By Sue Favor
WILLOWBROOK — The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority debuted the new Rosa Parks Customer Center and Transit Court in Oct. 26 to celebrate the first round of $128 million in improvements to the popular transit stop.
The upgraded hub on South Willowbrook Avenue and Imperial Highway, is the fourth-busiest station in the MTA system, with more than 25,000 riders passing through each day. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said the changes were designed to “make life a little fairer” for area residents.
“These are changes designed to expand access, opportunity and equity to transit riders in South Los Angeles,” he said.
“Public transit is the great equalizer. It’s an instrumental piece of leveling the playing field and making sure people have access to the job market … to spur people coming back from a pandemic to find jobs for their families.”
The Customer Center, which will initially be open 10 a.m.-2 p.m. weekdays, is where riders can buy and load transit passes and get MTA system information. The transit court offers live telephonic service from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays, answering questions about customer code of conduct, citations, fine amounts, payment of fines, appeals process, community service and the scheduling of hearings.
The remaining portions of the revamped station are scheduled to open in phases.
Funding for the project was provided by the Federal Transit Administration as part of the New Blue Improvements Project, to create an improved experience for transit users, pedestrians and bicyclists. The goal of the $10.25 million project is to promote economic vitality through promoting equitable development that reflects the character of the area.
Other upgrades to the station include an extended rail platform, a new southern entrance, new elevators, escalators and a mezzanine between the A and C Line platforms. New lighting, landscaping, signage and artwork will encase the amenities.
Safety and security have been enhanced at the station with new security cameras, LED lighting and an upgraded public address system.
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.
MTA Board member Jacquelyn Dupont-Walker said the improvements were part of an effort to bring better facilities to a part of the city that has not traditionally had them.
“[The MTA] is investing in our communities of color and improving their transit experience in concrete and measurable ways,” Dupont-Walker said. “This is especially important as [we focus] on equity to help make our region’s underserved communities better. [We have] built a new public transit space at Willowbrook/Rosa Parks that clearly enhances the quality of life for transit riders in South Los Angeles.”
The Mobility Hub, scheduled to open in mid-November, will offer light bicycle repairs, maintenance and storage. Other mobility components and amenities will also be programmed in the near future to enhance commuters’ experience.
The MTA will have a transit security office across from the Customer Center, and bicycle storage will also eventually be available, as will electric vehicle charging stations.
County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who also serves on the MTA board, praised the project, and said residents deserved it.
“The investments made in this station show that we care about the riders in this community,” he said. “They are valued.”