Producers of the Academy Awards telecast have decided to produce some portion of the show from Union Station in downtown L.A.–and that could cause some disruption for commuters and travelers who use Union Station for its intended purpose, as one of the city’s largest multimodal transit hubs.
Following last week’s announcement that Union Station would figure into the Oscars ceremony, a spokesperson for the L.A. County Metropolitan Transportation Authority told Variety that his agency intends to continue operating normal service while the event it going on. However, to accommodate the Hollywood fête, the front entrance and approach, as well as the historic Ticketing Hall and Grand Waiting Room will be closed to the public.
Journalist Scott Frazier of L.A. Podcast observed on Twitter that the proposed closure of the front entrance could send commuters walking a loop of more than half a mile to access Olvera Street, Chinatown, and other popular destinations served by Union Station.
So this is your plan? (or?) pic.twitter.com/hNKVwr0cye
— Scott Frazier (@safrazie) March 17, 2021
Though the Metro spokesperson told Variety that Sunday is generally a lower-ridership day and overall use of public transportation has dropped during the pandemic, those who have continued to travel by Metro are often those who don’t have another option, including essential workers traveling to and from jobs that may not follow a typical Monday-to-Friday schedule.
Further complicating the matter, by the time of the Oscars in late April, there will likely be more commercial reopening–thus, more people commuting to work in the neighborhood and elsewhere–as well as the possibility for out-of-town travelers arriving at Union Station by Amtrak or LAX Flyaway. Additionally, a home game is scheduled for Dodger Stadium that night, and Union Station is a popular way for many to travel to games; officials plan to allow 11,200 fans to attend in person.