The Expo Line draws a Gold Rush

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The Expo Line trains are expected to roll into in Santa Monica by 2015. But here at the end of 2012, signs of the line’s extension are already popping up all over this city by the sea.

Expo bridge under construction at Olympic & Cloverfield in Santa Monica (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

One landmark gallery at Bergamot Station, Track 16,  is closing this week to make way for Expo, an ironic turn of events for Bergamot itself, which once functioned as a Red Car train stop until the ’50s, and which was re-purposed into a thriving art gallery center in the ’90s. At the corner of Cloverfield and Olympic boulevards, giant pylons have recently been erected in preparation for a rail line bridge that will span the intersection. And longtime businesses along Colorado Avenue have been cleared out and bulldozed to make way for the $1.5.billion extension to the city,  which has its terminus at Fourth Street and Colorado, near the Third Street Promenade and Santa Monica Place.

But in addition to construction of this phase of the Expo Line is a gold rush of sorts by developers, who are promising projects that are transit-oriented and tailored to the needs of a train-traveling public.  It’s all supposed to be a part of an enlightened development strategy to relieve the traffic-clogged community with multi-story, high-density housing near the line — so people can whiz off to their jobs– and ground floors given over to retail space.  Santa Monica officials have  strongly pushed the Expo-adjacent,  multi-use projects, shuttle services and bike facilities.

Some residents though are alarmed by the hundreds of thousands of square feet of potential development and see the coming wave of  projects as a tsunami.

Listen in as our guests debate whether Expo will relieve congestion.. or bring more of it on.

  • Jacquelyne Ryan, LA Business Journal
  •  Diana Gordon,  Santa Monica Coalition for a Livable City
  • Pam O’Connor, Santa Monica City Council member
  • Ken Alpern, transit advocate
  • Genevieve Guiliano, USC
  • Denny Zane,  former mayor of Santa Monica, now with Move LA
photos by Bill Kleiman (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)