Santa Monica looks a lot different these days. The past few years have seen Frank Gehry’s formerly drab indoor mall, Santa Monica Place, gutted and turned inside out; a gorgeous new park that faces the ocean; and L.A. County’s first bike share system. Soon, SM will have a light rail station—with a direct connection to USC and DTLA—and a pedestrian- and bike-friendly plaza fronting that train terminus.
Known as the Colorado Esplanade, the area will feature super-wide sidewalks (20-30 feet), graceful lighting and landscaping, a separated bike lane, an area for jogging, and one-way vehicular traffic (heading west). The hope is that the Esplanade serves as not only crowd-control for the thousands of people disembarking the train, but a graceful welcome for visitors to Santa Monica; the sight-lines to the pier should be phenomenal.
The esplanade is scheduled to open in time with the train’s arrival on May 20. For now, take a look at construction, via Santa Monica’s Facebook page.