Sunday, May 06, 2012

Expo Line

The biggest news of the past week was the opening of the Metro Expo Line train that runs from Culver City to downtown L.A. Late to launch and, of course, well over budget, the Expo Line nevertheless means Tim can now take the train to and from work instead fighting freeway traffic every day. As you can tell from these photos and short films, he absolutely loves it.

Metro tracks

Bird's eye view of L.A. from the La Cienega platform
(Hollywood in the far distance)

I, too, think it’s great—that is, when it’s working. I had a meeting downtown, Thursday morning, so I did a test run on Monday to meet Tim for an event at L.A. Live, where he works. I parked the car in the free parking structure on Jefferson and La Cienega (yes, free parking in Los Angeles—what will they think of next?!), bought my ticket ($1.50 each way), and hopped onto the train. The ride was smooth and relatively quick (25 minutes) and so I announced to my colleagues that I would be riding the train to the meeting, Thursday morning.

Platform public art: History of L.A. mural

L.A. transportation history etched into platform concrete

Besides being environmentally responsible, the train is supposed to provide a stress-free way to get downtown. But when you’re rushing like a madwoman to make the 8AM train, it’s hardly stress-free. Despite my best efforts, the train left just as I pulled into the parking lot. No worries, though, as the next train—due to leave 11 minutes later—would get me there in plenty of time. But still no train after 11 minutes. I started to seriously worry—I was chairing the meeting, so could not be late! I waited five more minutes and then, overhearing a woman saying she was going to be late because our train had conked out up the road (OMG!), I made a split decision. If I left now, I could just barely make my meeting on time! So I ran downstairs, jumped into my car and . . . drove downtown. I'm as environmentally-conscientious as the next person, but it’s hard to give up control of your commute when you live in L.A.! Next time I’ll leave the house much earlier.

Train arriving at La Cienega

The train leaving the platform, heading east

Arriving at the Pico Blvd. stop, 2 blocks from 
L.A. Live and Staples Center (in background)

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