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Some Pictures of Willowbrook Rosa Parks Station

Written July 12, 2023

sunlight reflects off the sides of a p3010 light rail vehicle as its doors close
a westbound green line train about to leave

For the last couple years, I've ridden LA metro's C and A lines pretty regularly, a few times per week most of the time. Willowbrook Rosa Parks station provides a direct transfer between them, and I've spent a lot of time waiting there. The space is dominated by the 105 freeway viaduct, which forms a ceiling over the older A line platform and bus plaza, and surrounds the elevated C line platform with noise and particulate pollution. It's hard to ignore this overbearing and oppressive structure, but despite it there's a lot to appreciate about this station, even when you're just transferring through.

skyline view skyline view
skyline view skyline view
skyline view
some views of the downtown skyline, from the C line platform

Willowbrook is a grade separated perpendicular transfer station. The A line (blue) station was opened in 1990 as Imperial/Wilmington station. The freeway viaduct was already in place above it, as seen in this lovely archival footage even before the 105 and the green line would open in '95. Since then, the station has stayed the same in function - passengers transfer between blue and green via stairs and elevators through a small mezzanine, between blue and the bus plaza via a grade crossing, and between green and the bus plaza via direct elevators and escalators.

a p3010 train arrives southbound at the platform under the viaduct. across a fence and freight tracks from the light rail, a bus plaza with at least a dozen bays.
View of the blue line and bus plaza.
looking up an escalator through a lozenge shaped opening in the viaduct. the metal canopy and plexiglass skylight of the green line platform let sunlight in from above.
The escalator from the bus plaza to the green line

The two lines connect outside of regular service, too. There's a central siding on the green line that descends down a steep grade, then curves sharply to connect to the blue line. This "non-revenue connector" allows track maintenance vehicles and light rail trains to move between the two lines and their operating divisions.

 rosy early morning light shines through the non-revenue connection's narrow train-sized passageway
Willowbrook Rosa Parks non-revenue connector

More recently, the station has also gained a Metro customer service center and a bike hub just south of the bus plaza. Like most green line stations, it has a small park and ride lot next to it, but unlike most green line stations it's directly adjecent to a large shopping plaza, setting it apart from other freeway stations in general "feel".

across two standard gauge train tracks separated by a fence, buses stop in front of shade and light canopies.
Looking southwest at the bus plaza and bike hub from the A line platform
On a planter near the station entrance, a plaque reading: Rosa Parks Plaza. This plaza and adjacent metro customer center are dedicated to the memory of the mother of the modern day civil rights movement, Rosa Louise Parks (February 4th 1913 - October 24th 2005). In 1955 she refused to give up her seat to a white man on a segregated bus in Montgomery, Alabama. Her brave act of defiance inspired the Montgomery bus boycott and became a symbol for the national movement that ended Jim Crow laws in the United States. She fought to end racial injustice throughout her life and continued to insist there was more work to be done.
The plaque commemorating the station's recent renaming after Rosa Parks

Although not the only grade separated perpendicular transfer station on the LA Metro system, and only the second (or maybe third or fourth, depending on how you count North Hollywood and/or Union station) busiest, Willowbrook is unique in being entirely above ground level. It has a dynamic flow comparable to Metro Center, but you can see the sun, sky and surrounding cityscape from the platforms. To me, that's very special and creates moments of beauty, some of which even translate well to cell phone photos! Despite the overwhelming freeway noise, I enjoy this station, its form, its function and its history.

a westbound green line train departs into the sunset

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