Expo Line News Archive
Traffic Expo Line Light Rail Population Criteria Neighbors
Phase 1 Phase 2 Right-of-way Venice-Sepulveda West LA-Santa Monica
News Archive 2000-2005
12/15/05 A really big milestone! The Metro [MTA] Board adopted their staff recommendation to certify the Expo Line phase 1 Final EIS/EIR (Environmental Impact Statement / Report) and route options (Item 42 in Minutes):
A. certifying Los Angeles Mid-City/Exposition Corridor Final EIS/FEIR and authorizing staff to file a Notice of Determination;
B. adopting the Findings of Fact and Statement of Overriding Considerations in accordance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA);
C. adopting the Mitigation Monitoring Plan (MMP); and
D. adopting the Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA) as previously approved by the Metro Board in June 2001 and modified in the FEIS/FEIR Section 2.7 as the Light Rail Build Alternative from Downtown Los Angeles (7th/Metro Center) to Culver City (Venice/Robertson) incorporating the following design options:
E. environmentally clearing the following design options for construction in the event that additional funding becomes available (“Recommended Options”):
F. eliminating the following from further consideration:
11/21/05 Good news!
The Culver City City Council voted 4-1 tonight for Councilmember Carol
Gross's motion to request the Metro Board certify the Final EIS/EIR's
aerial design option for the Venice/ Robertson station and the right-of-way
design options east of National (interim station at Wesley), but NOT the
original at-grade option across National and Washington Boulevards.
11/18/05 The next month is the home stretch for planning of the Expo Line light rail phase 1 from downtown Los Angeles to Culver City!
Here are the milestones:
First step all Expo supporters who live
or work in Culver City: Your voices supporting the line in
Culver City are crucial! Please come and speak to Monday's City
Council meeting. If that's not possible, email
the councilmembers (except call Mayor Albert Vera at 310-391-1155
or fax to 310-398-7784).
10/11/05 Expo's Final Environmental Impact Statement/ Report is released (at last)! You can download it today from Metro's website, and paper copies will be available Friday, 10/14.
The document is available in a review period from October 14 through November 28, 2005. There will be three Community Open Houses in early November where the public can learn more about the project and comment on the FEIS/EIR. Workshop details are as follows:
10/8/05 The Expo Line was featured in the Los Angeles Times and Metro Investment Report.
9/9/05 Friends 4 Expo will receive the Westside Urban Forum's Westside Prize! Click for luncheon information.
7/29/05 Friends 4 Expo was on KPCC's Air Talk (89.3 FM) L.A.’s Transportation Future: Will we ever get there? Host Larry Mantle will convene a panel of experts to examine new L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s vision for the transit system. See www.scpr.org for more.
7/26/05 Expo Line News
7/14/05 Exposition Metro Line Construction Authority [JPA] initial meeting in the Board of Supervisors Hearing Room, Third floor in County Hall of Administration. Agenda includes Three Month Agenda Look-ahead, Project Status Report, Proposed Project Delivery Approach, and Board Meeting Dates and Location. Agenda (pdf)
7/9/05 Metro Investment Report interview with Joel Sandberg on the new Expo Line construction authority. In this exclusive MIR interview, MTA Transportation Engineer and Exposition Line Project Manager Joel Sandberg updates MIR readers on the status of this Light Rail Project. He describes the seven-member construction authority established to manage the project, as well as on the advantages of the procurement process being used.
7/1/05 Light Rail Moves Closer to Santa Monica funding update in The Lookout (surfsantamonica.com) quotes Mayor Pam O'Connor.
6/16/05 Metro's [MTA's] Rick Thorpe, Chief Capital Management Officer, presented upcoming plans to over 70 people and answered questions at Friends 4 Expo Transit general meeting.
4/25/05 UPDATE: The plan passed unanimously, following comments by 16 supporters and 3 opponents. Another step forward!
The MTA Board will vote this Thursday on the proposed local funding plan for the Expo Line (phase 1 to Culver City). Right-click here to download the full PDF staff report. Here's the summary:
3/6/05 New Metro document, "Mid-City / Exposition Corridor / Light Rail Transit Project Detailed Procurement Plan, February 28, 2005", details Expo's upcoming schedule and project status. Right-click here to download this 134K PDF. Its timeline:
2/24/05 Two MTA Board items related to Expo: the LaBonge motion on studying underground rail, and the Antonovich, Fasana and Roberts motion on prioritizing the Foothill Gold Line.
2/13/05 What's new on Expo? Where's the Final EIS/EIR? What about federal funding?
The MTA completed the Final EIS/EIR on phase 1 (to Venice/Robertson) and delivered it to the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) last December. They expected approval to release it, with MTA Board actions to certify the FEIS/EIR and select route options in January or February, 2005.
It's been delayed, however. Per the new FTA FY-2006 New Starts report, the Expo Line is "Not Rated" because "FTA is working with LACMTA to update the ridership forecasts."
MTA is working with FTA to resolve their differences. Another possible outcome is that MTA wouldn't seek federal funding for phase 1, just use local and state money, including the bonding approved last fall. MTA is still expecting Board action to finalize route options and certify the FEIS/EIR this spring, then bid the design/build contract, for completion in 2009-10.
For the upcoming MTA Board decision on Expo phase 1, Friends 4 Expo Transit recommends:
12/4/04 Another L.A. Times editorial for the Expo Line!
11/28/04 Click for a fascinating set of photo maps of the Expo Line phase 1 route!
10/23/04 Over 75 neighbors and Friends 4 Expo attended this morning's general meeting at Dorsey High School. Highlights:
9/23/04 To accelerate construction of the Expo Line and four other key projects, the MTA Board approved selling $1.1 billion in bonds, to be repaid with Proposition C local sales tax money! Daily News article. MTA agenda.
9/22/04 The national Rail~Volution conference came to Los Angeles this year for the first time, featuring nationally-recognized speakers, tours of L.A. transit and transit-oriented development, and many panel discussions, for Building Livable Communities with Transit. Friends 4 Expo Transit was a panelist in the Best Practices in Advocacy session Tuesday afternoon and co-sponsor of the Monday evening Non-Profit Unity Event.
9/8/04 The Expo Line and Friends 4 Expo Transit are featured in L.A. CityBeat this week!
8/3/04 The Mobility 21 Top Ten Traffic Busters announced at the third annual Mobility 21 conference on August 3rd includes Metro Exposition Light Rail Project (Downtown Los Angeles to Santa Monica). More
6/25/04 MTA Expo Line Update
The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) is reviewing the MTA's draft Final EIS for Expo Line phase 1 to Culver City. After responding to FTA's comments, the MTA will release the FEIS for public review in September or so, and certify it around the end of 2004. It will show the details of the Transit Parkway design we'll tell you when it's available.
Two routes are considered for downtown:
The other phase 1 stations are Expo & Vermont, Expo & Western, Expo & Crenshaw, Expo & La Brea (elevated), Jefferson & La Cienega (elevated), and Venice & Robertson. (10/23/04)
In May the MTA Board approved funding to complete preliminary engineering by June 2005. The project will then be ready to begin final design and construction under a design-build contract.
11/30/03 Our goals and activities for the next year:
11/17/03 Friends 4 Expo participated in the second annual Mobility 21 conference at the Westin Bonaventure, including a panelist on Building Support for Public Transportation, Highways and Infrastructure Projects.
11/15/03 The MTA estimated 70,000 daily riders for the Expo Line (43,000 Downtown LA to Culver City plus 27,000 Culver City to Santa Monica) in the "Fixed Guideway System Plan and Priorities" staff report to the Planning and Programming Committee, October 15, 2003, Item 8.
9/18/03 – MTA and their consultants gave a detailed update on their preliminary engineering work for the Expo Line at our general meeting. Main points were:
MTA planners and the DMJM+Harris and ZGF consultants continue to be very professional, with a great understanding of the Expo Line.
9/13/03 – Two key bills for the Expo Line just passed the state legislature and await the governor's signature. Update: both were signed.
To help make up for draconian cuts in the state budget for transportation, State Senator Kevin Murray has sponsored SB 314, which (if approved by Los Angeles County voters in 2004) would add a new 1/2-cent sales tax for six years to fund transportation improvements in the county. Exposition light rail to Santa Monica is at the top of the list, and would receive $925 million. Other high priority county rail, bus, and road construction projects to be funded include Crenshaw and Valley bus Rapidways, extension of the Gold Line east to Irwindale, a Metro Center Connector between the Blue Line and Gold Line, Red Line extension to Fairfax, and a number of freeway improvements.
State Senator Sheila Kuehl sponsored SB 504, to establish a separate Exposition Metro Line Construction Authority to build the Expo line after MTA has completed its environmental work and preliminary engineering.
9/8/03 – Average weekday Gold Line ridership in August was 18,364, with 24,528 on Saturdays and 21,652 on Sundays. Total boardings in August were 616,542 – a great start for the Gold Line!
7/28/03 – The Pasadena Gold Line opened, with an overflow crowd of 70,000 riders both Saturday and Sunday! MTA Board members Mayor Jim Hahn, Supervisor Mike Antonovich, and Councilman John Fasana all mentioned Expo as a next step at the opening ceremony Friday.
5/6/03 – MTA CEO Roger Snoble spoke to Friends 4 Expo Transit's general meeting.
4/21/03 – April Newsletter – see especially updates on Expo funding.
4/21/03 – Photos of trains on the Pasadena Gold Line, now turned over to the MTA for testing before its opening this summer.
2/9/03 – Added a site map to the Links page.
1/16/03 – Good news: although the state's budget cuts will have a major impact on the MTA's projects, the MTA already had received the first $11 million in funding and has signed the contract to begin Preliminary Engineering and complete the Final EIS for Expo phase I during 2003. We're continuing to work with our elected officials on additional funding.
11/14/02 – Santa Monica "Expo Expo" community meeting at Ken Edwards Center brought 150 people together to hear about improving transportation!
11/19, 11/21, 12/3/02 – First round MTA Expo Station Area Planning Workshops conducted in the Exposition Park, Culver City, and Baldwin Hills areas.
11/18/02 – Mobility 21: L.A. County Moving Together conference, cosponsored by the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce and the MTA. The message is, we need to work together to bring L.A.'s fair share of funding home.
11/9/02 – See the November Newsletter.
9/28/02 – Crenshaw "Expo Expo" at Dorsey High School. Approximately 100 attendees, including some elected officials and their staff members, plus representatives from local newspapers, came out to learn more about Expo light rail. Neighbors who were concerned received good information about the line and took advantage of the opportunity to talk one-on-one with MTA officials who attended as guests.
9/26/02 – MTA Board approved the contract with DMJM + Harris for Expo light rail's preliminary engineering!
9/16/02 – We've been busy! See the latest in today's Newsletter.
6/21/02 – The Westside Urban Forum awarded a 2002 Westside Prize to Friends 4 Expo Transit, "For the organizational ability, perseverance and vigilance of this grass roots advocate for economical, effective and socially just public transportation on the Westside."
6/13/02 – Funding update and Livable Communities presentation by Kent Strumpell at the Friends 4 Expo Transit general meeting.
5/26/02 – You may have seen the Los Angeles Times's article and editorial on federal funding for Exposition. In short, the Federal Transit Administration has proposed releasing to other cities the $155 million in former Red Line subway money the MTA plans to use for Expo, for the reason that construction won't begin before the current multi-year federal transportation funding program ("TEA-21") ends in 2003. Key now is to get our members of congress to strongly support Expo funding (not just $155 million, but all the way to Santa Monica) in the federal transportation reauthorization ("TEA-3") next year!
5/16/02 – The California Public Utilities Commission approved the Pasadena Gold Line's planned street crossings, allowing the line to be completed on schedule in 2003!
3/12/02 – Prop. 42 (to reserve the California sales tax on gasoline for transportation) passed by an overwhelming 69%, and the Planning and Conservation League will begin circulating its November 2002 initiative for additional transportation funding.
2/11/02 – MTA's timetable for the Mid-City/Exposition Light Rail Transit Project (first section to Venice/Robertson) – see MTA Fact Sheet:
12/6/01 – New MTA CEO Roger Snoble spoke to our general meeting. Mr. Snoble brings a strong vision for the MTA and a great record of leading the transit agencies in Dallas and San Diego, including major light rail projects.
11/3/01 – Latest Newsletter – Recap of October F4ET general meeting on funding, and Action Alert on the California Public Utilities Commission's Pasadena Blue Line hearing Monday, 11/5.
10/12/01 – Excellent discussion of MTA's funding identified for the first section of Expo, and opportunities for the rest, at our general meeting yesterday.
10/1 – MTA website (click on Public Hearings) has the transcripts of the eloquent remarks by so many Expo supporters at the MTA public meetings last May.
10/1/01 – The MTA's August 2001 5309 Report for the Federal Transit Administration projects the first half of Expo light rail could be built and operating by 2008 with existing funding, a big improvement over earlier projections.
8/18/01 – Friends 4 Expo is moving ahead with next steps, including working on additional funding sources. We will be attending the national Rail~Volution conference in San Francisco, rescheduled for November 29-December 2.
And some historical perspective, see the beginning of L.A.'s light rail plans as reported in the L.A. Times in 1982. Note that the Long Beach Blue Line now carries three times the then-projected 6.4 million riders; the originally-proposed bare-bones, largely single-track line couldn't have handled this. Exposition gets an early mention, as well as doubts about completion of the Wilshire subway.
6/29/01 – MTA Board approved Exposition light rail! Congratulations and thank you – your support made this happen!! Following 56 supporters speaking for it, a unanimous vote (10-0) sent the first section to Venice/Robertson forward toward additional neighborhood mitigation planning, completion of the Final EIS/EIR, and Preliminary Engineering. This was the biggest milestone, although much is still ahead to do. Next step: find the money to build sooner! More
6/21/01 – MTA Planning & Programming Committee approved the staff recommendation for light rail on Exposition to Venice/Robertson – with the ultimate goal of reaching Santa Monica.
6/20/01 – L.A. City Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas' motion of support for light rail on Exposition passed on a 10-0 vote!
6/18/01 – MTA staff report for the upcoming Board meeting recommends light rail on Exposition, supporting a first section from downtown to Venice/Robertson! Upon Board approval, the MTA would begin Preliminary Engineering, complete the Final Environmental Impact Statement/Report, and conduct additional community outreach for neighborhood mitigation along the route.
We support the staff recommendation for Exposition. It's a good next step for light rail to the Westside, and it will have the MTA work with communities along the line on its design.
6/16/01 – Friends 4 Expo Transit's response to the MTA Draft EIS/EIR.
6/15/01 – Friends 4 Expo was on KCRW's "Which Way L.A."! You can still hear it via streaming audio on their website.
6/11/01 – New page listing the overwhelming support for Exposition light rail!
6/10/01 – A lot has been happening – see Friends 4 Expo Newsletter #5 for details!
5/24/01 – MTA Board unanimously approved Eastside light rail.
5/20/01 – Many people came by the Sierra Club / Friends 4 Expo booth at Culver City's "Fiesta La Ballona" Saturday and Sunday. And at Culver City's Community Survey booth's question on the Exposition right-of-way, light rail and a bike path were the overwhelming favorites.
5/15/01 – Excellent turnout of Expo light rail supporters on the last MTA public meeting! Some 73 people spoke for light rail, 2 against, and a few others against Wilshire bus lanes, of the 300 who came to the meeting.
5/6/01 – Robert Scheer in the L.A. Times Westside Weekly wrote:
Best of all would be a light-rail system from Santa Monica to the L.A. Civic Center that would hoop up with existing and proposed lines. The Westside is now a major job magnet and light rail would facilitate folks getting to work without using their cars. ... Some day, as in any civilized city, we should be able to hop a train to the Music Center without befouling the environment or sacrificing our sanity.
5/6/01 – The L.A. Times editorial, "Into the Home Stretch" noted:
Not even the mayor can escape the city's impossible traffic. Both Hahn and Villaraigosa support more buses and a new light-rail line from near the USC campus to the beach.
5/4/01 – Los Angeles Independent article on upcoming MTA hearings, featuring many quotes from Friends 4 Expo.
4/28/01 —Los Angeles Times endorses Exposition light rail!
4/19/01 — The MTA mailed a flier called "Rapid Bus and Beyond". It incorrectly states that light rail capital costs are $75 million per mile vs. busway at $10 to 20 million per mile. The Mid-City/Westside Draft EIS/EIR shows quite different figures (which are consistent with other recent projects):
4/18/01 —Information on Exposition and USC.
4/6/01 — MTA released the long-awaited Draft EIR/EIS on Exposition and Wilshire, and the entire document is now available on the MTA website. See also the MTA press release. We'll be adding its content and our commentary to this website—projected ridership for light rail vs. busway is already updated on the Criteria page, for example. See excerpts on Expo BRT and LRT operating characteristics and traffic impacts.
This document confirms the superiority of light rail, including excellent ridership (51,400 per day), greater speed, and the greatest environmental and traffic benefits. Its light rail travel time and costs are consistent with other lines; but its Expo BRT projected speed (and therefore ridership and operating costs) is inconsistent with its other limitations (less than 2-minute headways and no safe 55 mph at-grade crossings).
3/30/01 —The 2000 U.S. Census detailed population results for California were released. See updates on the Population page here.
3/25/01 — How light rail can be a good neighbor in Culver City — see Facts about light rail and Culver City near the top of the Neighbors page.
3/17/01 — The MTA website now has information about the Mid-City/Westside Transit Corridor Study, as well as the Eastside Gold Line Light Rail. The MTA Board will vote on approving Eastside light rail April 26. Click for an Eastside overview.
3/16/01 —Houston just broke ground for their new light rail line. See their new website, especially artist renditions and the rail in action ("Downtown" is the best one).
3/15/01 — USA Today series of articles about Sprawl.
3/14/01 —Friends 4 Expo Newsletter #3 e-mailed. Read it here if you missed it.
3/11/01 — New Sierra Club Angeles Chapter Transportation webpages highlight Exposition light rail.
3/10/01 —See the Expo Line slide presentation online!
3/4/01 — The Draft EIR release has
been delayed; the MTA is now expecting to receive approval to release
2/25/01 —Major revision to this website is up! Let us know how you like it — or what we've missed.
2/16/01 — Friends 4 Expo Newsletter #2 e-mailed. Read it here if you missed it!
1/21/01 — See some new links on the Links page, especially "Roadkill Bill"....
1/20/01 — "Want to buy that $600,000 two-bedroom "starter" house a couple of blocks from the train station? The real estate people say you'd better make that offer right now." San Francisco-area commuters are seeking homes near transit.... San Francisco Chronicle 12/18/00
12/7/00 —Dedicated Friends 4 Expo members reported on all of their new community outreach at tonight's meeting. Our mission is to tell as many individuals and groups as possible about the Expo Line opportunity in the next couple of months. The MTA expects to release their draft Environmental Impact Report in late February, 2001, and the MTA Board could vote on what option to select in April.
11/30/00 — An overflow crowd of over 100 people spoke overwhelmingly in support of light rail along Exposition and other L.A. rail transit in the MTA's public meeting on its Long Range Transportation Plan at the Westside Pavilion! For information about future meetings, contact Christina Cobb or Stella Kim at the Robert Group at 213-381-5700.
11/8/00 —Mostly great election results for transit:
10/16/00 —See our updated page on Transit for Livable Cities.
10/14/00 — Transit ridership was up another 4.3%, the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) announced for the second quarter of 2000. "Increased use of public transportation is enhancing peoples’ lives as well as our communities," said William W. Millar, APTA President.
10/8/00 — USC's Daily Trojan editorial supports Exposition light rail! See the 10/6 editorial, 10/3 news story, and follow-on letters to the editor.
9/26/00 — L.A. light rail ridership jumped again for August — 66,100 per day on the Blue Line, 30,475 on the Green Line!
9/24/00 — New comprehensive light rail Claims vs. Facts from Austin, Texas' Light Rail Progress.
8/13/00 — Dallas voters approved allowing DART to issue bonds to speed construction of new light rail lines by a landslide 77% yes!
7/7/00 — The transportation budget bill passed in Sacramento and signed by Governor Davis retains his proposed funding for the Eastside and Exposition. Specific provisions include:
7/5/00 — Los Angeles Red Line passengers nearly doubled in the first week of service to North Hollywood! The subway averaged 65,150 daily boardings in the month of May. Ridership on the expanded subway after one week has surged to an average of 120,516 daily boardings, an 85 percent increase.
6/18/00 — Houston Chronicle columnist Ken Hoffman visited five cities with light rail to answer, "Does light rail work, is it clean, and does it get you where you want to go? And how come Dallas has it and we don't?"
6/16/00 — "Last year, Americans took more than 9 billion trips on public transportation, the highest ridership in nearly four decades. ... Last year, public transportation ridership increased by 4.5 percent over 1998...." APTA announcement
5/25/00 — The 5/23 MTA meeting (in the all-windows rooftop room at the Peterson Museum) was well attended. In open-house format, its two main displays were large photo-maps with the routes (Wilshire BRT and Expo LRT/BRT) shown with colored tape, and cross-section computer illustrations of different locations along the lines. Nothing yet about grade separations, running time, etc., and station locations were only preliminary dots on the map.
One neighbor put it vividly at an MTA community meeting:
"I could walk to the station and ride to Staples Center, or to Santa Monica. It would change the way I feel about Los Angeles."
4/2/00 — A group of East Los Angeles College architecture students showed their wonderfully creative designs for Eastside light rail stations today in Boyle Heights. The ELAC students were asked to design the stations not merely as shelters, but as "linear museums" that would communicate the history, culture and other aspects of the community.
3/31/00 — Los Angeles Mayoral candidate James Hahn said he supports building additional light rail (and other transportation improvements) in today's debate.
3/23/00 — The MTA Board approved doing an EIR for Exposition, for both busway and light rail, with a detour along Venice and Sepulveda Boulevards, at its March 23 meeting!
3/22/00 — What lessons from the Curitiba model are applicable to a city like Los Angeles? There are important details not covered in most articles. For example, their 12 mph, standing-room-only, double-length diesel buses cover routes much shorter than L.A.'s — only about six miles long. Details
3/15/00 — Continuing the popularity of light rail in other U.S. cities, Phoenix voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition 2000, a .4% sales tax for light rail and improved bus service, on March 14!
2/24/00 — MTA voted: