First impressions of Metro’s newest train stations: Culver City and Farmdale

Travelers peruse display tables and grab free Expo Line tickets at Culver City Station on the day of its opening. Photo by Carter Rubin/Metro.

It’s official now folks: The Expo Line stations at Farmdale and Culver City are open for business. I took a couple hours today to visit both stations and explore the area around them. Here’s my take on each, with an emphasis on the transit connections, station facilities and other notables.

Culver City Station

  • Around the station on foot

At the moment, there isn’t much in the immediate vicinity of the station, although that stands to change as Culver City moves forward with plans to develop some of the vacant land around the station into transit-oriented housing, retail and commercial space.

That said, there’s a lot within a 5 to 10 minute walk. To the west, you can reach just about all of downtown Culver City, with its great bars and restaurants, movie theaters and shopping. To the east down Venice Boulevard, there’s the Helms Bakery District — where this post is being typed up — with even more restaurants and an assortment of trendy home furnishing and decor shops.

All told, I really think this is the ideal spot for this station in the long run. As more development goes in around the station, it will provide the ideal connection between the two aforementioned areas, making a continuous stretch of enjoyable outdoor places centered around the Culver City Station.

In the meantime, the current station parking lot strikes me as a great opportunity to host, say, a food truck festival on a weekend day when the lot isn’t too full. In fact, a full time coffee vendor or news stand on site would be a great addition, in this humble blogger’s opinion.

  • Bike access and parking

Bike racks at Culver City Station already getting some use on the morning the station opened. Photo by Carter Rubin/Metro.

There are ten racks with space for about 20 bikes, plus eight bike lockers. It also looks like there’s plenty of space for more racks if biking to the station proves to be popular — and I figure it will be with bike lanes that run right to the station on Venice Blvd.

  • Bus connections

We’ve covered this territory a bit before, but today I had a chance to see how those connections work in person. I timed it at about a three to four minute stroll from the station platform to the bus layover point where the Metro 220, Big Blue Bus 5 and 12, and the Culver City Bus Line 7 stop on Robertson Boulevard just south of Venice. That was at a very leisurely pace, so adjust accordingly if you’re a fast walker.

Travelers can connect to Metro, Culver City, and Santa Monica buses around the corner from Culver City station on Robertson Boulevard. Photo by Carter Rubin/Metro.

It was also about a four to five minute walk to catch the 33 or 733 at Venice and National — your best bet to connect to Venice Beach, as well as the Abbott Kinney district in Venice and the Main Street district in Santa Monica.

A gentleman I met around the station also extolled the virtues of the Metro 534 bus that now stops at Venice and Robertson — that’s the express bus that runs from the Washington/Fairfax transit center to Malibu, with stops in downtown Santa Monica. If you time it right, the 534 is probably your quickest route to the beach, though the buses only run every 20 to 30 minutes on weekdays.

  • Car parking

If you want to drive to Culver City Station, you’re in luck. There are over 500 surface spaces here for the time being. Eventually, Culver City is planning to develop this sight into transit-oriented housing, retail and commercial space.

  • A glimpse of Expo Phase 2

I already knew that the views from Expo’s aerial stations are pretty spectacular, based on visiting the La Cienega and La Brea Stations. But Culver City Station has something those don’t: a view westward along the right-of-way where the second phase of the Expo Line to Santa Monica will lead off. From the platform you can see over Venice Boulevard to where the Expo Construction Authority is amassing concrete barriers, steel beams and other materials in advance of heavy construction starting up later this year.

Farmdale Station

  • Station area

Bike parking awaits bikes at the Farmdale Station ticketing plaza. Photo by Carter Rubin/Metro.

Perhaps the nicest feature of Farmdale Station is the little plaza that sits between the eastbound platform and Dorsey High School. As I strolled around, a passerby told me I looked like I didn’t have a care in the world — and on this breezy-sunny day, the feeling was pretty serene. I’d expect the area to be bustling nicely when school is back in session this fall.

  • Bike access and parking

Like at Culver City Station, there are ten racks with room for about 20 bikes. Plus, those coming and going on bikes have the Exposition Boulevard bike lanes at their disposal.

  • Neighborhood connections

Farmdale Station figures to be more of a neighborhood-oriented station — as opposed to one with lots of bus and car connections. I expect most people using it will be heading to and from Dorsey High or the many houses and apartments in the vicinity. I think a pretty good comparison would be the Southwest Museum Gold Line Station, whereas the Culver City Station is a bit more like the North Hollywood Red Line Station — lots of transit links, commuter parking and shopping within walking distance.

Final thoughts

I’m really excited to see these last two Phase 1 stations open. Farmdale Station will hopefully become a great public focal point for the community it serves. And Culver City Station in particular is going to be one more major destination for everyone already using the Metro system, as well as a key new access point to Metro Rail for everyone on the Westside.

Did you board the Expo Line at Farmdale or Culver City Expo Line Stations today? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

25 replies

  1. I had the same thought a while ago that the Culver City station could benefit greatly from some food trucks. Can they just show up to the parking lot?

  2. I rode the first train from 7th Street Station (connecting with the Red and Purple Lines) to Culver City and it was pretty great!

  3. Carter, a little disappointed, that you casually side swipe this station.You should have mentioned that the Farmdale Station also has a skate park adjacent to the stop, along with a spacious baseball field & park that is always active, along with ample shopping & transit close by on Rodeo & La Brea, with The Crenshaw Plaza Mall down the street & with Metro 105, 212, 217 with a close connection with Culver City 4. Carter, this Farmdale Station is not like the Southwest Museum Station but more like USC/EXPO Station, meaning its open, spacious & plenty to see, shop & explore, if you truly strolled the area, you would have known this.

    • Marlin’,

      I appreciate your feedback. I definitely didn’t intend to knock Farmdale Station. I think it is fair to say, though, that I’m more familiar with the area around Culver City Station, and so it was a bit easier for me to talk about that area.

      Thanks for helping to provide a more rich take on the area around Farmdale. It is indeed one that I need to explore more.

      Carter Rubin
      Contributor, The Source

  4. I noticed that there is almost the same amount of bike parking at the Farmdale as there is proposed for the Grand Ave. Park.

  5. Neal,

    Metro has a stupid policy that bans eating and drinking on the trains and on the platforms. Why would they allow food trucks near the stations?

    For all they care, stations are stations, a place to wait for the train and go ooh and ahh one time only for local artwork. Something like multimodal use of stations to generate extra revenue that makes perfect sense to many cities around the world doesn’t click into the anti-capitalist nature such as Metro.

  6. Took Expo from Culver City to 7th St. Thurs morn, about 9am, seeking an alternative to driving to downtown LA. Some thoughts:
    1) Boarded train and waited TEN minutes for it to leave station at CC
    2) Somewhat slow going as train heads north from USC.
    3) Although a Metro exployee was picking up trash on train at CC stop, I noticed trash on window ledges that obviously hasd been there for days; trains could be cleaner.
    Nonetheless, I’m excited to have an alternative to driving.

    • Thanks for the comments, Jerry.

      For now, the Expo Line is only running every 12 minutes during the day, so you may have just missed one leaving right before.

      Here’s a link to the schedule for your reference.

      Happy riding,

      Carter Rubin
      Contributor, The Source

  7. I take it Steven P has never been to the North Hollywood Station and seen the hot dog vender at the station entrance.

  8. Great article Carter! I visited the Culver City station yesterday which is very nice and very close to a lot of area attractions. I hope to check out Farmdale station soon, I’m glad to see ample bike parking, I’m sure it will fill up when school is back in session. This is a game changer for Los Angeles!

    Can’t wait to see Expo Line added to Google Maps and the new stations on the Go Metro app!

    • Thanks, Steveland,

      You’ll be happy to know that the Expo Line is already on Google Maps. Here’s an example trip.

      Carter Rubin
      Contributor, The Source

  9. Steven,

    Banning eating and drinking on trains is an excellent idea. That’s the policy of Washington, DC as well, and it’s wonderful to be on trains that are clean. Just compare it to New York subways, with food and trash everywhere and rats the size of dogs feasting on the remains of everyone’s food scraps.


  10. Thanks, Carter! I see the schedules now, but there are no light rail station icons for Exposition Line like the other lines have currently and there is also no Transit layer in Google Maps. Schedule helps though, but not nearly enough for those scanning the map for bus stops and rail stations. Thank you again.

  11. More people might use the Expo Line at the Culver City Station; if they planned ahead to have buses pull into the area just below station like they do at the Aviation Station on the Green Line so people would not have to walk so far to get a connecting bus. Also, it would make it easier for disabled riders as well.

  12. The eating and drinking ban is an all or nothing approach that is too vague.

    Should bottled water be banned? Should a person with diabetes that needs to take a medication be banned from the system or slapped with a fine because they can’t swallow their medication without water and because water is a beverage?

    Should baby food or baby milk be banned? Sometimes the only way to stop a toddler from crying is to give them baby food or milk.

  13. I’ve been commuting from Downtown to La Cienega since the line opened and (because I had to drive for various reasons the past two days) finally got to take my first trip to the Culver City Station today. It’s definitely great and absolutely more convenient to have this station open.

    It seems there is a ton of open dead space under the station bridge that could be better used… More bike lockers, for example. There’s 8 all the way on one edge of the station, and a ton of open space right under the platform. With this being the western terminus for at least a few years, it’s sure to get a lot of people biking to take the train eastbound… and a lot of people commuting TO Culver City who will use the bike at the end of their commute (like me). I have to imagine there will soon be a very long waiting list for the 8 lockers, and it would be incredibly easy to add a ton more at this station.

  14. I rode the new Expo Line for the first time yesterday and had two observations:
    1. I thought the signage enabling riders to find buses at the Culver City station was lousy (i.e., nonexistent). Moreover, while I realize that the parking lot is going to eventually be developed, I’m surprised that in the interregnum the buses aren’t pulling into the lot for pickup and drop off.
    2. I was disappointed at how many signals the train had to wait, particularly in the downtown Los Angeles area. On our northbound train, we waited more than three minutes south of Washington Blvd. before we could get to the Pico station and we stopped momentarily at nearly every cross street signal. The length of the trip would be shortened considerably (particularly as a percentage of the time) if trains had priority at the signals.

  15. @Steve

    Considering Metro, they’ll probably do it after they wave through ten years of bureaucracy just to install bike racks and will end up costing taxpayers $1,000,000 for something that can be bought for $19.95 at Home Depot.

  16. @Steve

    As a Gold Line rider I see the reason for not eating. The few times I have seen someone eating or drinking they leave their trash behind on the train, leaving a mess for riders to endure. People are just not responsible enough to have that convenience. Of course, if you are diabetic you will have water with you and you can explain that to the Authorities should it become an issue (my daughter is Type 1 and we have taken bottled water with us and it hasn’t been a problem).

  17. She

    So basically all Americans are slobs and can’t be trustworthy and all Asians (Asian transit agencies don’t ban eating and drinking) are clean freaks.

    Sorry, don’t by that. Not all Americans are slobs, not all Asians are clean freaks.

    Just because there are few bad apples doesn’t mean we have to institute a system wide (and vaguely written) ban on eating and drinking to make transit suck for those that are responsible. People are just going to say “screw this, I’ll just drive; no one tells me that I can’t drink coffee or eat a Egg McMuffin when I’m driving my own car.”

  18. From personal experience, food is banned on the subway in Taipei. Station attendants there will flag you down if they catch you chewing gum. Open drink containers are not allowed either. Most will look the other way if you sip from a bottle of water or capped thermos, but they will ask you to leave cups and canned drinks at the gates. This only applies to the subway, not the commuter trains, just as you can eat/drink on Metrolink trains.

    In Japan there is no ban, but as it’s considered bad manners to eat or drink on the subway, no one does. People do eat on the commuter trains where yes, lunch boxes are sold, but those trains are also usually equipped with tray tables and trash bags in each car.

    I can’t speak for how things are in Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore or in China as I haven’t ridden the subways there yet, although I will assume in Singapore eating/drinking is also not allowed on subways considering you can’t even chew gum on the streets.

  19. I saw the bike lockers at Culver station but there are no instructions where to get a key for this. there is a staff building but noone is in. I want to use a bike locker to leave a couple of bags one night and pick up later in the evening. is this possible. How do i get a key and how much is it.