Expo Fans

Posted on December 7, 2014 by

On the Expo Line Thanksgiving weekend from Culver City to Downtown, we pulled into the USC station mid-afternoon just after the Trojans trounced Notre Dame 49-14, tens of thousands of football fans pouring out of the Coliseum into Exposition Park on their way to their cars but quite a few boarding the train, creating a sports venue rush hour like you’d find in Chicago and Boston. 

I just happened to be there, got caught up in the excitement and imagined a future with light, heavy and commuter rail crisscrossing the region, redefining home-to-work transport and breeding dense neighborhood apartment house clusters along station stops. 

Expo’s Phase II will be completed in about a year linking downtown to Santa Monica (the last stop a few hundred yards from the Pier) and later the Crenshaw Line and the downtown “regional connector” looping the various systems. Recently approved is the long-awaited rail link to an LAX monorail to terminals and rental car companies (at least a decade away) . 

Squeezed into my corner seat in the jammed rail car, I was thinking about a changing city, less separated and segregated, its extraordinary diversity showcased in the public sphere.

Could the rail build-out make Southern California neighborhoods more distinctive and inviting? Could “Westsiders” taking the Expo Line become less insular and more familiar and comfortable with the styles and demographics of various communities?

We arrived at Flower and 7th.  Everybody off.  I took a quick walk outside to Spring Street’s bank-loft district which, for several blocks, has just the right mix of urban grit and amenities to attract the uber-hippified.  Downtown night-life a train ride away. Another example, it seemed, of LA’s coming of age.

Expo is Southern California’s first “downtown to the beach” rail line in more than 50 years and – as it nears completion – I’m likely to ruminate from time to time about what it means for the region and for me.

Comments (3)


  1. Larry Kaplan says:

    We are maturing. Think New York in 1914 — that’s where we are at, with some obvious differences, but some fundamental similarities in terms of the life cycle of the city.

  2. John Connolly says:

    Yeah … we’re a LOT like 1914 … thousands of “new” jobs at less-than-survival wages … while the Gilded Class complains that their taxes are too high … unarmed black people shot down in the streets … but now — new and improved! — by Cops not Klan … in the North!
    1914: Influenza and Tuberculosis rampant.
    2014: Influenza and Tuberculosis AND Ebola rampant!
    Immigrants blamed for all our social and economic ills … and deported by the millions after doing our dirty work for years, as leering nativists smirk and profit.
    … and Gee ! A FABULOUS profitable tangle of WAR from the Balkans to the Ukrainian Steppes, across the Middle East, into that legendary Graveyard of Empire … and innocent Peasants … Afghanistan, and beyond!
    Brought to you by the Chicken-Hawks of North America …
    And the Thieving Tarnished Tsars of slovenly degenerate Russia.

    Lunatic Fundamentalists of Every Stripe — Muslim, Judaic, Hindu and Christian vying for Our Loyalty, or Our Land … or Our Blood.

    1864: The Golden Spike is hammered into the transcontinental rail link, igniting the belching smokestacks of the Gilded Age, and that burning fuse triggers the conflagration of …
    1914: World War One’s Orgiastic Celebration of Industrialized Murder … thence to …
    2014: The Carbon Spike suicidally hammered into the Heart of our very World.

    1914: Subways and Circuses.
    2014: Light Rail and Circuses.
    2064: Mass Starvation, Emphysema, Psychotic Fury and Circuses.
    And Death, Degradation, Misery and Blood by the Bucketful.

    This is what happens when the Teddy Roosevelt 20th Century Promise of Progress collapses from Capitalist Greed and Myopia.
    And when the 20th Century Promise of Socialist Equity collapses from Stalinist betrayal, Social Democratic exhaustion and Liberal cowardice.

    And when WE have not proved strong enough, determined enough, smart enough, tough enough and revolutionary enough to carry through our 1960′s revolutionary promise to ourselves.

    I love subways, light rail, bicycles and puppies.

    But I HATE living in a world where The Revolution has been trivialized, bought-off, made cheap sport, and defeated.
    Where I have failed.
    Where “Politics” does Nothing but suck the Joy out of the World.

    We are NOT maturing. We are losing.

  3. John Connolly says:


    Per the Above …

    I clearly was having a Glass Way-Less-Than-Half-Full Day, wasn’t I?

    On an “Interstellar” scale, evidently.

    I really DO like Light Rail.


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