Expo Line Meeting Discusses Upcoming Santa Monica Construction Details:

A rendering of the Expo Line’s station at Colorado and 17th Street in Santa Monica.
A rendering of the Expo Line’s station at Colorado and 17th Street in Santa Monica.

The Exposition Construction Authority held a design update community meeting last Wednesday at Santa Monica Civic Auditorium for Phase 2 of the Expo Line project, which will connect the Culver City station to downtown Santa Monica. With the final design underway, major construction is anticipated to begin August of this year.

Phase 2 of the Expo Line project will run along a 6.6 mile corridor, include seven new stations, some with parking, and is expected to have an estimated daily ridership of 64,000 from downtown LA to downtown Santa Monica by 2030. The project is expected to be complete in 2015 with a price tag of about $1.5 billion.

While construction concerns some Santa Monica residents, representatives from Expo contractor Skanska-Rados stressed at Wednesday’s meeting that communication is key. The company plans to keep the community informed with Facebook and Twitter posts, email blasts, and door-to-door notices for all residences and businesses within a quarter mile radius of the construction work zone.

“The best way to manage the construction process is by keeping people informed on what to expect,” Community Relations representative Torri Hill said during the formal presentation.

According to the project’s timeline, bridge construction will start later this year and station construction will begin in 2013. In Santa Monica, these stations will be constructed on Olympic and 26th, Colorado and 17th, and Colorado and 4th.

Also an issue for some Santa Monica residences is the consideration of bike riders in the final plans.

Gary Kavanagh, one of the appointees for the Bicycle Advisory Committee established by the Expo Board of Directors, attended Wednesday’s meeting.

“The bikeway development on phase one – there were things that were not super great, as far as the quantity of bike parking, and where it was installed. Some of the intersections are kind of problematic for bicyclists to cross,” Kavanagh said.

“On phase two, a lot more of the bikeway is going to be off-street, on a separated path. The challenge with those off-street paths is going to be when they hit really big intersections, and how bicyclists are going to be expected to cross.”

Santa Monica resident Jerry Rubin said he wished there was a forum at the meeting for the public to voice their concerns or comments.

Regardless, he said he was excited for the completion of the Expo Line.

“I think the Expo Light Rail is a really wonderful thing,” Rubin said. “I’ve never had a car in my life. I take the Blue Bus, I love the Blue Bus, and I’m looking forward to the Light Rail. I think it’s going to be a real boost to Santa Monica.”