New to the Expo Line? Here’s a handy webisode

Regular readers of The Source are probably aware that Metro contractors are putting the final touches on the Expo Line. The first phase of the light rail line will connect downtown Los Angeles to Culver City via USC and Exposition Park.

With this section over 80 percent completed, the Expo Construction Authority has posted a video webisode to its official Facebook page. Here’s an embedded version via vimeo:

It’s a good initiation for those unfamiliar with the project, and a great refresher for those counting down the seconds until it opens. Phase 2, which is funded by Measure R, will connect Culver City to Santa Monica and is scheduled to open in 2015.

8 replies

  1. I have a rather curious question:

    I have observed that the boarding platforms in the light rail stations of the Expo Line (as well as the Blue, Gold, and Green Lines) are raised several feet above the track level.

    This does not seem to be the case for most of the light rail stations in Western USA and elsewhere in the world; the train cars are accessible from a relatively smaller curb.

    Could anybody there enlighten me as to why the Los Angeles light rail system might be a “special situation” in that regard?

  2. Well the floors of the Light Rail in LA are over the trucks (wheels) of the trains. When Blue Line was constructed, the easiest and fastest way for wheelchair bound people to board was a platform that would allow a smooth quick roll onto the floor of the rail car, and it allow the anything on wheels access to the entire floor of the car. Many other systems in the US, like San Diego, went with either the floor over the trucks, but one had to climb stairs to enter. Not wheelchair friendly. For such cars, there were a limited number of cars, at first that had the mechanized equipment that had to take the time and lift the chair at train car level. Not efficient. The low floor Light Rail is the darling now in many US cities because platform construction is cheaper, allowing passengers to make a small half-step to board the train–no steep stairs like San Diego’s old cars, but people still have to climb steps to access seats over the trucks, and this makes those seats somewhat inaccessible to the elderly.

    Los Angeles has the high floor platforms now because of legacy: The Blue Line went with the Japanese style of design and now for the cars to be used on more than one line, all the platforms must be such.

    Personally, I prefer the high floor and platform. They seem to allow enter and exiting faster, and I have seen wheelchair folks fly into the trains and easily navigate the entire floor length in the train if necessary. Thank goodness we didn’t cheap out like SD and everyone else.

  3. Our Metro rail light rail stations are handicapped accessible – *anyone* can easily simply walk or wheel directly from platform to vehicle simply and easily. This not only makes it simple to board, but makes it *quick* to board, as well.
    Anyone who has ridden, for instance, the San Diego Trolley, which is used by a large number of wheelchair-bound passengers, knows that for those passengers to board, the operator must leave his cab and operate a lift to assist the passenger in boarding. This maneuver takes several minutes and can affect the train’s schedule.

  4. I like low-floor streetcars, and I think they have their uses.

    The Downtown Los Angeles streetcar ought to follow the example of the Portland Streetcar, where a low-floor trolley makes it easier for a circulator streetcar to glide through crowded downtown streets. Tourists can just hop on and off the trolley, and speed isn’t such an issue.

    However, for a commuter-oriented rapid rail transit system such as Los Angeles, high platforms have their advantages. You have obvious stations for developers and users to focus on. It does allow for faster boarding. Wheelchairs and bicycles are not a problem.
    And you don’t have as many people illegally crossing the tracks because the high platform discourages potentially dangerous moves.

  5. Good video, but its a little disappointing to hear “less than 50 minutes” because if it takes almost that long, its not going to get enough people out of their cars and is honestly not fast enough considering what its function is. I really hope that time is just a lenient estimate and that it wont be that long. Now 40 minutes might be better and Im sure THAT could actually be achieved once the full line opens.

  6. Might be a NEPA/Fed issue.

    If I’m not mistaken, in Portland they used all local dollars for their streetcars and could avoid some federal regs.