When the first phase of the Expo Light Rail opens from Downtown Los Angeles to La Cienega Boulevard this Saturday, transit enthusiasts won’t be the only ones cheering. The line also includes nearly six miles of bike lanes that parallel the route, improving connectivity and transportation options for all cyclists throughout the region.
The bikeway cements the Expo Rail Line’s role as a multi-modal project which transforms an “inactive” rail right-of-way into a transportation corridor with access by bicycle, walking or bus.
“Most rail lines provide car-free transportation to hubs that are within walking-distance of each station, leaving inaccessible wider areas between stations or neighborhoods that force commuters to brave car-choked streets,” says William Ward of the Expo Construction Authority.
The Expo Bikeway, on the other hand, provides yet another option for reaching destinations along what will eventually be a continuous corridor to Santa Monica, either using a bicycle the whole way or in combination with the train.
Spanning the short distance between Vermont Avenue and Ballona Creek, this first phase of the Expo bikeway will make it easier for cyclists to reach key destinations such as Exposition Park and museums, the Figueroa Corridor, USC Campus, Leimert Park and the Crenshaw corridor, Culver City and Ballona Creek Bike Path, Marina Del Rey and Venice Beach. Along the corridor, there are some bicycle routes on Figueroa, 39th St, and Redondo Boulevard, and more to be developed by the city of Los Angeles, facilitating north-south travel as well.
Ward explains that this connectivity is a huge advantage for businesses adjacent to the route. “Many companies at Hayden Ave will now be able to attract potential employees who will be able to bike to the train and ride to work from further away,” he says. “That creates a workforce that is currently unavailable to these companies because of difficult car commutes.”
When the second phase of Expo Light Rail is complete, the bikeway will extend all the way to Santa Monica, realizing the long-awaited goal to link downtown to the beach. In the meantime, however, the western terminus of the Expo bikeway currently features an easy connection to the Ballona Creek Bike Path, which takes you on a pleasant eight mile ride to Marina Del Rey, from which you can enjoy a day at the Fisherman’s Village or head northward to Venice and Santa Monica beaches or south to Redondo Beach and beyond using the beach bike paths.