The Expo Light Rail Line, connecting downtown Los Angeles to the Santa Monica shores, officially opened May 20. The $1.5 billion, 6.6-mile track extension added seven stops between 4th Street in Santa Monica to its previous end in Culver City. This means riders can get from downtown to Santa Monica in about 45 minutes!
The Expo Light Rail Line opening marks the culmination of a tremendous effort from the Los Angeles Metro, city governments, construction teams and consultants. After decades of community resistance, funding challenges and other obstacles—such as buildings and roadways designed for cars—the opening of the Expo Light Rail Line from downtown signifies a major cultural transformation for the city.
Opening day attracted thousands of riders
Opening festivities included gatherings at five of the seven new stations, and a large celebration at the Culver City station. The morning of May 20, a ceremonial passenger service train carried local dignitaries, elected officials, Metro and municipal staff to the Santa Monica 4th Street station.
Los Angeles Mayor, Eric Garcetti, spoke to those gathered. “At the end of the day, this isn’t about getting lines down,” he said. “This is about connecting with each other.”
Thousands crowded the light rail stop platforms to get their turn at a free ride. The following Monday, more than 12,000 passengers rode the line. Some passengers were surprised to learn the ride takes 45 minutes. The fact that the majority of the rail line runs at street-level poses special challenges to speed. For example, the trains must stop at traffic lights and they are mandated to run at slower speeds when they are above ground.
The 45-minute ride is a victory over the grueling commute faced by thousands of Angelenos commuting in individual cars. Many cars can be taken off the road, improving air quality for the entire community. Now workers can relax during their commute or work on the train. Neighborhoods across town are being connected. Plus, riders can avoid expensive parking fees at their workplaces and other destinations.
KES led all environmental services for the Expo Light Rail
Kroner Environmental Service (KES) managed all aspects of environmental services for the Expo Light Rail design and build team. This included tackling the tar-contaminated soils discovered along the line. In addition, KES experts performed a detailed soil and groundwater investigation. This led to a soil management plan, outlining the management of all hazardous and contaminated soils related to the project. KES also led the noise and vibration services, permitting and storm water management.
“We’re particularly proud of our involvement in the Expo Light Rail,” said Tamara Kroner, President of KES. “It was exciting to work on such a monumental project right in our backyard, one that has such a positive community impact and that we can enjoy personally.”
What you need to know to ride the Expo Light Rail
- The fare costs $1.75. This includes two hours of free transfers if you use a TAP card user; TAP cards are the plastic fare cards available for purchase at all stations. You can add money to your TAP card as you wish.
- Trains run every 12 minutes during the day
- Parking is available at three of the seven additional stations
- You can view all timetables for the Metro here.