This time last year, USC football fans were celebrating the Trojans 19-17 victory over Minnesota. What they weren’t celebrating was how much of ordeal it actually was to go to games: $40 parking, tons of traffic, waiting at least 30 minutes to be able to get out of the parking structures, and no simple way to just go and enjoy the game. This year, that all changed with the EXPO Line.
Opened this past April, the EXPO Line has made my day-to-day commute miraculously easier, and game days are a breeze. This past weekend, I parked at the North Hollywood metro station on Lankershim and Chandler Boulevards and took the Red Line to 7th St/Metro Station where I boarded the EXPO Line that dropped me off right at the end of Trousdale Parkway. The entire journey took barely 35 minutes! I am still in shock thinking about it, 35 minutes from North Hollywood to USC, with Saturday game day traffic, to an event that had 93,607 people in attendance. To anyone that those figures don’t seem amazing to, you might need to schedule a cat scan just to make sure everything is ok in the ol’ noggin.
My train car was packed with Cardinal and Gold, and even featured a lively “S-O-U-T-HERN C-A-L-I-FORNIA, SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA!” chant and people playing the fight song on their phones. It was such a great experience, and really got me prepared to enter the stadium surrounding by screaming fans and the air of a Trojan victory. Metro workers were even in the spirit, wearing USC colored shirts that said “Fight On, Go Metro.”
The Santa Monica Patch posted an article on September 4 showcasing Metro’s enthusiasm, with 13,000 people using the EXPO Line on Saturday. While there’s no way to confirm the actual number of riders who used the EXPO Line specifically to go to the game, I think those numbers will increase as the season progresses and people see how easy the system is to use, especially with the road closures around the campus after the game to allow the EXPO Line to run smoother.
I was especially impressed with Metro’s efforts after the game, as there were officials along Exposition selling Metro tickets to avoid congestion on the platform, alleviating potentially dangerous situations as well as annoyances from riders.
So clearly, I am an EXPO Line fan. I think it’s a true testament to the research and development at Metro, a great reuse of the Santa Monica Air Line right-of-way, and provides a wonderful new way to get to campus from all around LA County (and for residents around stations to get to downtown, Culver City, Santa Monica [eventually], etc.).
What about everyone else? Anyone else take the EXPO Line to the game? Plan on taking it to the next one?
– Stephanie Byrd, 2nd Year MPL, Concentration: Design and Preservation of the Built Environment