City to stage celebration of Expo Line extension

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Beginning Friday, Culver City will no longer be the last Westside stop on the Expo Line.

Culver City officials will join Santa Monica and Los Angeles representatives at a ceremony at the Fourth Street station in Santa Monica on May 20 to celebrate the opening of the final stage of the 15.2 mile, approximately $2.5 billion light rail train.

It will first train to reach the westernmost part of the Westside in more than 60 years since the famous Red Car went out of business.

The train will travel from the Seventh Street/ Metro Center station at 8:45 to Culver City to allow its representatives to board the train and continue to Santa Monica, which will have three light rail stations — at the Bergamot Arts Center and 26th Street, at 17th Street and Colorado Avenue near Santa Monica College and the end of the line at Fourth Street and Colorado.

Other new stops include stations at Palms Boulevard, Westwood and Rancho Park near Cheviot Hills, Exposition and Sepulveda boulevards and Exposition and Bundy Drive in West Los Angeles.

Only the latter two stations and the 17th Street stop will have parking.

“We invite the public to join us on Friday and Saturday to celebrate the historic opening of the Metro Expo Line to Santa Monica,” said Metro CEO Phillip A. Washington. “We encourage the community to enjoy this new light-rail line service and see for themselves how close to the beach Metro can get you.”

Metro anticipates there will be 64,000 daily riders by 2030 between Culver City and Santa Monica.

Culver City Mayor Jim Clarke noted that there are three cities on the Expo line— Los Angeles, Santa Monica and Culver City. “We want Culver City to continue to be a destination spot for Expo riders,” said Clarke, who will join other elected officials in Santa Monica for the VIP celebrations.

Second District Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas (D- Culver City), the Metro Board chair, will be the emcee for the festivities in Santa Monica.

Culver City will also have its own celebration at its station on May 21.

The city has received an influx of visitors since the station opened at Washington and National boulevards on June 20, 2012 as the last stop of the first phase of the Expo Line. Several Westsiders use the Culver City train to travel to downtown Los Angeles and connect with other segments of the county’s light rail network.

Over the last few weeks leading up to the May 20 opening, Metro has offered selected free rides to certain stations. Anyone may board the train for free beginning at noon on May 20 from downtown Santa Monica to the Seventh Street/Metro Center in downtown Los Angeles until approximately 2 a.m. on May 21.

Gary Walker contributed to this story.

City to stage celebration of Expo Line extension