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|Santa Monica Authorizes Funding for Metro Station Improvements|
By Jason Islas
December 15, 2011 -- In a clear sign the train is fast approaching, the Santa Monica City Council gave a green light Tuesday to spend as much as $9.5 million on engineering services and betterment projects to prepare for the coming of the Expo Light Rail line.
With Phase I of the Expo line from Downtown LA to Culver City almost complete, Santa Monica is getting ready for the start of Phase II, which – by 2015 – will extend the line from Culver City to Downtown Santa Monica.
The $9.5 million is the limit the council authorized the city manager to spend on recommended improvements to the three stations that the Expo Construction Authority will build in Santa Monica.
“The recommendations prioritize functionality, safety and access, and advance Santa Monica’s integrated land use and circulation priorities established in the General Plan,” according to the staff report.
Santa Monica staff has been working closely with the Expo Construction Authority to design stations that “ encourage ridership and convenient connections to the stations by bicycle, walking, transit and drop-off.”
The bulk of the money – $6.7 million – is specifically slated to go toward development of Bergamont Station, which will be Expo's first stop in Santa Monica.
Expo Construction Authority's original design only had one platform, but the proposed project at Bergamont Station will provide two platforms, one for eastbound trains and one for westbound trains, instead of the original single platform design.
In order to help integrate the station with the Arts Center, there will also be two signalized crossings at either end of the station.
“The crossing is being coordinated with proposed improvements in the area, and is critical to providing the direct access that would encourage ridership and connections to pedestrian, bicycle and bus facilities,” according to City staff.
Another $2.4 million will go to improving the 17th Street Station at Memorial Park.
Those improvements to the Construction Authority's design include “a second entrance at the west end of the center platform with a full pedestrian track crossing and an off-street transfer area and bicycle facility,” according staff.
The final $450,000 will go to handling the preliminary design of the Fourth Street terminal at Colorado Avenue, which will address the alignment of the station.
With the coming of the Colorado Esplanade, which will radically alter Colorado Avenue from 6th Street to the Pier entrance, staff wants to make sure that the stairs coming down from the platform will lead into the heart of Santa Monica.
The orientation will “create opportunities for clear pedestrian orientation and wayfinding to direct users to and from the Downtown, Civic Center and Pier,” according to the staff report.
The Expo line is expected to be the busiest train line in the Los Angeles area, bringing thousands of people to Downtown Santa Monica on a daily basis.
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