Do you love parks and trains? What do you think about a train-themed park? As a park planner and a train lover, I must say that I am a fan of Station Square Park in the City of Monrovia. This new park is located adjacent to the Monrovia Gold Line Station, which was constructed as part of the Gold Line Foothill Extension project and opened on March 5, 2016. The park is actually a part of the Station Square Project, a bigger effort to revitalize the area and is the largest public works project in City history. In addition, new housing units will be built around the station and park as allowed for in The Parks at Station Square Specific Plan. The Plan is intended to accommodate the development and operation of a transit-oriented development (TOD) project that will include: 261 multi-family units; residential ancillary uses (leasing office, maintenance areas, club and fitness room); indoor and outdoor recreational facilities; and an attached seven-level, 418-space parking garage.
Although Station Square Park has only been open since late January, my family has already visited it numerous times. The park is an inviting public space for transit users, visitors, and residents alike, and is a wonderful addition to Monrovia. If you follow my writing, you may recall that I previously wrote an article about Old Town Monrovia, which is located north of the park. One of the key features of the park is a train-themed children’s playground made of natural and sustainable materials. The park also includes a band shell and a lawn area which is ideal for family concerts and events. In addition, there are concrete chess tables for those who enjoy playing the classic board game.
As a planner and a Metro rider, I have often observed that many TODs lack usable and/or attractive open space. Providing such public spaces seems to be an afterthought for some cities and developers. This is certainly not the case in Monrovia as Station Square Park appears to be well-planned and integrate well with the Monrovia Gold Line Station. My only suggestion for improving the park is perhaps to create more shade. For example, sails or canopies may be added over the play structures and additional trees may be planted to enhance the visitor/user experience, especially during the hot summer months.
Of course, my words alone are insufficient in capturing what Station Square Park is like. Thus, provided below are photos I took when my family visited recently. Enjoy!
Note: All photos by author.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author alone, and do not reflect the official views or positions of the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation.