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MAP: Downtown Los Angeles streetcar will help create a car-free urban core

Soon it may be easier to move around downtown Los Angeles without a motor vehicle. As an enticement to return to the urban core, a flurry of new attractions, skyscraper hotels, museums and parklets are being planned or under construction.

Recent funding for a new streetcar, combined with new light rail connections and bike rentals, will give visitors and residents more transportation options that don't involve fighting for parking spots or sitting in freeway congestion. 

There's so much activity, it's hard to keep track of it all.

To help, below is a map of major projects. Follow the orange line for the proposed streetcar loop and the red line for the proposed underground rail connecting the 7th Street Metro Center to the Little Tokyo/Arts District station. The green outline is Bike Nation's proposed bike rental area. Pink pins are for upcoming projects, while the yellow ones indicate parks, restaurants and other developments that are open. Click on an icon to learn more:

For those who want to visit downtown using Metro, Amtrak or Metrolink, you will have more car-free options to get around the urban core.

Starting in April, you can rent a bike at Union Station and ride down Spring Street's neon-green bike lanes to the parklets outside Syrup Desserts. When Metro's Regional Connector project is completed, riders on the Blue, Gold and Expo lines will not have to transfer lines to get to the Walt Disney Center or philanthropist Eli Broad's contemporary art museum, now under construction and scheduled to open in 2014.

Feeling nostalgic for downtown's historic rail lines? You can take Angel's Flight funicular from Grand Central Market to California Plaza. Or perhaps, when federal funding is secured, you'll be able to go glide down Broadway on a streetcar.

Until then, you can check out Ross Dress for Less, which is celebrating their grand opening on Broadway this weekend. The street has several new restaurants open during the past year, including Figaro Bistro, Umamicatessen and Two Boots Pizza.

Broadway will also get a new hotel later this year. The Portland, Ore. chain Ace Hotel is expected to open its downtown Los Angeles property at the historic United Artists Building, a few blocks away from the Orpheum Theater.

Below are some of the projects that will help you get around the city center now and in the near future.

Transit projects in development and under construction in Downtown LA:

  • 2010: Angel's Flight funicular re-opens. 
  • 2012: Expo Line opens, connecting downtown, USC and LA Live to Crenshaw and Culver City. Construction is underway to complete the Expo Line to Santa Monica.
  • 2012: Regional connector project begins to relocate utilities to make way for underground construction.
  • 2013: Bike Nation expects to open kiosks in April.
  • 2013: Regional Connector construction is slated to begin.
  • 2016: Streetcar begins operating, if federal funding is secured and proposed construction timeline is followed.
  • 2019: Regional Connector expected to be up and running.

Hotels and museums, coming soon: