perfect gateway to and from the rest of the region, with a beautiful design, safety features and amenities that both riders and residents will appreciate.”
The station went through a $128-million renovation and modernization project that includes a public plaza area, customer center, transit security center, transit court and mobility hub. Metro is putting the finishing touches on the buildings.
“Public transportation is more than just a way to move around our region — it’s a vehicle for opportunity, equity, and a better quality of life,” said Metro Board Chair and L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti. “The new Rosa Parks Customer Center will help transform one of the busiest transit hubs in our region into a state-of-the-art station to travel, transfer, and navigate any issues that riders may have with the system.”
The $10.25 million TIGER funding provided by the Federal Transit Administration made possible the improvements to the Willowbrook/Rosa Parks Station as part of the New Blue Improvements Project creating an improved environment for transit users, pedestrians, and bicyclists who access the station. The project improvements aim to foster livability and economic vitality through promoting equitable development that retains the area’s unique culture and neighborhood character.
Other improvements to the station include an extended rail platform and new southern entrance to the platform. There is also new artwork, lighting, landscaping, signage, upgraded elevators, escalators, stairs and mezzanine between the A and C Line platforms.
The new facilities at the Willowbrook/Rosa Parks Station are part of the New Blue Improvements Project State of Good Repair Program that also included a $350-million overhaul of the entire A Line in 2019 to improve train service.
“Metro is investing in our communities of color and improving their transit experience in concrete and measurable ways,” said Metro Board Member Jacquelyn Dupont-Walker. “This is especially important as Metro focuses on equity to help make our region’s underserved communities better. Metro has built a new public transit space at Willowbrook/Rosa Parks that clearly enhances the quality of life for transit riders in South Los Angeles.”
At the new Rosa Parks Customer Center transit riders can buy and load transit passes onto their TAP cards, obtain information about getting around on the Metro system and submit applications for Reduced Fare. This will be Metro’s fifth customer center joining existing ones at Union Station East, Baldwin Hills/Crenshaw, East Los Angeles and Wilshire/Vermont.
“The improvements to Willowbrook/Rosa Parks Station and all its amenities are intended to be a welcoming gateway to the Metro system,” said Metro CEO Phillip A. Washington. “This community has supported us with great patronage and ridership for many years — and I’m pleased to see their faith in us rewarded with a vastly-improved station.”
The Mobility Hub will offer light bicycle repairs, maintenance and storage. Other mobility components and amenities will also be program in the near future to enhance commuters’ experience.
The Transit Court operates in a COVID-19 compliant manner with live telephonic service from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, answering questions about customer code of conduct, citations, fine amounts, payment of fines, appeals process, community service and the scheduling of hearings.
Metro will also have a Transit Security office just across from the Customer Center. Security guards will be patrolling the station and also providing security to the Customer Center and Transit Court.
Safety and security at the station have also been enhanced with over 150 new security cameras, an upgraded LED lighting system that provides brighter conditions and better illumination, and a new public address system.
Metro commissioned two artworks for the Willowbrook/Rosa Parks Station Improvement Project as part of a range of improvements to the existing station.
Gifts of Freedom and Knowledge, a photo collage mural by artist George Evans in the customer center, greets transit customers with its layered composition celebrating South Los Angeles’ distinct people, neighborhoods and cultural traditions. In keeping with a commitment to cultivate young artists, Evans held arts programs engaging youth from local schools and organizations.
“My role is that of a Shaman who reflects and expresses the life of the village,” said Evans.
Slated for installation in early 2021 is a series of sculptural parasols titled Second Line by artists Jamex and Einar de la Torre. The sculptures will front the Rosa Parks Customer Center and offer shade and enjoyment for the community at future events.
The artists recognized that parasols are featured in processions in the ancient and modern worlds. The artwork pays homage to the significance of Parks’ actions by including her iconic image and several significant symbols from the civil rights movement in the patterning of the parasol canopy. The parasols reflect folk art traditions, referencing the warmth of home and strength of communal gathering in the form of papel picado and doilies.