Traffic, smog, and congestion have choked the west side of Los Angeles for over 60 years. Now, the city notorious for its jammed freeways has finally taken a step towards clearer roads and cleaner skies with a light rail Metro extension. The Metro Expo Line which opened today connects the highly-trafficked areas of downtown LA to Santa Monica.
The Metro Expo Line extension will be celebrated with free rides for passengers through Sunday, as well as a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Each stop will include entertainment ranging from food trucks to live bands and bounce houses. The new line will include seven new stops and encompass 6.6 miles of rail. Travelers will be able to commute from downtown to Santa Monica in 46 minutes, and will have easier access to sites such as The Natural History Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art, and the beach, of course.
Locals took to Twitter to express their excitement about the potential of avoiding traffic. It’s a big step for a city that has lacked accessible public transportation, particularly in areas like the Westside.
The Los Angeles Times reports that the city of Santa Monica will be making a major push to encourage residents to use public transportation through a marketing campaign called GoSaMo, highlighting all the available car alternatives, from the new light rail to rental bikes, buses, and Zipcar.
Mayor Tony Vazquez said, “To really address mobility, it had to be about so much more than Expo. We want to make Santa Monica the leading example of pedestrian- and transit-oriented lifestyles in Southern California.”
The GoSaMo campaign will reach locals via social media, ads, and special TAP cards designed by artists from Santa Monica.