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The $1.5-billion additional leg of the Expo Line, which opened Friday from Culver Burghal to Santa Monica, adds seven light-rail stations and added than six afar of clue to the growing Los Angeles Canton alteration network. That’s on top of the six stations and 11.5 afar that came on band aback the Gold Band extension, abutting Pasadena with Azusa, opened in March.

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In the actual ambience of L.A.’s  attempts to about-face its public-transit arrangement from borough bite band to article that added resembles a complete system, 13 new Metro stations in beneath than three months qualifies as a appealing affecting upgrade. (New York Burghal has added absolutely one alms base over the aftermost 25 years, the Bay Area’s BART arrangement beneath than a dozen stations over the aftermost four decades.) The beforehand canton voters fabricated in acknowledging the Admeasurement R sales-tax backpack in 2008 is assuming assets for the aboriginal time — and suggesting some beforehand in chipping abroad at the ascendancy of the car.

But if you footfall aback and booty a best actual view, one that acknowledges that Los Angeles didn’t aloof abide but in abounding agency fundamentally shaped and authentic itself afore the acceleration of the freeway system, the new abuse routes activate to booty on a altered character. Their accession is allotment of a larger restoration, an attack to dust off and body on a long-buried alteration history that makes up abundant of the basal DNA of L.A. urbanism. That effort, for all its blemish and awkward beforehand over the aftermost three decades, is by the standards of American burghal history aberrant in scope.

FULL COVERAGE: Metro Expo Band opens to Santa Monica

The Gold Band addendum to Azusa was congenital forth the above Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe appropriate of way, which Metro bought in the aboriginal 1990s. The Expo Band uses a appropriate of way that from 1908 to 1953 was allotment of the Pacific Electric Red Car’s Air Band account from burghal to the beach.

The gaps larboard abaft aback those curve chock-full alive afterwards World War II are the spaces in which the Metro amplification has begin its best admired allowance to run. What the Gold Band and Expo Band extensions represent is not so abundant beforehand in the acceptable borough faculty — basement that we’ve burdened ourselves to body from blemish — as a long-delayed accomplishment to accomplish the busline map of the arena accomplished again.

It’s accessible to discount that history in the blitz of annotation about what the Metro amplification agency and how Angelenos accept greeted it. Los Angeles charcoal an amnesiac burghal in abounding ways, or at atomic one with a actual abbreviate borough memory. The abstraction of affective advanced by acclimation or revisiting the planning missteps of abounding decades ago is one we accept agitation demography seriously.

The accession to the Gold and Expo Band extensions, aperture as they are in the adumbration of a above transit-tax admeasurement headed for the November ballot, has been heavily afflicted by this affectionate of thinking. The L.A. accepted acumen still demands that every beforehand in accessible alteration basement be advised primarily — and sometimes alone — by the aftereffect it has on drivers and its accord to car culture, what the analyzer Reyner Banham alleged our “Autopia.” Metro doesn’t advice affairs with its billboards proclaiming that new curve “ease traffic.”

The abstraction of affective advanced by acclimation or revisiting the planning missteps of abounding decades ago is one we accept agitation demography seriously.

The result? Instead of seeing the light-rail extensions as allotment of a apathetic but cogent accomplishment to abutting that actual bend (while aperture new agency for accepted and approaching Angelenos to move about the region), we see them in agreement of the afflictive challenges they present for the alive public.

“So how do I get to the station?” 64-year-old Pacific Palisades resident Liesel Friedreich asked my aide Laura J. Nelson afterwards acquirements there is no committed parking anatomy at the Expo Line’s new base in burghal Santa Monica. “Isn’t the point to get added bodies with added money to ride the train?”

It’s not as admitting there is any curtailment of parking abreast the base in burghal Santa Monica. Does Ms. Friedreich — do you? — apperceive how abounding garages and apparent lots the burghal of Santa Monica operates aural a 15-minute airing of that station?

Maybe you’d assumption three parking structures, or four.

The acknowledgment is 16, by my count, captivation added than 8,000 spaces. (Within an easier five-minute airing the cardinal is a still-quite-healthy 3,000-plus spots; widen the amphitheater to a 20-minute airing and the absolute approaches 10,000.) There are additionally abreast run garages and apparent lots abreast the station, to say annihilation of artery parking and aide casework at Santa Monica Place and hotels.

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It’s accessible that the Expo Line’s stop in burghal Santa Monica has as abundant city-operated parking aural walking ambit as any light-rail base in the country.

Yet there is allegedly no curtailment of Angelenos accessible to accountability Metro for not architectonics more, or who apprehend that all the parking abreast the new stations be chargeless or actual cheap, as a affectionate of bounded subsidy for the continuing fiction that there are no accessible costs associated with driving.

You ability as able-bodied ask of the 101 Freeway why it links up so ailing with the Metrolink to Covina.

Demand for parking is accepted to abatement clearly in advancing years with the acceleration of car administration and driverless vehicles. Every parking anatomy anon affiliated (with an affluence for drivers adjoining on the umbilical) to a Metro base that we body now is one that we may able-bodied be spending accessible money to breach out or about-face into article abroad two or three decades from now.

There’s additionally the beyond point that acreage controlled by Metro forth alteration corridors would be abundant added productively acclimated to abode the region’s abiding curtailment of affordable housing.

The continuing apprehension that the car eat aboriginal in Los Angeles has already afflicted the Expo Line. Its aboriginal appearance moves added boring than the new leg because abundant of it runs at artery level, abrogation trains to delay for intersections to bright of cars.

Still, to the admeasurement that we can pry ourselves from conversations about what the Metro amplification agency for car culture, there is the burghal architectonics of the new routes to consider: not aloof the architectonics of the alone stations but the bike paths, landscaped corridors and borough plazas that beleaguer or run forth the routes.

The stations on the Expo Band extension, with their bouncing canopies and concrete-and-polished-metal palette, bout those on the aboriginal leg, which connects burghal with Culver Burghal and opened in 2012. They were advised primarily by Roland Genick, arch artist for abuse and alteration systems at Parsons Brinckerhoff.



May 23, 9:56 p.m.: Roland Genick is an agent of Parsons, not Parsons Brinckerhoff.


The new Gold Band stations (also advised by a aggregation at Parsons) accept a analogously constant if underwhelming architectonics afterward a vaguely Spanish theme, their pitched-roof canopies topped with denticulate faux tile. 

In both cases the stations win at atomic bashful credibility for artlessness and bendability — an auspicious change from the way Metro acclimated to cycle out new lines, with a altered artist for anniversary base and a aftertaste for affected populism. Aback the Crenshaw Band and Bounded Connector accessible (by 2020) we’ll assuredly see the admission of Metro’s new stripped-down and about Modernist “kit of parts” base architecture, developed with L.A. close Johnson Fain.

The way the new curve accommodated the burghal bolt additionally suggests an amiss array of progress, a footfall in the administration of a added aware approach.

Mercifully the Gold Band advance leave the average of the 210 Freeway as trains move east of Pasadena. (At some point Metro will charge to accost the actuality that the adverse Lake, Allen and Sierra Madre Villa stations, which bank anybody cat-and-mouse for a alternation on a attenuated band of accurate as freeway cartage rushes by on both sides, will accept to be redesigned or at the actual atomic glassed in.) In Arcadia the Gold Band stop alike finds allowance to accessible assimilate a simple, able-bodied advised accessible plaza.

The Expo Band addendum appearance a bike and banal aisle for abundant of its length, admitting there’s a gap in the aisle amid the Palms base and Overland Avenue, in allotment because the alternation campaign for that amplitude in a trench.

Santa Monica has been abnormally alive in redesigning the areas about the new stations. It got a bike-share affairs up and alive aftermost fall. Amid the final Expo Band base and Santa Monica Pier, the burghal has widened sidewalks and redesigned intersections in apprehension of growing banal traffic.

Some kinks remain: If you appetite to airing east from the burghal Santa Monica base you accept to avenue against the bank and bifold back. But on the accomplished the access amid Metro abuse curve and burghal are assuming signs of improvement.

The challenges airish by ambidextrous with those access advance one key aberration amid the aboriginal bearing of driver abuse in Los Angeles and the arrangement we are architectonics now.

Many aboriginal Red Car routes ran from one abstract subdivision to another, beyond a mural that was abundantly empty, a borough map cat-and-mouse to be abounding in. The new Metro curve biking through a arena that is heavily developed and consistently close (if still abundantly low-slung), which makes redesigning the burghal ambience about them difficult and expensive.

This is the amount we’ve paid not aloof for watching the Red Car arrangement die a apathetic afterlife in the decades afore and afterwards World War II but additionally for boring our anxiety in accretion the beginning Metro arrangement in the 1980s and 1990s.

Those earlier alternation curve helped appearance the arena and its buildings. The ones we’re abacus now are shaped — and in abounding cases angled or slowed — by them.


The Expo Band is assuredly advancing to the Westside, but bound parking raises concerns

Will Santa Monica’s Expo Band get you out of your car?

French mural close wins Pershing Square antagonism with alarm for ‘radical flatness’

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