LA County “Rediscovers Gold”

LA County celebrates the opening of six new stations as part of the Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension. The 11.5 mile extension is the first Measure R sales tax-funded rail line to open to the public, and was completed on time and on budget.

Metro board members and elected officials from the community joined together on Saturday for a grand opening ribbon cutting ceremony at the Duarte/City of Hope station.  The new trains departed in both directions to carry off riders for the first time.

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Ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Duarte/City of Hope gold line station.

Free rides were offered to gold line passengers beginning at 12 noon.  Each new station hosted community events to celebrate the opening of the extension.  Festivities included live music, food vendors, kids’ areas, and more.

The gold line now serves the cities of Arcadia, Monrovia, Duarte, Irwindale, and Azusa, and connects important destinations in the San Gabriel Valley, including Santa Anita Park, Mr. Sierra College, the City of Hope medical campus, Azusa Pacific University, and Citrus College.  The extension also offers a collection of artworks at each new station, which reflects the natural history and architectural heritage of the Foothill cities.

Ridership is projected to grow to 13,600 daily boardings by 2035, and will ease traffic on the congested 210 freeway.  Each new station will provide park & ride facilities, bike racks and lockers, and are serviced by bus lines to assist commuters with the first and last mile.  “Metro is making good on its commitment to ease traffic and fulfill the will of voters throughout the region by building a plethora of new transit services that will make it easier to get around in virtually every corner of our great county,” says LA County Supervisor and Metro Board Chair Mark Ridley-Thomas.

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Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti speaks at the the opening ceremony of the Duarte/City of Hope gold line station.

Opening weekend of the Foothill Extension wasn’t without its share of issues.  There were mechanical issues with some of the trains, causing delays.  Riders waited in long lines to board at the new stations.  Due to the wait, riders were deterred from getting off at other stops to partake in the festivities.  I waited an hour 40 minutes to board at the Duarte/City of Hope station, heading west towards Pasadena.  I didn’t want to make that wait again, so I rode the train back to Northeast LA instead of checking out the parties at the other stations.

The gold line was closed on Sunday from the Allen station in Pasadena to the Arcadia station due to a big rig accident overnight.  The truck slammed into the center guard rail and became engulfed in flames.  Debris landed on the tracks, which has been cleared.  Metro crews are currently assessing the damage and making repairs.  In the meantime, shuttle service is currently replacing service between these stations.

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