All aboard! Wilshire / La Brea station dedicated to Tom LaBonge

| March 4, 2021 | 0 Comments

TOM LaBONGE was an enthusiastic supporter of Los Angeles and the Miracle Mile.

Councilman Tom LaBonge’s dream to connect residents and visitors from far and wide on seamless transportation throughout his favorite city is coming closer to a reality.

When the Metro “D” (formerly Purple) Line subway station opens at Wilshire / La Brea — scheduled for 2023 — passengers will see signs honoring the former local councilman, also known as “Mr. Los Angeles” and an all-around great guy.

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) board of directors recently voted to dedicate the station in LaBonge’s honor. The former Metro director and Fourth District councilman died on Jan. 7 in his Silver Lake home. He was 67.

Signs with LaBonge’s name will be posted in addition to “Wilshire / La Brea” signage, announced Los Angeles Mayor and Metro Board Chair Eric Garcetti.

Probably no one was a greater fan of our fair city than LaBonge.

“Anyone who knew Tom could tell you one thing about him: he loved every facet of our city — its geography, its diversity, its beauty, its people — and he gave his soul to it,” said Garcetti.

Tom LaBonge Panorama

Separately, and the day before the Metro announcement, Mayor Garcetti established “Tom LaBonge Panorama” at the summit of Mount Hollywood overlooking the city, Griffith Observatory and Griffith Park.

“[P]erhaps nothing was closer to his heart than Griffith Park, our crown jewel,” said the mayor. “He knew practically every inch of the trails, hikes and hills. He walked through the park daily. And it is only fitting that his name should forever be attached to this extraordinary landmark.”

LaBonge Memorial Forest

In addition to the underground station and the mountain top, the Los Angeles Parks Foundation has just introduced a new partnership with award-winning Los Angeles architectural and landscape design firm RIOS to honor the late councilman through the Tom LaBonge Memorial Forest in Griffith Park.

RIOS, whose offices were located until recently on Larchmont Boulevard, will design a natural installation near the top of Mt. Hollywood, the recently re-named “Tom LaBonge Panorama.”

“We’re happy to be a part of Tom’s legacy,” said Mark Rios, who founded the firm in 1985.

Parks Foundation executive director Carolyn Ramsay (Windsor Square) added, “We’re proud and thrilled that our board member Mark Rios and his creative team will design this important project, which is close to all of our hearts.”

LaBonge’s widow, Brigid, who has collaborated in designating this memorial to her late husband, said of the forest:

“This memorial project will create a living tribute to Tom and a place of respite for all. I have enjoyed working on the vision for it and look forward to working with RIOS on its realization.”

She noted that the “Tom LaBonge Panorama” also recognizes that her husband and his seven brothers grew up in a house on Panorama Terrace in Silver Lake.

The forest project is being developed with donations from scores of Angelenos, companies, political leaders and foundations. Ramsay said she was grateful to the many neighbors in the Wilshire/Larchmont area who already have supported the Tom LaBonge Memorial Fund for Griffith Park. To contribute, visit: or call 310-488-6158.

LaBonge served the Larchmont and Mid-Wilshire areas of Los Angeles through most of his 40-year career at City Hall, 14 years as councilman, and before that, as staffer to the late Council President John Ferraro.

LaBonge Scholarship

And, finally (to date!) the Los Feliz Improvement Assoc. has established the Tom LaBonge Leadership Scholarship at John Marshall High School. LaBonge was a member of the Class of 1971 at Marshall, where he was a star football player. At the time of his 2015 retirement from the City Council, his colleagues dedicated the intersection in front of the school, at Tracy and St. George streets, as “Tom LaBonge Square.”

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