With Expo rolling through town today, we usher in a new transportation culture that is all about choice. Welcome to the newly connected Santa Monica!

I hope you’ll see Santa Monica like never before as a passenger on a Big Blue Bus or Expo train, or as a cyclist leveraging our 100 plus miles of bikeways. Don’t have a bike? No problem. Download the Social Bicycle App to check out a Breeze Bike available at 75 stations throughout our city. Renting a Breeze Bike typically costs just 10 cents a minute. But, to celebrate the arrival of the train, Breeze will be free today through Saturday, making the first and last mile connection to Expo a breeze.

Santa Monica is a beautiful place to walk, stroll and run. Being a pedestrian is now easier and more fun. Look from the Downtown Expo Station to the Pacific and you’ll see the expansive Colorado Esplanade that offers pedestrians convenient access to the Pier, Ocean Avenue, and Santa Monica Place. This week we launched all-way “scramble” crosswalks along the Esplanade to make moving on foot faster and safer. A total of 12 scrambles will be installed throughout the city this summer.

Having access to a car is, in some moments, the only option. I don’t expect to see anyone biking home from a neighboring Costco. Zipcar now gives you the freedom to have “wheels when you want them” with 35 cars around town.

I also don’t expect traffic to ease overnight. But, I challenge you to embrace our new model of mobility and try a variety of transportation modes. Opting for public transit over a car just two times per week will help ease gridlock over time. More importantly, getting out of the car can reduce stress, give you more time outdoors, and improve overall wellbeing and the health of our planet. I also think you’ll find the multi-model Santa Monica convenient, enjoyable, and maybe even liberating.

Expo’s opening is breaking barriers in regional connectivity. We can get from Santa Monica to Downtown L.A. in 46 minutes without sitting in traffic on the 10 Freeway.  You can now start your Sunday at the Santa Monica’s Farmers Market, followed by a trip to the Broad and lunch on Spring Street while getting back in time for Jazz on the Lawn and dinner on Main Street without paying for parking. More options for how you travel mean more options for how you spend your days.

Thank you to the residents and businesses who had a hard road for much of the past three years as the Expo Line and Colorado Esplanade were under construction. Everyone at the City and Metro value your patience and partnership in getting to today. We hope you’ll celebrate with us by taking a free ride on Expo, Breeze, or the Big Blue Bus, and by coming out to Metro’s Station Celebrations tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and to our local celebration with Coast, Santa Monica’s very own open streets event, June 5 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Now, get out there and see what the newly connected Santa Monica is all about – try a new transit option that works for you and get going at smgov.net/gosamo.

– Mayor Tony Vazquez