I’m a huge fan of bicycling and combining my commute with public transportation. Los Angeles becomes a completely different experience when I travel like this. Other than the buses, which all have bicycle racks by the way, there are several rail lines and I am proud to announce that we will be having two new lines opening up this year! The Expo Line and the Orange Line Extension!
The Expo Line
The Expo Line is Metro’s all new 15 mile light rail that will allow travel from Downtown Los Angeles to Santa Monica beach in 45 minutes, even during rush hour! This new line will provide significant relief to the most congested areas of LA because tons of people live, work and commute in West LA. It will reuse the right-of-way that used to be for the Pacific Electric Railway up until 1953 and basically runs parallel to the 10 freeway!
Why did the Pacific Electric ever stop functioning in the first place?
Up until early 50’s, you could take the street car all the way from downtown to the Santa Monica pier! GM, Firestone, Standard Oil and other companies got together and bought all the streetcar companies in dozens of cities in the United States for the sole purpose of having a monopoly on public transportation. It is largely agreed nowadays that they bought them solely to convert the lines to bus routes or shut them down completely. This forced people all over the country to be dependent on cars. GM and other companies were convicted in the courts in 1949 of conspiring to monopolize the control of buses and public transport across the country but by then, the damage was done and automobile dependency was already established. This is known as the Great American Street Car Scandal if you want to read more about it.
Now, over half a century later they are using the same railway that was shut down to create the Expo Line.
Phase 1 of the Expo Line will be opened in the summer of 2012
The “Expo Line” is different from the other Metro Rail lines because it is not named after a color but it will be shaded a light blue color on maps. This name comes from Exposition Boulevard which is named after Exposition Park. The FEIR estimates that on a single weekday, more than 40,000 boarding’s will occur on Phase 1 alone.
Map of all the new stations that go along phase 1 of the expo line:
View Expo Line in a larger map
Phase 2 of the Expo Line will be completed in 2014
Phase 2 will extend westward from the Culver City Station and run all the way to 4th and Colorado Ave in Santa Monica, just a couple blocks away from the Santa Monica Pier.
Remember that bit I said about them reusing the right of way from the Pacific Electric Cars? There are several tracks that run into buildings nowadays and this guy created a time lapse video of him walking along the entire path of Phase 2. It’s pretty awesome.
The Orange Line Extension coming in the summer of 2012
If you’re familiar with the Orange Line, you know that it runs east/west from Woodland Hills and connects you directly to the North Hollywood Red Line station.
The Orange Line Extension will add four miles of NORTH/SOUTH dedicated bus way from the Canoga Ave Station connecting you to the Chatsworth Metrolink Station. It will follow the same landscaping as the Orange Line with a dedicated bike path that runs parallel to it. This will open in the summer of 2012.
2012 and Beyond: The 30/10 Initiative
Mayor Anthony Villairagosa is an avid supporter of public transportation and cycling (like me!). He wants to transform the city and make Los Angeles a model for the rest of the country with a very well connected public transportation network.
He is pushing something known as the “30/10 Initiative” really hard. The idea behind it is to take 30 years of public transportation projects that were going to get funded by Measure R and try to get them done in 10 years. If you voted in the 2008 election, you might remember voting for Measure R. It got overwhelming support with over 2/3rds majority being for the bill. Measure R’s purpose was to provide funding for 12 major mass transit projects over 30 years time.
Some examples of future major transit projects?
- FOUR (4) more north/south Orange Line extensions.
- The Purple Line will extend from Koreatown to Westwood along Wilshire Blvd.
- The Gold Line will extend from Pasadena all the way to Rancho Cucamonga.
- The Expo Line will connect to LAX.
- The most geographically challenging one: A new line that connects the expo line in Culver City and goes north, up along the 405, over the Sepulveda Pass (“over the hill” as we Angelenos call it) and into the San Fernado Valley to connect to the Orange Line.
So now imagine all these things, being completed in 10 years time instead of 30. If this works out, we will have statues and parks dedicated to Villaraigosa for decades on end. Even if the plan becomes a 30/15 plan, that’s still incredible! We would have a completely different city that one can only dream about.
“Happy are those who dream dreams and are willing to pay the price to make them come true.” -Anonymous