downtown los angeles

Angelenos Board New Expo Line Downtown LA to Santa Monica

The 6.6 mile Expo Line Phase II extension began new train service between Downtown LA and Santa Monica on May 20, 2016

This has got to be one of the most exciting milestones in LA’s march towards urbanization (i.e., making our city more walkable and transit-oriented). One of the largest urban nodes in LA — Santa Monica — is now finally linked into our growing regional rail network, which now includes 105 miles of Metro rail track. The long, long-awaited opening of the last leg of the 6.6 mile Expo Line Phase II has finally arrived after five years of construction, testing, and anticipation. Finally! Angelenos can now take the train from Downtown LA to the beach and vice versa.

The new Expo Line service to Santa Monica began at noon on Friday, May 20 attracting hordes of transit riders eager to experience the first train service to the Westside in over six decades. My trip started at the 7th/Metro subway station in Downtown LA. Fast forward: the moment we started to pull out of the elevated Culver City station, as we sped past high above Venice Blvd, was really when I had to pinch myself. Stopping at each new station (there are 7 total new stations) as we headed westbound was definitely a treat, but nothing was more exciting than finally coming to the end of the line — Downtown Santa Monica.

It was amazing to walk out of the brand new station and know that the ocean was only a few blocks away (and be greeted by Bloomingdale’s across the street!). As a life-long Angeleno, I’ve been to Santa Monica a million times before, but the experience of getting there without a car — this time by rail — was almost surreal for me. The added bonus of having bike share at the station makes it even more convenient to get around once you arrive by rail.

Timing the trip both directions (going there and coming back to Downtown LA’s 7th/Metro station), it took about 53 minutes each way. I am really hoping that eventually Metro will speed up the service to attract more riders because this is definitely a line I think a lot of people will want to use. Perhaps gates can be added to rail crossings at Expo/Vermont and Expo/Western to help speed things along?

Enjoy the pics below from the grand opening day!

Downtown LA

Angelenos can finally take the train to the beach

Angelenos can finally take the train to the beach

It was so exciting to see Santa Monica listed in the time schedule at 7th/Metro subway station

It was so exciting to see Santa Monica listed in the time schedule at 7th/Metro subway station

New updated Metro signs with Santa Monica posted throughout the 7th/Metro subway station

New updated Metro signs with Santa Monica posted throughout the 7th/Metro subway station

Hordes of riders wait eagerly to board the new Expo Line train to Santa Monica at 7th/Metro in Downtown LA

Hordes of riders wait eagerly to board the new Expo Line train to Santa Monica at 7th/Metro in Downtown LA

Santa Monica

The perfect new way to get to Santa Monica without driving, fighting traffic, and searching for parking

The perfect new way to get to Santa Monica without driving, fighting traffic, and searching for parking

Exciting to see the diverse range of people arriving in Santa Monica by train

Exciting to see the diverse range of people arriving in Santa Monica by train

Seven new stations have opened as part of the new Expo Line service to Santa Monica

Seven new stations have opened as part of the new Expo Line service to Santa Monica

It was super exciting to arrive at the last station here in Santa Monica

It was super exciting to arrive at the last station here in Santa Monica

#moretrainsnotlanes

#moretrainsnotlanes

All of Santa Monica's shopping just steps away from the new Expo Line station

All of Santa Monica’s shopping just steps away from the new Expo Line station

Rail to the Westside is finally here (and glad to see Metro label the future extensions as well)

Rail to the Westside is finally here (and glad to see Metro label the future extensions as well)

Loading
Center map
Traffic
Bicycling
Transit
Google MapsGet Directions

7 Comments

  1. Gary says

    Thank you Brigham for the great narrative and pics of the new line. Looking forward to taking it to the beach some day soon!

  2. Aden N. says

    Rode the train yesterday. The trains were beyond packed! Hoping this will be one of the most popular lines in the country.

  3. corner soul says

    Last time I rode Expo (about a year ago) it was packed to the gills, and we stopped at nearly every intersection between Staples and USC to wait for a handful of cars. Apparently no one working at LADOT knows what the “T” at the end of their acronym actually stands for.

    • jamie says

      Los Angeles Department of Obstructing Trains

      • Jake says

        I was like “oh, ok .. wait that’s not right”! Good one Jamie

  4. sebstian says

    phase 3 should be to Venice Beach, and phase 4 to Marina del Rey.

  5. Matthew says

    The total travel time seems unexpectedly high. Looking forward to updates on this new line!

Comments are closed.