Santa Monica Lookout
Expo Line Rolling Steadily toward Santa Monica
By Jason Islas
August 15, 2013 -- It's no secret to anyone who has driven down Colorado Avenue west of 17th Street in the last month that the Expo Light Rail line is already making an impact on Santa Monica.
The 15 miles of train tracks -- more than half of which is already built and has been carrying passengers daily since April 2012 -- will connect downtown Santa Monica to downtown Los Angeles by train for the first time in half a century. (“Expo Line Moves Closer to Santa Monica with Weekend Opening,” May 1, 2012)
And, with less than three years away from opening day, construction crews are in the midst of giving the last mile of the future Expo Line's journey a serious facelift.
“In preparation for the Expo Light Rail Line, work crews will continue construction to accommodate the stations and the new guideway along the center of Colorado Avenue,” Metro officials said.
The penultimate station for a west-bound Expo train will be 17th Street and Colorado Avenue. From there, the train will veer right and continue down the center of Colorado, eventually pulling into the Fifth Street station.
In the meantime, drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists would do well to find alternate routes, since currently the street is undergoing major construction.
Construction crews have already begun cordoning off the center of the street where they will begin laying the track for the coming train.
As a result, “Colorado Avenue will be reduced to one eastbound and one westbound traffic lane between 5th Street and 17th Street,” Metro officials said.
But motorists shouldn't expect that to change even once construction is complete.
There will also be no left turns allowed on Colorado and pedestrian crossing will be limited to signaled intersections.
While construction is going on, there is no parking allowed on Colorado and parking will be limited to the north side of the street once construction is over.
In May, the City Council approved a $10.7 overhaul of Colorado Avenue west of the final Expo Line station.
The plan, dubbed the Colorado Esplanade, will turn those few blocks into into a one-way pedestrian and bicycle-friendly street by adding a protected bicycle track and widening sidewalks to accommodate the as many as 400 passengers that officials estimate could arrive on the Expo Line every five minutes during peak hours.
Originally, the City had committed $10 million to fund the plan but had to reduce its commitment by half after the State shut down California's 400 redevelopment agencies (RDAs), a significant source of City revenue for rehab projects.
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