Now that the Expo Construction Authority has the legal green light to begin construction of Phase II of the Expo Line, it can move on to other issues. Responding to a motion at the February 5, 2010 meeting of the Expo Construction Authority by Zev Yaroslavsky, Expo staff have put together a presentation listing the pros and cons of having station parking at the Expo Station at Westwood and Exposition. The “no-parking” option has been endorsed by many of the groups backing the Expo Line such as Light Rail for Cheviot and Friends 4 Expo Transit. The Construction Authority Board is expected to vote on whether to provide commuter parking at their March 18 meeting.
By removing commuter parking from the design, the Westwood/Exposition Station is surrounded by open space. At the north side of the station, an additional 54,000 square feet would be created. As staff notes, that is roughly the same size as a football field. The south side would have “only” 23,750 square feet and a “kiss and ride” drop off area. While the above rendering shows a gigantic brown squares, this space could be filled with amenities such as coffee shops, food trucks or other features one associates with first class transit station.
There would be some parking with the station. 20 spaces would be reserved for people visiting or living in the community, to replace some of the street parking lost by the station. Very short-term parking will be allowed in the Kiss-and-Ride area for people waiting to pick up an Expo passenger.
By comparison, the option with parking wouldn’t have space for any of those things. But, it will have lots of low cost car parking.
The plan with parking calls for 170 parking spaces, with access to the stations from Westwood, Overland and Selby Avenues. As you can see, there is room for landscaping in the project, but not really room for much else.
So here’s the decision that has to be made, does the Construction Authority value 170 parking spaces over station amenities, open space, maintaining a permeable surface around the station, limiting the environmental damage caused by increasing car trips to the area and encouraging people to walk and bike to the station.
When the Expo Board posts their agenda, Streetsblog will post it. In the meantime, if you have an opinion on which station design you like best, you can email the Board of Directors for the Construction Authority through this website.