Eyes on the Street: Metro Expo Line 2 Has Parking Available

Plenty of Expo Line parking available at the Bundy station. Photo taken Monday at 8 a.m. by Juan Matute
Plenty of Expo Line parking available at the Bundy station. Photo taken Monday at around 8 a.m. by Juan Matute
Plenty of Expo Line parking available at the 17th Street station. Photo taken today at around 8 a.m. by Juan Matute

Someone get the word out to all those eager Metro Expo Line riders that the L.A. Times, Los Angeles Magazine and KTLA5 were so concerned about! Get the word out to Pacific Palisades! Lo and behold, it turns out that there is actually plenty of car parking available along the newly-opened Metro Expo Line phase 2.

There are lots of people riding the new train. Sometimes the train cars get crowded. It turns out that, as in the past, apparently Expo is not that different from the rest of Metro’s transit network where more than 80 percent of riders arrive by walking. As SBLA opined earlier, it does appear that:

Metro has done a good job of balancing its investments in access to the Expo Line. By investing in parking, bus service, bike and walk facilities, Metro is giving Angelenos plenty of great choices.

The questions now may be: Why are there so many empty spaces? Why did Metro build so much parking (roughly 5-10 million dollars worth)? 

Maybe people are just taking advantage of very good walk, bike, bike-share, and bus connections.

Maybe people believed the media “not enough parking” hype and decided not to even try to sign up for parking permits.

Maybe Metro might need to be nimble and manage these spaces more proactively. Perhaps this would include more promotion, and, possibly (I hate to say this) charging less. This is the first phase of Metro’s new station parking policy. Though the policy changes look like a step in the right direction, there may be early hiccups to work out.

It is important to acknowledge that it is still very early. Expo 2 has been up and running for just under three weeks. It is too soon to be too critical of Metro for too many or too few parking spaces along the line. Over time, it is possible that there will be a parking shortage. For the moment, the line is a success, and people, some of them arriving by car, are eager to ride it.

If readers want to get a parking permit for Expo Line stations, or any other Metro stations, go to Metro’s parking website. It looks like now is a good time to get in on plenty of spaces available along the Expo Line phase 2.

  • Justin Robertson

    Nothing wrong with charging less for parking in trying to get the pricing right, or with adjusting back up (or down) as necessary to maintain occupancy targets.

  • Rachel H

    Square footage near transit is prime real estate. It would not take many parking spaces to create mini-parks, dry-cleaning pickup, popup coffee stands, bike repair stations, etc.

  • Joe Commuter

    It’s pretty sad the lengths Metro and City of Los Angeles will go to accommodate cars. Rather than providing a park and/or secure bicycle parking, the accommodate angled parking (to maximize the number of parking spaces). Even if they had gone ahead and done parallel parking, a nice mini-park and some more trees could be had.

  • Well, except that now parking is being subsidized even more (charging less doesn’t mean it costs less), but the real loss here is that excess parking means less housing, business, parks, etc.

  • Alex Brideau III

    I might be open to demand-based parking prices, but I’d probably recommend waiting until the line is operating a full capacity, and not hobbled by lack of railcars.

  • effron

    Which parking lot and/or space for Expo Phase 2 could have been a residence for someone?

  • Mike

    The obvious candidate would be at the lines terminus in Santa Monica. 2/3rds of the land area at the station are dedicated to surface parking, in the most expensive (per sq/ft) region in the city. That lot could much better serve as a destination of commerce or residence.

    For the rest of the line, residences would probably a stretch since most of the parking is slivered, but a lot of elevated track in Europe serves as the shell for retail space.

  • effron

    There is no Metro surface parking at the terminus.

  • Mike

    right… it’s just a bunch of asphalt required by the city that happened to appear when Expo phase 2 finished.

    Technically it belongs to SMPD? Either way, great use of space!

  • The parking at Bundy is interesting, since it is linear. Some of the spaces are pretty far from the station. Maybe they should be cheaper and the close spaces pricier.

  • Jason

    Google Maps hasn’t caught up to the station being finished yet, but: https://goo.gl/maps/FSqYWVP664q (embedding issues, switch to satellite view)

    The vast majority of that is exposed surface asphalt, not the station. Here’s a more streetview image, still shows mostly dirt, but it at least has where the stairs up to the station are to give some more perspective:

    edit: sorry, not sure how to get the embedding to work properly, put these two pieces together to make a streetview link: https://goo.gl/maps/ smyM3stqy992

    Clearly, a large stretch of pavement right next to a train station is a better use of the land than, I dunno, mixed-used residential/retail complexes.

    Never mind that there’s still that blightful Sears parking lot is still there right across the street, too.

  • effron

    Yes, it’s a large plot of land. It’s not Metro’s land to develop. It is a parking lot but it is not a Metro parking lot, therefore it’s not a lot which Metro could have otherwise done anything with such as making a nice place for someone to live. That is the point I was reacting too.

    Joe’s post is about Metro’s parking. Joe doesn’t like that people park their vehicles somewhere before taking mass transit somewhere else unless that vehicle is a bike.

  • michael macdonald

    The surface parking lot at the 17th St Station (2nd photo above) seems to be prime real estate that would be great for multi-family TOD.

  • Slexie

    There’s no metro parking at the end of the line in Santa Monica. No idea what you’re talking about.

  • Mike

    You’re right, the parking lot is not operated by metro. It was just built by metro with direct integration to the station, occupying more than 60% of the parcel with which the station was built. I’ve only ever seen a handful of cop cars but I’m not sure if it’s a SMPD maintained lot.

    In any case, it demonstrates Joe’s point that divesting in parking adjacent to the station is a complete planning failure

  • Slexie

    Yea, the line has been open for a few weeks. I don’t see calling it a failure is a fair assessment.

  • Mike

    With regards to the built environment, the terminology “best and highest use” is used to indicate the productivity and financial benefit of any construction, from park (green space) to high rise.

    In this case a single story home would be more valuable and more productive to the city (better / higher), two homes would have been even higher and even better, three homes, higher and better… You get the idea? An 80 story tower, wouldn’t necessarily be the best and highest, because at some point the cost of building far outweighs the reasonable return on such investment. Once again, in this particular case, the highest and best use would have been a low/mid rise mixed use building that served as a place of residence, commercial and retail. A parking lot that is seldom occupied in the areas most expensive and desirable neighborhood, is a complete failure. On average, surface parking comes at a cost of $15k per stall, and the majority of these stalls are unoccupied, not only is the lot unproductive, it’s actually a financial burden (loss leader) because it fails to recoup its construction cost.

    In short, the lot is a complete failure

  • Dennis_Hindman

    Parking spaces still available for cars at some stations, but there is a waiting list for bicycle lockers at all of the Expo stations that have them.

    Station___________Lockers____Waiting List

    La Cienega__________8___________36
    Culver City_________24___________67
    26th St/Bergamot_____8___________10
    17th St/SMC________32____________4

    Culver City station will soon have a Bike Hub that will have secure parking for 64 bicycles on a first come/first served basis. Judging from the waiting list for a bike locker at that station, the Bike Hub bicycle parking will likely be full every weekday within a month of it opening.

    Without more secure bicycle parking at the Expo stations the percentage of passengers getting to a Expo station by bicycle will not increase significantly. The train cars are very limited in the number of bicycles that can be transported per trip.

  • There is a large parking lot north of the platforms.

  • Slexie

    Like I said before, it’s too early to call the lot a failure. The busiest time for the beach is the summer with both locals and tourists going to the shore. There is no metro parking at the end of the Expo line at SM, so there’s no failure there either.

  • Mike

    like I said before… the failure is not time sensitive. Here’s some numbers that you’ll most definitely question and suggest I’m a liar, but I’ll present them anyway….

    Rent / Lease Averages in Santa Monica
    Residential $48/SF
    Commercial $50/SF
    Retail $31/SF
    Parking $11/SF*

    *At the very very most, you’re paying $3.00 per hour for any public lot in Santa Monica. @ $11/SF that’s assuming every parked car is spending the most amount of money for the least amount of time.

    To put this in a larger context, a commercial lease for a 1 story building taking up the same area (~1.1 acre) would generate $2,300,000 per month in lease… 1 single story commercial building.

    If that space were occupied by 1 single story retail building, it would provide 1,300,000 in rent.

    If that entire lot was filled every single day of every year with the highest turnover, that lot would generate $200,000 per month and add 100-200 extra riders on metro.

    Stop trying to justify a slab of asphalt at the end of metro station in one of the most expensive cities in the country. It’s a fucking failure.

  • D G Spencer Ludgate

    There is a disturbing trend among Streetsblog readers. They are either anti-car, or they are readers who feel they need to argue against Streetsblog’s agenda.

    But there is a middle ground. Being a middle ground, it most likely is not going to make everybody happy, but it most likely is the best solution.

    First of all, a liveable, walkable, bikeable community can coexist with automobiles. Yes, you can have both. Now it may take a complete network autonomous automobiles to achieve it (e.g. remove the human element out of driving), but it is possible.

    So let’s look at this property. There are many businesses that will have a windfall if located at this site. Starbucks, Chipotle, a drug store, etc. These businesses will benefit from commuters and local residents. But since these businesses will generate above average revenue, they are going to have to pay a higher lease rate.

    The higher lease rate can pay for underground parking. Yes, make the businesses who will benefit the most from the foot traffic pay for the underground lot. And yes, they should pay for 50 bike lockers as well.

    Now, Streetsblog is going to dislike this idea, because it means commuters are using their cars for the first mile. Commuters may not like it, because it may mean extra time to get from their cars to the platform. And yes, commuters may have to pay $75.00 a month for their parking.

    But this proposal will benefit everybody. The neighborhood gets a walkable destination. Commuters get a place to park and pick up breakfast/dinner/necessities before/after work. And Streetsblog gets people out of their cars for 20+ round trip miles a day. And the businesses, yes they are paying a higher lease rate for access to the area; but they will be making more than enough money to cover their costs.

    Simple solution. Not everybody is 100% happy, but it will benefit the most people.

  • Joshua Nickel

    The lot at the end of the line was built by the city of SM and is suppose to be a kiss and ride lot for passenger drop off and taxi/shuttle pick up. Though, the only people I see in the lot are sherriffs cars who are there patroling the metro station.

  • Joshua Nickel

    The asphalt was placed there by the city to act as a temporary site to use for drop off of passengers and as a shuttle/taxi area while long term planning took place for the site. The city has long term plans for the site that includes housing and other uses to activate the site along with better circulation for the area. The photo that I attached is some of the early discussion that has taken place in regards to the site.

  • Joshua Nickel

    The only parking at the downtown station is a small metered lot owned by the City of Santa Monica that was in place long before construction of the station took place and is there for visitors of the two office buildings next to it.

  • Alexis Kasperavičius

    Under this line (S7/S5) through central Berlin is retail, restaurants, stores, etc. for the whole length. LA Metro opted to fill this space with dirt and not rent it out. I guess they figured leasing so many stores in West LA & Santa Monica would be too much of a hassle?

  • Joe Linton

    That’s the “only” – except for the 8000 public parking spaces within a half-dozen blocks

  • Mike

    I’m not as anti-car as you think, I actually love cars and driving, just not in a city.

    My gripe with cars is their prioritization over all other means of travel. The car is undoubtedly the least efficient, most harmful means of transportation IN cities and yet we perpetuate their existence by planning for them instead of humans.

    With everything we know about cars, how dangerous, how expensive, how spatially demanding, how insular, how environmentally and socially harmful, they shouldn’t dictating our cityscape.

  • Slexie

    Give me a giant break. Retail brick and mortar stores are closing like crazy. All these mixed use buildings that want retail on the ground floors still have empty spots because the rent is too high. You want a one story commercial building right by a metro station? Gee, let’s make it a very exclusive boutique, in the most expensive city in the country. Because that’s the only type of store that’s going to have the cash to start another location with the current commercial real estate situation. Let’s see, a place the poor and working class who do use public transit can surely use! Now you’ll have to keep in mind, the 3rd Street Prominade and that Mall at the end of the Expo Line swill be your mail compeditors. But who cares about that huge shopping Mecca by the beach with a pier and a ferris wheel? Your little one story boutique is going to draw the masses away from there! What’s your degree in again?

  • Mike

    the giant break is yours! You should use the free time to do some learning!!

    1. Commercial is not retail, (so… not boutiques) commercial is office space, coincidentally, the papermate factory currently being built in Santa Monica, is a single level office space that will fetch among the highest value commercial leases in the city. Even though multi-level mixed use would have better served the area… it also would’ve provided 4-5x the economic benefit.

    2. Of course I don’t want a single story building, that would also be a failure, I was merely using 1floor as an example to compare the worst of developed land (single story) vs the best of parking lot (continuously full, highest pay rate)

    Silly me, I should’ve known your undeveloped concerns didn’t warrant a big boy response. This flew right over your head, now I know not to waste my time in the future, clearly you’re out of your league.


  • Slexie

    Oh honey, you really need to keep up with real estate trends. If anyone tried to tell me commercial property is where it’s at now, I would run away. Anyone with a brain knows commercial and hotel property valuation took a dive at the beginning of this year. That dive wiped out the gains made last fall. You didn’t know that? How do you expect to get giant rents when office space is on the down slope?

    Oh never mind! Those real events, those experts! What do they know? Well they’ve got nothing on you! You get those huge rents, despite incredible odds and market trends, and actual events, and competition! Retail, apartment and industrial valuations have gone up at the same time. But who wants that? Something on the uptick? Nah, who needs that. I bet there are a ton of developers and businesses DYING to invest in some commercial office space! You savvy city planner you! Who cares if it sits empty next to public transit? We’re building a super expensive OFFICE!

    So, you didn’t MEAN a one story building (even though that’s exactly what you said). Well I guess it was my mistake for responding to what you actually said. What was I thinking?
    And you consider yourself a big boy? Well, I’ll agree to disagree on that one. Do you gamble often?

  • Mike

    Once again, you completely failed to understand anything I posted… Not worth my time.

    Keep fighting the good fight Slex, you’re doin great!

  • Slexie

    Yea, I think you just keep saying that as a way to try and not look silly. I addressed everything you said. Either you’re playing dumb or it’s not an act.


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