In West Los Angeles, a Rail Line Stirs a Revival


Slowly, mass transit is taking hold in a city synonymous with the car. Now a light-rail line is finally coming to the affluent and traffic-choked Westside after years of local resistance, and at least some urban-style development is likely to follow.

When the $2.4 billion Exposition Line, currently under construction on an unused freight rail right-of-way, is completed, by 2015, its electric cars will travel all the way to Santa Monica, a few blocks from the Pacific Ocean.

The Expo route has spurred development proposals from major companies, including Hines, an international firm based in Houston, and Casden Properties, a leading Los Angeles developer of multifamily properties. In Santa Monica, Eileen P. Fogarty, the city planning director, said there was tremendous demand for any site that was located no more than a quarter-mile from a station. “People will comfortably walk a quarter of a mile,” she said.

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