Momentous Day for Transit in LA

Alissa Walker celebrates a historic day for rail transit in Los Angeles, as the $940 million, 8.6-mile first segment of the Expo Line opens to the public, leading the city "into a new transit era."
April 28, 2012, 7am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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Walker discusses the joys, and shortcomings, of the new route, which once again connects the city's Westside to downtown along a historic rail right-of-way, and is expected to reach all the way to the beach in Santa Monica in only three years.

While the cars themselves are a bit of a disappointment, Walker has kind words for the station experience, designed by Los Angeles-based Parsons, with support from Gruen Associates and Miyamoto International. "The stations are elegant yet unassuming. Perforated metal sunshades undulate over simple steel tubing painted in a cool blue, which on most days is exactly the color of the LA sky. On the platforms, the canopies cast constantly changing shade patterns. Yet besides the digitized waves traced in the air, the infrastructure almost seems to disappear, allowing the framed views into the adjacent neighborhoods to become the visual focus of the stations."

And it's that distant view out from the stations that may be the most exciting aspect of the project for advocates of walkable urbanity, as Walker explains. "Neighborhoods along the way have already been preparing for the line's arrival, with transit-oriented developments dotting the route all the way to Santa Monica. The line could pave the way high quality urban development that could become a model for the city and the region."

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Published on Friday, April 27, 2012 in The Architect's Newspaper
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