Metro's proposed Exposition Light Rail Line
is ready for its close-up, as the agency has released for public review the Final Environmental Impact Statement/Report
on the project.
For the next 45 days, Metro will take its Expo dog and pony show out on the road
, making the case for the LRT line to those living in communities that would impacted by its construction and operation.
It looks like the Expo Line is almost a done deal (emphasis on almost
- pending lawsuits or other acts of NIMBYism). If all goes according to their plan, City and transit officials will be able to trumpet this line as a blow against gridlock, and for a more transit-oriented city.
But I don't see it. I mean, who is this line for? Culver City residents who work Downtown? Downtown residents who work in Culver City? It doesn't go to Beverly Hills, it doesn't go to the Miracle Mile, it doesn't go to any
major commerce/employment node aside from Downtown (and that's not a crack on Culver City - I'm just sayin'). It won't reduce traffic on the 10. If it runs at grade, it won't even be an appreciably faster way to get from Culver City to Downtown than if you drove (see: Metro Gold Line).
Now, I'm not one of those anti-rail flat-earthers
who think we can bus our way out of our incessant gridlock. I also agree with planners that a East-West rail line is an absolutely essential piece of a workable mass transit system - an East-West subway line along the Wilshire Corridor, that is. Nothing else makes sense.
Metro, L.A. County, and officials of the various municipalities along that corridor should focus their time and money on their efforts to resuscitate
a Red Line extension out to the ocean. Failing that (and they may well fail), they can always dust off the Expo Line, and revert to what should be Plan B.