Today, the Expo line finally opens its railway to the sea, with its ultimate station right by the beach in Santa Monica -- and finally, taking the train all the way to the ocean will be a reality in LA for the first time since 1953. Sadly, that won’t mean much to the many millions of people who don’t even understand that LA has a usable train system, but, to many millions more, it’s a milestone occurrence: in many ways, today is the day that the city of Los Angeles finally says, boldly, that it’s willing to be taken seriously.
I’ll check my privilege here: my parents drove me around when I was too young to drive, and, once I had a license, I always had a car or access to one. To me and many, many other Angelenos, LA has always seemed insurmountable without a car of some kind. When I was growing up here in the ‘80s and ‘90s (at the risk of seeming old to everyone spreading the "Damn Daniel" video, I'm 36), the idea of taking public transportation was absurd. Not only did the city busses have a reputation for being unsafe, but timing-wise (especially in the pre-Internet days) they were nearly impossible to count on. I have major respect for anyone who has ever been able to fully understand the system and navigate the city via public transit.