Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Metro Gold Line Update: Testing Starts on Foothill Extension, Eastside Extension Still Awaits Route Decision

The Gold Line, which is a Metro light-rail line that horseshoes from Pasadena at one end to East Los Angeles on the other, has been in the news a lot lately. On December 9th, testing began on the tracks of the first phase of the Foothill Extension, from Pasadena to Azusa, and which will continue in the second phase to Montclair. This phase has less than a year left until completion. Testing on the project checks that a train can pass safely on the newly constructed tracks.

Recently a study was conducted at the behest of the San Bernardino Associated Governments, which assessed possible public transportation routes that would bring travelers to the struggling Ontario Airport. The study found 6 potential routes to the airport, only one of which included bus service, and one of the rail routes suggested would be a continuation of the Gold Line. The estimated costs however are extremely high, and the study does point out that to warrant building a light rail connecting to the airport, the number of annual passengers at the Ontario Airport would have to more than triple.

Finally, the big news on the Gold Line is the hearing in front of the LA County MTA  on the Draft EIR concerning Phase 2 of the Eastside Gold Line Extension. The report set forth two possible routes extending the Gold Line either to Whittier or El Monte, and the board was expected to pick one or the other. Instead, the board asked for a further study to be done that explores the possibility of constructing both routes. The new “technical study” will most likely be done in a few years, and upon its submission to the Board a decision will be made on which of the two routes will be chosen, or if both, which one will be built first. The anticipated completion of the Eastside Gold Line extension is in 20 years.