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The Expo Line Will Open In Santa Monica On May 20th

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Its official. The Expo Line to Santa Monica will be opening on Friday, May 20th, 2016. You can expect a trip between Santa Monica and downtown Los Angeles to take 46 minutes by rail. No stress, no driving, and certainly no 10 freeway.

The happy news was announced around noon on Thursday, at the conclusion of Metro's monthly board meeting. StreetsblogLA and transit reporter Laura Nelson of the L.A. Times were there to report:

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The Expo Line's completion marks the first time since 1953 a train has connected Los Angeles' Westside to downtown L.A. The extension from Culver City adds seven shiny new rail stations—moving west from the Culver City station are Palms, Westwood/Rancho Park, Expo/Sepulveda, Expo/Bundy, 26th Street/Bergamont, 17th Street/SMC, and Downtown Santa Monica:

Three of the stations—SMC, Bundy, and Sepulveda specifically—were built with large accompanying parking structures. The intention is to encourage folks who might otherwise commute by car from the Westside to downtown (or elsewhere) to skip the traffic-clogged drive and ride the train, maybe reading a book or something, instead.

Regardless, this is a pretty big deal, and represents a significant landmark for Los Angeles' push to develop a comprehensive transit system. While Metro has been busily building train-lines all over the county for the greater part of the past decade, most haven't quite opened up yet. Expo Phase II is one of the first tangible products of Measure R, a sales-tax increase L.A. Voters approved back in 2008 to fund the construction of transit all across L.A. County.

Five large rail projects are simultaneously under construction around L.A. County. Along with the Expo-Line the Gold Line extension to Azuza is very close to opening. Metro's also hard at work extending the Purple Line to Westwood, building the Crenshaw Line to the LAX, and adding the regional connector in downtown L.A.

Bonus picture of an old Pacific Electric Red-Car in Palms, incidentally running along the same alignment the Expo Line was built on: