"The last time we've done something as grand as this was building Bunker Hill," said Vaughan Davies, director of urban design with AECOM, a planning and engineering firm working on the project.
It would also convert some 100 acres currently covered in freeways or parking lots into green space, Davies
A meeting on Thursday, May 13, at the Caltrans headquarters will represent the first step in a public approval and entitlement process, though Davies
acknowledges that the grand vision put together by AECOM
will likely be pared down into a more feasible undertaking.
said the entitlement process could take five years.
Funding sources are also unclear, though Davies
said the project will pursue everything from Measure R money, which voters approved in 2009 to support various transportation projects, to federal grant dollars and private investment.
Perhaps the most viable economic engine for the project, said Davies
, stems from the so-called Alameda District Plan.
Approved by the city in 1996, it entitled some 11 million square feet of space for commercial and residential development in the area east and north of Union Station.
said project stakeholders will pursue a change in the plan so that its boundaries would stretch further west, encompassing the proposed Park 101 project area in order to encourage various kinds of new development.
The first piece would likely center around El Pueblo and Union Station, making a more pedestrian friendly walkway between the two landmarks, and capping the segment of the freeway between Main and Los Angeles streets, Davies