A new way to navigate Los Angeles arrives on May 20 when the latest extension of the city’s Metro light rail line makes its debut. The new line runs along the southern edge of city’s busy west side, paralleling Interstate 10 on an unused rail bed from downtown all the way to Santa Monica and the city’s new “Silicon Beach” near the coast.
The extension represents the first time in more than 50 years that anyone has been able to reach the beach from the city’s urban core. The once popular Santa Monica Line of the Pacific Electric red car system ceased operation in 1953.
What does this mean for business travelers? Well, in a couple of months, it will be possible to traverse the city’s traffic- clogged western side without ever getting behind the wheel of a rental car or overpaying for a car or cab. Which means you could stay in a beachy Santa Monica hotel, skip traffic and take the train to your meetings downtown or in Century City without having to face the city’s traffic beast.
The trip between downtown and the beach will take about 46 minutes and will make use of seven new stations. Stops include Palms, Westwood/Rancho Park, Expo/Sepulveda, Expo/Bundy, 26th Street/Bergamot, 17th Street/Santa Monica College and Downtown Santa Monica. The new rail extension will also serve the Westside Pavilion in West L.A. and the job-heavy tech and media corridors along Olympic Boulevard.
Trains are set to depart every 12 minutes and the cost of a one-way trip is only $1.75.
The first phase of the Expo line opened in 2012 from the 7th and Metro Station in downtown L.A. to USC/Exposition Park and Culver City, a trip that clocks in at about eight and a half miles. The new extension nearly doubles that length.
That said, once you get to the end of the new line, you will land at the new Santa Monica Metro station. This station, full of colorful creations by local artists, sits smack in the middle of the thriving seaside community on Fourth Street and Colorado Avenue, right across the street from the Santa Monica Place shopping mall and only two blocks from a couple of decent business friendly hotels: the Wyndham Santa Monica At The Pier and the Doubletree Suites by Hilton Hotel Santa Monica. A bit further away, but walkable on a nice day, are the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel, The JW Marriott, the Fairmont Miramar and the Le Meridien.
Would you use LA’s Metro system while on a business trip? Why or why not? Please leave your comments below.
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