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Expo Line Update: 3/4 Done, Possible April 2011 Partial Opening

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FCI Fluor Parsons, the construction partnership building Phase 1 of the Expo Line light-rail, held a construction update last night in downtown Culver City. The details focused mainly on building the west end of the line, still under construction. After describing the downtown-to-Culver City train, people were told to visit specific tables that interested them; they included FFP representatives discussing things like design, construction, engineering, and grade-crossings. Tumbleweeds blew around the grade crossing table, signaling that maybe the issue of Farmdale Avenue--which will get a station at Dorsey High School--may be resolved (at least for now). Most people wanted to talk about the sound walls, the bikeway ("will it open when the line does?" "Yes."), night work ("allowed in LA, not in Culver City"), those wavy canopies at each station (they're mostly for design; because of the catenary wires of the train and safety issues, wide shade-providing canopies were impossible), and graffiti issues (the elevated stations are coating with antigraffiti covering, where most graffiti can be cleaned and wiped off--the covering does not envelop the entire elevated structure because of financial constraints).

Other fun facts from last night's meeting:

-The bikeway will be mostly "Class 2," which means it will run on Exposition Blvd. but with a painted line that visually separates it from traffic. A small portion will be "Class 1"--from La Cienega to Washington--where it's completely separated from vehicular traffic.

-Night work in LA will be made less annoying by trucks shutting off their back-up alarms and the installation of sound blankets.

-La Cienega is getting a free-standing mixed-use parking structure with retail on the bottom level.

-The station canopies will have a clear shield that will protect people from rain. As far as sun, the canopies will provide some shade, but maybe bring your sunglasses.

-The Venice/Robertson/downtown Culver City station is being called the "super station" by the Expo Authority because apparently it's enormous. A whole other construction company, London-based Balfour Beatty, began building it in June, and it will probably open in 2012, but maybe 2011, which was reported back in December.

-The line is about 75 percent done, and we were told a portion of the line may open in April--either to Crenshaw or La Cienega. The Farmdale station may be finished after the train starts running to La Cienega (the train would still stop there but not pick up passengers). Construction on Phase II to Santa Monica, even with that pending lawsuit, is scheduled to begin in January or February, according to representatives.

· CPUC Approves At-Grade Crossing at Farmdale [Curbed LA]
· Densification Via Rail [Curbed LA]
· Culver City Stop May Not Open Until 2012 [Curbed LA]