|An Expo Train promoting itself at the 26th Street/Bergamot Station|
I couldn't help myself and rode the extension end to end on opening day, Friday May 20th, even though I knew it would be crowded due to excitement and the fact that Metro always makes the first day free. Today I rode the line in more depth, exploring the new stations besides Downtown Santa Monica (an area I'm already pretty familiar with). It was still very crowded even though you had to pay today!
What strikes me about Expo Phase II is that many of the station areas have a high density of housing and jobs nearby, which bodes well for ridership. Palms is mainly residential and features a lot of apartment buildings. Bundy and Bergamont have impressive amounts of office space nearby. Downtown Santa Monica of course is a strong destination for shopping, tourism and has a lot of office space and apartments.
Another interesting thing is that Phase II has a lot of grade separations, usually aerial structures that fly the train over major arterials. I wonder why many of the arterials in Phase I didn't get the same treatment.
There is a bike and pedestrian path alongside the line that looks pretty solid. The Expo stops in Santa Monica also have Breeze Bike Share stations nearby. The amount of bike parking and particularly bike lockers at each station has also been beefed up compared to Phase I.
|A view of the Expo bike path near the Bundy Station|
|The Landmark Theater is one of the biggest cultural advantages of living in Greater Los Angeles!|