Southern California breaking news and trends

LA Metro's Expo Line draws partiers downtown for growing social scene

Expo LIne Pico Station

Sharon McNary

An Expo Line train heads out of Pico Station near Downtown Los Angeles toward Culver City.

Expo Line at Farmdale Station

Sharon McNary/KPCC

The Expo Line train leaves the Farmdale Station heading into Downtown Los Angeles.

Expo Line riders head for fun at L.A. Live

Sharon McNary/KPCC

Vanessa Pineda points at Carlos Venegas whose birthday the group of friends is celebrating at L.A. Live. They came in from El Monte on the Expo Line.

For the first time, the New Year's Eve crowd at L.A. Live will include partiers who rode in on the Metro Expo Line. Since the light rail line opened in April, it's pumped crowds into entertainment spots in downtown Los Angeles.

Many get off at the street-level platform of the Expo Line Pico Station, just a block from the restaurants, theaters and shops of L.A. Live. Every few minutes families, couples, groups of buddies step off the train, cross Figueroa Street and head in the direction of Staples Center.

A few days after Christmas, the crowd included Vanessa Pineda, who brought seven friends from El Monte. Their combined bus and train fare was about $30.

"We're gonna go ice skating," she said. "We took the Silver Line 910 from the El Monte Station all the way to the Expo Line from the train and we got off on Pico."


2 more Metro stations open, Expo Line phase one is done

Expo Line Test

Kevin Ferguson/KPCC

The Exposition Line train at the La Cienega/Jefferson station after finishing a test run.

Phase One of Metro's Expo Line is complete Wednesday with the opening of two new the light rail stops along the Downtown LA-Westside corridor. 

Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky celebrated the new additions, telling KPCC's Ashley Bailey that, "We are not promising to reduce congestion, but what we are promising is we’ll give people an alternative to being stuck in traffic."

"This line will give people in the Crenshaw district, in the Exposition Park area, in the Culver City/Cheviot Hills area, the alternative to use public transportation, which will get them from point A to point B faster than they can in their car," he added.

The Farmdale Station is located on Exposition Boulevard and the Culver City stop is located at the intersection of Washington and National.



Finding your station: Metro's 'call to artists' for public pieces along the Expo Line

expo line public art

Courtesy of Metro

"Wanderers" by artist Willie Robert Middlebrook is on display at the Expo/Crenshaw Station of the recently opened Expo Line.

California artists, your train has arrived. Metro announced this week that it is seeking submissions for public art pieces along the Expo Line.

As part of the Expo Line, Phase 2 development, Metro released the call to artists for seven future stations in Los Angeles County and Santa Monica.

One piece of public art by the people, for the people, will be selected for each of the following future station locations:

  • National/Palms Blvd.
  • Expo/Westwood Blvd.
  • Expo/Sepulveda Blvd.
  • Expo/Bundy Ave.
  • Olympic/26th St.
  • Colorado/17th St.
  • Colorado/4th St.

Consideration will be given to both emerging and established artists with a background in two-dimensional media, says Metro. For these submissions, prior public art experience is not a requirement.

At the Santa Monica station at Colorado/4th, an iconic sculpture will also be selected, and prior experience, plus other criteria, must be met for those submissions.


Maven's Morning Coffee: Expo Line safety, Wendy Greuel's campaign

expo line public art

Courtesy of Metro

A USC professor of engineering is questioning the safety of three crossings along the Expo Line.

Good morning, readers. Welcome to the Maven's Morning Coffee -- a listing of the important headlines, news conferences, public meetings and announcements you need to know to fuel up and tackle your day.

The Maven's Morning Coffee is also available as a daily email. Click here to subscribe.

Today is Tuesday, May 29, and here is what's happening in Los Angeles:


A USC professor of engineering says the safety at three Expo Line crossings is "woefully inadequate," according to the Los Angeles Times. "I cannot stress enough the importance of developing a safety culture at MTA," Najmedin Meshkati told the newspaper. Officials with Metro and the Public Utilities Commission say the crossings all meet or exceed industry standards.

The Los Angeles Times' Jim Newton looks at the mayoral campaign of Wendy Greuel. "Her strength, as she herself says, is less one of vision than of competence," Newton writes.


Derailment debate: Expo Line junction, what's your malfunction?

Expo Line Test

Kevin Ferguson/KPCC

The Exposition Line train after finishing a test run.

Inspections have been ordered for the Expo Line / Blue Line rail junction because of a design issue that poses an increased risk of derailments, say state safety regulators. 

Metro officials, however, say small modifications at Washington Boulevard and Flower Street have made a huge difference, and that the intersection is safe. 

The issues in question stem from "non-standard" fixes, and a special inspection program is required, says Michelle Cooke of the California Public Utilities Commission's rail safety unit, notes the L.A. Times.

The extra inspections, which will continue indefinitely, were a condition of commission approvals to open the first 7.9 miles of Expo Line last month.

MTA records show the junction as built is defective and presents potential maintenance and safety issues, including a heightened risk that southbound Blue Line trains could derail in the sharply curving intersection — or elsewhere along their route — because of equipment damage.

About 140 trains trips a day are made on the Blue Line, one of the nation's busiest light rail systems with 26 million riders annually.