Los Angeles Mayor and Metro Board Chair Antonio Villaraigosa joined state and local elected officials, along with Metro and Exposition Metro Line Construction Authority executives to officially celebrate the dedication of the new Metro Expo light rail line at a special ceremony adjacent to the Expo Park/USC Station near the University of Southern California.
“Today we celebrate the opening of Expo Line Phase I, a critical step towards creating the multi-faceted transit network that Angelenos deserve,” said Mayor Villaraigosa. “When Angelenos rallied together to pass Measure R, voters sent the message loud and clear that we want transit options beyond the single-passenger automobile. Los Angeles continues to lead as we improve and expand our infrastructure and support jobs.”
Under construction since 2006, the new Metro Expo Line spans 8.6 miles between downtown Los Angeles and Culver City with more construction currently underway to expand the line another 6.6 miles to reach Santa Monica by 2016.
The Metro Expo Line links the Westside with downtown Los Angeles via a joint station serving the Metro Red, Purple and Blue lines at the 7th Street Metro Center Station. Together, these lines crisscross the region making connections with the Eastside, Long Beach, Redondo Beach, Norwalk, Hollywood, North Hollywood, Pasadena and the San Fernando Valley.
“Commuters to and from the western part of our County have been waiting a long time for this day, and it is finally here,” said LA County Supervisor, Metro Board member and Chairman of the Exposition Metro Line Construction Authority Zev Yaroslavsky. “The Expo Line marks the first extension of this region’s public mass transit system west of Western Avenue since the dismantling of the red car system more than half a century ago. It will incorporate Exposition Park, the Crenshaw district and Culver City into the regional transportation network, serving one of the most underserved areas of our region.”
The new Metro Expo Line train carrying officials from downtown Los Angeles broke through a banner at the Expo Park/USC Station as confetti and fireworks canons fired and the USC Trojan Marching Band played, marking the beginning of the hour-long dedication ceremony. Among those attending were LA County Supervisors and Metro Board members Mark Ridley-Thomas and Yaroslavsky, Metro Board member and Santa Monica City Councilmember Pam O’Connor, LA City Council President Herb Wesson, LA City Council Members Jan Perry and Bernard Parks, State Senator Curren Price , State Assembly Members Bonnie Lowenthal, Mike Davis and Mike Feuer, former Mayor of Culver City Micheal O’Leary, Mike Peavey and Timothy Simon with the California Public Utilities Commission, Metro CEO Art Leahy and Exposition Metro Line Construction Authority CEO Rick Thorpe.
The Friday morning official dedication ceremony was in advance of the public opening of the new Metro Expo Line on Saturday, April 28. The opening weekend will feature free rides from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. on a special limited operating schedule for the Expo Line on both Saturday and Sunday. Regular revenue service begins Monday morning and will operate on a regular schedule from 5 a.m. to 1 a.m. Expo Line rail schedules are posted at metro.net.
The opening of the new Metro Expo Line expands the Metro Rail system to 87 miles. Stations opening April 28 include two existing stations served by the Metro Blue Line (7th Street Metro Center Station and Pico Station) as well as new stations that will include 23rd Street, Jefferson/USC, Expo Park/USC, Expo/Vermont, Expo/Western, Expo/Crenshaw, Expo/La Brea and La Ciengea/Jefferson stations.
Due to ongoing construction activities, both the Farmdale Station adjacent to Dorsey High School and the Culver City Station will not open until this summer. Metro Expo trains will stop at the Farmdale station but patrons will not be allowed on or off at that location due to construction work. Trains will travel as far as the La Cienega/Jefferson Station only.
In addition to the free rides on the Metro Expo Line, several community events are planned for Saturday, April 28 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Those community events will be held at the 7th Street Metro Center Station in downtown Los Angeles, Expo Park/USC Station, Expo/Crenshaw Station and the La Cienega/Jefferson Station. No community events are planned for Sunday, April 29.
Fares for the new Metro Expo Line following the free weekend rides will be the same as all Metro-operated bus and trains costing just $1.50 one-way (cash) or patrons can purchase a Metro Day Pass for $5. Regular Metro monthly passes also are available for $75 good for unlimited travel on all Metro buses and trains.
The new Expo Line serves as a multi-modal transit corridor that improves connectivity for bicyclists with a total of 5.9 miles of bikeways that parallel the new rail line. Bike lanes are available on Exposition Boulevard and Jefferson Boulevard between Vermont Avenue and La Cienega Boulevard. A shared-use path for bicyclists and pedestrians has also been built at the La Cienega/Jefferson Station. The bike facilities provide connections to the Ballona Creek Bike Path.
To better integrate bicycling with transit, Metro has convenient bike parking at all stations and plans to remove seats on Expo trains for patrons with bicycles, luggage, strollers and wheelchairs. Phase II of the Expo Line will include a parallel bike path to Santa Monica.
The history of rail service to passengers and freight along the Exposition right-of-way dates back to 1875 as a steam powered railway operated between the City of Santa Monica and downtown Los Angeles. The route was electrified in 1908 and it became a regular Pacific Electric Red Car Line in 1911. The last passenger service ran in 1953 with freight train deliveries continuing along the Expo tracks to Santa Monica until 1987.
Phase I of the Metro Expo Line is a new $932 million, 8.6-mile light rail line from downtown Los Angeles to Culver City. It will have 12 stations with two stations shared with the Metro Blue Line. The new light rail line will serve USC, Exposition Park, The Mid-City communities, the Crenshaw District and Culver City.
Phase II of the Metro Expo Line, a $1.5 billion 6.6-mile extension from Culver City to Santa Monica, is funded under the Measure R half-cent sales tax initiative approved by the voters in 2008. Phase II will have seven stations serving West Los Angeles/Santa Monica and is expected to be completed in 2016.
Both Phase I and II of the Metro Expo Line are being built by the Exposition Metro Line Construction Authority. Once completed, they are turned over to Metro to operate.