By Matthew Harang

It has been hard to miss the construction along Exposition Boulevard in Los Angeles over the past couple years. The good news is that the Expo Light Rail Line is in the final stages of development, and residents of Exposition Park, Downtown, Leimert Park, Baldwin Hills and Culver City are excited about the new transportation option. The completion of this rail is a necessary course of action in solving the transit issues in Los Angeles. It will provide an alternative for commuters who ride buses, drive and bike to and from work and school, which could lead to alleviated traffic congestion.

As the population continues to grow, transportation planners must begin to construct a cohesive transit network in the metropolitan area, and the Expo Line is a good start. The first phase of the railway will run from Downtown to Culver City; and the next phase, which is still a few years away, will run from Culver City to Santa Monica. The line will affect hundreds of thousands of residents from South L.A. and Westside neighborhoods.  L.A. County Metro is currently running test trains along the tracks, as engineers and construction workers put the finishing touches on the line.

Although the city has developed extensive bus routes and a hand full of light rail lines, many citizens would argue that the region still lacks a reliable network that can serve as a viable alternative to personal automobile commuting. The problem is that there are very few rail lines, and those lines do not form a real, usable system of linkages. If a commuter does not live along one of the railway corridors, then it makes little sense for them to take one of the trains or subways.

In light of that, it is promising that the Expo Line is almost complete. Trains are expected to begin running by mid-November, according to LA Weekly. Once this line is complete, then Metro can turn the attention toward other corridors, further expanding the transportation network providing alternatives for commuters who are increasingly hurt by the rising gas prices.

(Photo credit: Matt Harang)