News | LA Metro Transportation Planner Guides Student Tour of Downtown Los Angeles Light Rail

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On Sunday, October 26, the American Planning Association-USC Chapter (APA¬USC) hosted their second tour of Downtown Los Angeles, this time to experience the city by light rail, aided by complimentary TAP card Day Passes donated by Metro.  The group of twenty four students met LA Metro Transportation Planner Andres Fernando Di Zitti at Jefferson/USC Station and rode the Expo and Blue Lines in the Downtown LA area.  Accompanied by Di Zitti, the group traveled to one of Metro’s newest stops, 23rd Street Station—recently renamed to LATTC/Ortho Institute Station—noting the surrounding, complementary land use and station amenities typical of the more recently constructed stations.  They then continued to Pico Station, which Di Zitti explained was never built to accommodate event crowds, such as those it experiences from the adjacent LA Live and Staples Center. Di Zitti shared that this station suffers not only from congestion but also from significant design constraints and safety issues caused in part by the inability to acquire or shape the use of the adjacent areas.

“Transportation is an “attracting” science, and the quality of transit transportation is so important for human beings.  Nearly all activities are affected by access to safe and convenient transportation.” noted USC Master of Planning student, Ying Yao.  “This tour gave me practical knowledge, and was also a good opportunity to learn how to use what I learn today in the future. “

From the Pico Station, the group then took the Blue Line to the Grand Station—recently renamed to Grand/LATTC Station— to observe another example of one of the system's first stations. Finally, the group traveled to 7th St/Metro Center Station, an underground station in the heart of Downtown LA. Here, Di Zitti compared and contrasted the merits and limitations of light rail, such as the Blue and Expo Lines, and heavy rail, such as the Red and Purple Lines. After answering questions, Di Zitti ended the tour. Armed with a new perspective on rail and their complimentary Day Passes, the students dispersed from the station to enjoy the rest of their day from the comfort and convenience of Metro Rail.  “It was a great learning experience—I really enjoyed it!” remarked UCLA Master of Urban and Regional Planning student, Rosa Guillen-Sanchez, who was attending an APA-USC event for the first time.  "You guys did such a good job, and I am so glad and proud to be an APA member.” added USC-APA member, Master of Civil Engineering/Transportation Engineering student Natalie Man.  “This event was so successful, and I am looking forward to our next trip [to CH2M Hill]"

APA-USC is the University of Southern California’s ?rst of?cial APA-recognized student organization. Its mission is to expose its members to the planning, architecture, and engineering professions through tours, networking events, and seminars. For more information regarding APA-USC, please visit