Today marks the opening of the Metro Expo Line, the 6th route in LA.’s Metro Rail system, which opened in 1990. Though this line began construction in 2006, it was first planned some 20 years ago as a short 1.5-mile extension of the Blue Line. I first wrote about this as a journalism student at USC, where I wrote for the campus newspaper, the Daily Trojan.
The proposed “Exposition Park Branch Line” would share the tracks as the Expo Line does now from the 7th/Metro Center station in Downtown L.A. to where the lines diverge at Washington & Flower. There too would be stations at 23rd St. and Jefferson, and then the line would end at Exposition and Vermont. Where or if it would go beyond Vermont would be discussed at another time.
The branch line was projected, at the time, to cost only $150 million and be completed – at the earliest – in 1996.
I graduated from USC with my Print Journalism degree in 1996.
It is now 2012. Yes, I am old.
The station that serves USC today wasn’t originally in the plan and was considered an “optional” site. Earlier that year, I followed up with the L.A. County Transportation Commission (what part of Metro was known back then) and attended various community meetings on the line. I guess I got my early start in transit activism back then without realizing it. I also advocated for a stop at USC exactly where it exists today, testifying it would be good not just for students, but for staff and attendees to events at the Coliseum and Sports Arena. My comments were included in the Environmental Impact Report.
Budget constraints in the early 1990s put this and other lines on the shelf, but eventually that line got extended into the 8.5-mile line we know today as the Expo Line. I’d like to think I played my little part in its history by expressing the need for a USC station, and at the very least, making the university aware of the project, even way back when.