Los Angeles has many good things: great weather, exciting beaches, diverse culture and food, lots of shopping destinations, elite universities, and world-famous theme parks. The traffic and smog, however, are problems everyone has to accept in order to live in Southern California. Living in a large city with few public transportation choices can also be frustrating for ESL students who are used to taking the train or bus in their home countries. The good news is that Los Angeles has major public transportation projects under construction that will make the quality of life even better than it is now. I will mention three of them:
One project is the Purple Line Extension. This nine-mile subway will connect Koreatown and Downtown LA to UCLA. Running mostly below Wilshire Blvd., the Purple Line will make it easier for ESL students to visit major attractions in Central and West LA without getting stuck in traffic. With seven new stations, the line will have stops in Beverly Hills, Century City, near the Grove shopping center, and at the avant-garde Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). Students will be able to change from the Red Line to the Purple Line at Wilshire/Western. Construction begins in 2014.
A second project currently under construction is the Exposition Transit Corridor Phase 2. This is a light rail that will go from the current Culver City Station all the way to Downtown Santa Monica. When this line is open, study abroad students will be able to travel by train from Downtown to the beach! ESL students will be able to walk the USC campus, see the Endeavour Space Shuttle, and visit the shops of the lively 3rd Street Promenade in Downtown Santa Monica in one trip … without a car!
A third project in the pipeline is the Gold Line Foothill Extension from Pasadena. This rail line will connect Downtown LA with cities in the San Gabriel Valley. The current phase of construction will build the line 11 miles east to Downtown Azusa, and the second phase may see the Gold Line go further to Montclair, La Verne, and Pomona. When completed, the Gold Line will allow ESL students living in the San Gabriel Valley to visit Downtown Pasadena, Downtown LA, Downtown Santa Monica, Long Beach, Koreatown, and Universal Studios without having to deal with LA traffic.
Slowly but surely, Los Angeles is transforming itself into a city that doesn’t depend so much on the car. Though LA is huge and these three projects cover only a small portion of the city’s total area, and though they will take at least ten years to complete, the city is simultaneously planning many other transit improvements. The day is coming when international students will not have to drive everywhere to get anywhere in LA. More information can be found here.
Public transportation (n) – transport, usually in cities, used by the public and paid for by taxes
Extension (n) – an additional section, extra part or piece
Line (n) – a railway
Avant-garde (adj.) – creative, unique, new
Corridor (n) – a long geographical area, usually along an important road, with a similar economy or a similar culture
Light rail (n) – a commuter train with smaller and lighter cars
All the way (idiomatic expression) – completely, entirely, the full distance
Promenade (n) – a wide path for walking, especially near a sea or a lake
In the pipeline (idiomatic expression) – being planned, being developed, being created
Foothill (n) – small hills near bigger mountains
Phase (n) – a step, any stage in a process of development or construction
Simultaneously (adv) – various things happening at the same time