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Westside Cyclists Looking to Make the Expo Line Bike-Friendly

Bike lovers are looking for a Bike Advisory Committee as Expo design plans move ahead.

Westside residents along the proposed Culver City-Santa Monica section of the Expo light rail line are putting in an order with designers: "We'd like some bikes with that train, please.''

Bike enthusiasts aren't asking for the actual vehicles, of course, but they want the line and its stations to be bike-friendly, with easy station access and secure facilities for bikes.

At Expo's latest public outreach event on Tuesday night in Santa Monica, Expo spokeswoman Gabriela Collins said some people aren't aware of plans for a bike path that will run parallel to much of the Expo line.

"It will run from the Vermont station west of USC to the Colorado/17th St. station in Santa Monica, where it will connect with an existing bike path,'' Collins said.

But Barbara Broide, who lives near Olympic and Westwood, wonders when the Bike Advisory Committee that Metro promised will be established. "It's long overdue,'' said Broide, president of the Westwood South of Santa Monica Boulevard Homeowners Association.

"The committee was supposed to be appointed in Phase 1 of the Expo project,'' she said. Expo trains between downtown Los Angeles and Culver City are supposed to roll in early 2012.

Collins said the bike committee will be formed before construction begins on Expo's Phase 2, between Culver City and Santa Monica.

Many of the approximately 100 residents at Tuesday's event had specific concerns about noise and traffic during both construction and eventual operation of the Expo line. But seemingly everyone was in favor of the overall project.

"It's great—something Los Angeles has needed for decades,'' said West Los Angeles resident A.J. Calomay. As a kid, he played along the abandoned tracks of the old Red Car trolley system that disappeared when the freeways were built.

Calomay and his fiancée have a condo near the Expo line. "I'm trying to make sure it's not going to be too disruptive to my neighborhood,'' he said.''

Michael Deane, who lives not far from Calomay, said he wants to make sure the nearby station is as soundproof as possible.

"I grew up in New York next to a subway station,'' he said. "Expo is a good thing—I'm just a little concerned about how they're handling the impact on those who live along and around the line.''

Santa Monica resident Margaret Mills has an autistic adult son who lives near the line's Colorado/4th St. terminus. She wants to be sure her son's service providers won't face reduced parking or traffic jams on Colorado.

"It's going to change Colorado considerably,'' Mills said. "There will be a lot of people, a lot of movement, perhaps noise.''

Still, she believes, "Everyone needs to get behind `people moving' versus autos.''

As the excitement grows around the Expo Line becoming a reality, Broide said some very big questions are still unanswered about traffic, safety and the decision to forego parking at stations such as Westwood, destined to be one of the line's busiest stations.

Her examples: "How do you get the students from the Expo station to UCLA and business folks to the Village? How do you get commuters from the station to Century City?''

The Expo Line from Staples Center to Culver City has been built. Trains are being tested along the route except for the final mile east of Culver City, where testing is several months behind schedule. Expo officials still say service will begin next year, with the Culver City to Santa Monica stretch getting the "all aboard'' in 2015.

Are you planning on hopping aboard the Expo Line? Let us know on our Facebook or Twitter page.

 

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