Final ‘e-clip’ marks completion of track work for Gold Line Foothill Extension!

A big milestone for the Gold Line Foothill Extension project on Saturday: the final piece of track was installed on the 11.5-mile line that will extend the Gold Line from its terminus in eastern Pasadena to the Azusa/Glendora border. The project includes six new stations in downtown Arcadia, Monrovia, Duarte, Irwindale, downtown Azusa and adjacent to Citrus College and the Rosedale development.

The Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority, an independent agency, is building the project and will turn it over to Metro, which will operate it. Metro currently forecasts the project to open in early 2016. Here’s the news release from the Construction Authority:

FOOTHILL GOLD LINE CELEBRATES MAJOR PROJECT MILESTONE WITH TRACK COMPLETION CEREMONY

Hundreds of community members, project stakeholders and elected officials celebrate completion of the light rail track system for 11.5-mile Foothill Gold Line from Pasadena to Azusa light rail project

AZUSA, CA – The Foothill Gold Line from Pasadena to Azusa today held a Track Completion Ceremony which celebrated construction completion of the light rail track systems needed for the 11.5-mile Foothill Gold Line light rail project from Pasadena to Azusa. The event took place near the future Azusa Downtown Station in the City of Azusa with more than 300 community members, project stakeholders, and elected officials in attendance. The event culminated in the installation of the last of nearly 300,000 e-clips (e-clips permanently attach the steel rail to the concrete railroad ties), marking the permanent connection between the cities of Pasadena, Arcadia, Monrovia, Duarte, Irwindale and Azusa, via this new light rail line. A sidewalk marker was also unveiled during the ceremony, recognizing importance of the day to these corridor cities.

“Installing 28-miles of light rail track is an enormous milestone for our project,” stated Glendora City Council Member and Chairman of the Foothill Gold Line Board of Directors, Doug Tessitor. “It took many months and the hard work of many talented people to get to this point. It is a major achievement and I am glad we took the time to celebrate.”

Congress Members Grace Napolitano and Judy Chu joined Azusa Mayor Joseph Rocha; Glendora City Council Member and Foothill Gold Line Board Chairman Doug Tessitor; Claremont Councilman and Foothill Gold Line Board Vice Chair and Joint Powers Authority Chairman Sam Pedroza; City of Duarte, Metro and Foothill Gold Line Board Member John Fasana; Metro Board Member AraNajarian; State Senator Norma Torres; State Assembly Member Roger Hernandez; City of Azusa Council Member Uriel Macias; Los Angeles County Supervisor and Metro Board Member Michael Antonovich; among many others in the celebration.

“The community is realizing that the dream of having the Foothill Gold Line in their town is quickly becoming a reality,” added Tessitor. “A project that has been nearly four years in the making is now less than a year away from completion. The on time, on budget project will forever change the transportation and economic landscape of the San Gabriel Valley and Greater Los Angeles region.”

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About the Foothill Gold Line – The Foothill Gold Line is a nearly $2 billion, 12-station extension of the Metro Gold Line light rail system, being overseen by the Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority, an independent transportation planning and construction agency created in 1998 by the California State Legislature. The project is planned in two segments – Pasadena to Azusa and Azusa to Montclair. The Pasadena to Azusa segment is fully funded by Los Angeles County’s Measure R and is on budget and on schedule to be completed in late-September 2015 when it will be turned over to Metro for testing and pre-revenue service. Metro will determine when passenger service begins on the line. The Azusa to Montclair segment is currently undergoing advanced conceptual engineering, and will be shovel-ready in 2017. The Construction Authority is currently seeking $1 billion to construct the Azusa to Montclair segment.

Metro unveils new Kinkisharyo pilot rail car

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Metro unveiled the first of 78 Kinkisharyo P3010 rail cars this morning. The first pilot car will be used for testing to ensure it is fully compatible with Metro’s system and that there are no safety or technical issues before the remaining cars are delivered.

If all goes according to plan, Metro will receive its first production car in the summer of 2015. That car will be used for testing and training on the Metro Expo Line Phase II and Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension, and then placed in service when the two lines open in 2016. All 78 cars are expected to be in service by January 2017.

Take a brief tour on the pilot car with this video:

Source writers Anna and Joe, both transit system connoisseurs, were able to take a tour inside the pilot car this morning. Their thoughts:

Joe: The first thing I noticed when I got on the train were the blue floor decals and blue seat designs that marked the disabled/priority seating areas. I’ve seen the blue seat design on our new buses and they’re hard to miss. There’s no doubt that this area is reserved for passengers with special needs and you should be prepared to move if you’re sitting in one of the seats.

I also see potential for the monitors that were located at the front and rear of the train. If they’re ultimately used for something informational such as digital signage, it would be an excellent and efficient use of the space.

Anna: Love the shiny new yellow, it’s very eye-catching. The seat arrangement also makes the train car feel more spacious, and more similar to the Nippon Sharyo cars on the Blue/Expo Line. I agree with Joe on the designated priority seats and can’t wait to see them in use. Not sure how I feel about the emergency door open handle being lower and located on the car wall behind the priority seating. On the one hand, it’s more accessible, which is good in case of emergency. But on the other, it’s located behind priority seating…which is reserved for those who may have mobility issues.

Thing I love the most? The extra large decal showing where the designated bicycle/luggage/stroller area is. It’s impossible to miss and makes it super easy for bicyclists to know where to go when they bring bikes on board.

Keep reading after the jump for the press release on the pilot car from Metro:

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Graphic: what it took to build track for the Foothill Extension

From our friends at the Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority, the agency building the 11.5-mile line between eastern Pasadena and the Azusa/Glendora border:

Click above to see larger version.

Click above to see larger version.

Track work for the project will be completed on Saturday at a ceremony open to the public at 10 a.m. in Azusa. Click here for a recent Source post with great video on the track work and information about the event.

 

Video: installing the tracks for the Gold Line Foothill Extension!

Nice video above showing the work needed to install the tracks for the Gold Line Foothill Extension, which will take the Gold Line from eastern Pasadena for 11.5 miles to the Azusa/Glendora border. The Measure R funded project will include six new stations serving Arcadia, Monrovia, Duarte, Irwindale, downtown Azusa and Citrus College and the surrounding neighborhoods.

The project is being built by the Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority, an independent agency. When completed, the rail line will be handed over to Metro, which will operate rail service.

The final trackwork will be completed this Saturday  at an event held by the Construction Authority at 10 a.m. the site of the downtown Azusa Station (795 N. Dalton Avenue).

Information on the event and the news release from the Construction Authority are after the jump!

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Transportation headlines, Oct. 8: L.A. ranks 3rd on jobs near transit, study says

Have a transportation-related article you think should be included in headlines? Drop me an email! And don’t forget, Metro is on TwitterFacebook and Instagram. Pick your social media poison! 

University of Minnesota ranks accessibility to jobs by transit in the U.S. (news release)

MinnesotaStudyMap

The study finds that Los Angeles ranks third behind New York and San Francisco when it comes to the number of jobs near transit, according to the study that crunched the numbers on 46 of the 50 largest metro areas in the U.S. That puts the L.A. area ahead of some older and more established transit cities such as Chicago, Washington, Boston and Philly. The list:

Top 10 metro areas: job accessibility by transit (January 2014)

  1. New York
  2. San Francisco
  3. Los Angeles
  4. Washington
  5. Chicago
  6. Boston
  7. Philadelphia
  8. Seattle
  9. Denver
  10. San Jose

 

I don’t think the above map is exactly shocking news to those who live here and know our area — but the map still makes a pretty visual argument for better connecting transit to downtown Los Angeles and the Westside. The map also suggests that the Measure R-funded transit projects that Metro is building or plans to build are serving a real purpose. The short list:

•The Purple Line Extension will directly connect downtown Los Angeles to Westwood via the Wilshire Corridor with a short detour to Century City. The project also provides a direct link between our region’s largest transit hub — Los Angeles Union Station — and the Westside.

•The Expo Line’s second phase connects Santa Monica, West L.A. and downtown L.A. via Culver City, the northern part of South L.A. and Exposition Park.

•The Regional Connector will link the Gold Line, Blue Line and Expo Line in downtown L.A. and allow easier and faster access to and through downtown L.A. for riders on all three lines.

•The Gold Line Foothill Extension extends the Gold Line to the Azusa/Glendora border, making for easier and faster access to jobs in the Pasadena area, downtown L.A. and beyond (i.e. the Westside). Meanwhile, the second phase of the Eastside Gold Line is being studied and would connect either South El Monte or Whittier to downtown L.A. via this project and the Regional Connector.

•The Crenshaw/LAX Line will serve a north-south corridor starting at the Green Line’s Redondo Beach Station and extending north to the Expo Line, including the job-rich area around the airport. The Expo Line, in turn, offers east-west access to jobs. The map also suggests that extending the Crenshaw/LAX Line north — a project in Metro’s long-range plan but unfunded at this time — would connect people to more jobs to the east and west via the Purple Line. A South Bay Green Line Extension, a project also to be funded by Measure R, could extend the Crenshaw/LAX Line and Green Line deeper into the South Bay.

•The map also suggests that connecting the San Fernando Valley to the Westside via the Sepulveda Pass Transit Corridor makes sense and that the area along Van Nuys Boulevard — to be served by the East San Fernando Transit Corridor — is also a wise proposition in the short-term. The Sepulveda Pass Transit Corridor is a long-term project not scheduled for completion until the 2030s unless funding is found to build and accelerate it, but the project could eventually connect to the bus rapid transit or light rail built as part of the East San Fernando Valley Transit project along Van Nuys Boulevard.

•The map also shows that the Warner Center area is one of the more job rich areas in the Valley, thereby suggesting that it makes sense for Metro to pursue improvements to the Orange Line. See this recent Source post for more about that.

Here is the page about Los Angeles in the University of Minnesota study:

Los Angeles

More headlines after the jump!

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Metro begins excavation of three underground stations for Crenshaw/LAX Line

Drilling near the intersection of Crenshaw Boulevard & Exposition Boulevard. Photo by Metro.

Drilling near the intersection of Crenshaw Boulevard & Exposition Boulevard. Photo by Metro.

The 8.5-mile Crenshaw/LAX light rail project currently under construction will have three underground stations: Crenshaw/Exposition, Crenshaw/MLK and Crenshaw/Vernon. Excavation and decking for the stations is set to begin in November.

Construction of the three stations and the 1.9-mile twin tunnels will take four years of intense and complex labor. In November 2014, Metro’s contractor Walsh Shea Corridor Contractors (WSCC) will begin to excavate the first underground station at Crenshaw/Exposition.

Work is expected to begin the first week of November and will continue until Nov. 24. The contractor will not work during the Thanksgiving holiday and will resume work on Dec. 1 through Dec. 14. If it is necessary, the contractor may continue with more work in January, 2015.

For now, Crenshaw Boulevard between Exposition Boulevard and Rodeo Place is experiencing closures from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. to finish the storm drain, protect utilities, and to place steel piles in order to finish the underground perimeter wall before major excavation begins.

There will, however, be a full 14-day closure in order for the four perimeter walls to be constructed. This closure will be on Rodeo Road at the intersection with Crenshaw Boulevard. The closure will begin at 9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 24, and run through Friday, Nov. 7. It will take approximately two weeks to complete the perimeter walls in this segment.  Work will be conducted around-the-clock. This will then be followed by major excavation.

Crenshaw/MLK

The work for this underground station is taking place on the west side of Crenshaw Boulevard between Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Stocker Street, where the contractor continues prep work before cutting mix soil and steel piling process begins.

Crenshaw/Vernon

Traffic reconfiguration and setting up K-rail has taken place already and piling installation is expected to soon begin.

Video: George Takei serving as M.C. at Regional Connector groundbreaking

We didn’t get a chance to post video last week of George Takei serving as Master of Ceremonies at the groundbreaking for the Regional Connector. Enjoy the video that Anna edited together earlier — and, yes, we know the flag was in the way.

And George — thank you very much for helping with the Metro event and promoting transit, current and future.