SANTA MONICA—The second phase of the Expo Light Rail is slated to begin operation on Friday, May 20, Metro announced during a press conference on February 25 in downtown Los Angeles. The Expo Light Rail is expected to be a 15-mile light rail that connects Downtown Los Angeles to Downtown Santa Monica. The project is the second rail line funded by Measure R, the half-cent sales tax increase approved by nearly 68 percent of Los Angeles County voters in 2008.
This will be the first extension of the Metro rail to the west side since 1953 and will open to Palms, West Los Angeles and Santa Monica. The final station will be just mere steps from the beach, the Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica Place, Third Street Promenade and Tongva Park.
The first phase of the Expo Line between downtown Los Angeles and Culver City opened in 2012. Train trips between downtown Santa Monica and Downtown Los Angeles will take 46 minutes, giving riders a great alternative to driving the often congested Santa Monica Freeway.
“With the Expo Line Phase 2 to Santa Monica, we have a great example of how Metro is expanding and organizing our transportation network to better serve our region and help ease traffic,” said Metro CEO Phil Washington. “We can safely say that without the taxpayer support of Measure R we would not be standing here today. We’re proud of delivering another great project to help us in our daily commutes.”
“This is twenty years in the making and brings a huge community benefit to Santa Monica and Los Angeles,” said Mayor Tony Vazquez. “In just 50 minutes—even during rush hour—we will be able to travel to and from downtown L.A without a car.”
There will be three stations for the Expo Light Rail: 26th Street/Bergamot, 17th Street/Santa Monica College and Downtown Santa Monica (at 4th/Colorado). The tracks East of 17th Street will run in the existing Metro right-of-way located south of Colorado and crossing to the south side of Olympic Boulevard near 20th Street. West of 17th Street the tracks will run in the center of Colorado Avenue.
The $1.5-billion, 6.6-mile light rail project from Culver City to Santa Monica now has a total of seven new stations: Palms, Westwood/Rancho Park, Expo/Sepulveda, Expo/Bundy, 26th Street/Bergamot, 17th Street/Santa Monica College and Downtown Santa Monica. Each of the stations consist of original art.
Metro is in the midst of a region-wide transit revolution,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor and Metro Board Chair Mark Ridley-Thomas. “With two rail lines opening this spring and three others under construction, as well as massive highway modernization projects underway, we are easing congestion and changing commuting patterns in all corners of the County.”
“Expo opening in Santa Monica is the most significant step forward for mobility in our community since the opening of the I-10 freeway,” said City Manager Rick Cole. “This system opens a new realm of choices for how residents, employees, students and visitors move around our city and the region.”
Through opening day, Metro will continue to test trains on the Expo Line and will test trains inside the maintenance facility near Exposition Boulevard and Stewart Street will house 48 light-rail vehicles and will operate on a 24/7 basis.
To obtain additional information about testing and Grand Opening Celebration details, visit metro.net or smgov.net.