It’s finally official: The Edward R. Roybal Eastside Gold Line Extension will open to the public on Sunday, Nov. 15, Metro officials announced Monday.
This hasn’t exactly been a secret. Trains have been testing on the six-mile line for the past several weeks and in transit circles most people already knew that Metro was shooting for a mid-November opening. Free rides on the entire line will be offered on opening day.
The Metro Board last week voted to spend $4.5 million more on safety improvements including about two miles of fencing along portions of the line that run along or on surface streets. The fencing is intended to thwart jaywalkers trying to cut across the pair of train tracks.
There are eight new stations along the line from Little Tokyo to East Los Angeles. The opening of the line also allows passengers from Pasadena to continue past Union Station to Little Tokyo or beyond. Passengers boarding the Eastside extension can stay on the train past Union Station and continue to Pasadena.
Plans are already underway to expand the Gold Line in both directions. The Measure R sales tax approved by voters last year would take the northern leg of the Gold Line and push it from its terminus in Pasadena to Azusa. And phase 2 of the southern segment would take the line from East Los Angeles to either South El Monte or Whittier.
Here’s the press release that the agency is putting out today:
PUBLIC GRAND OPENING OF METRO GOLD LINE EASTSIDE EXTENSION SET FOR SUNDAY, NOV. 15
Following five years of construction and coming in on budget with a flawless 4-million plus hour construction safety record, the Edward R. Roybal Metro Gold Line Eastside Extension from Union Station downtown to East Los Angeles will open to the public on Sunday, Nov. 15.
“The long-awaited Metro Gold Line Eastside Extension is going to greatly benefit the community by linking it with schools, hospitals, shopping and business opportunities throughout the county,” said Ara Najarian, chair of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board of Directors. “It’s a wonderful example of the power of our partnership with the workers who built it, with the local people who insisted on it and with our federal legislators who secured more than half of the $898 million needed to build it.”
The six-mile Eastside Extension light rail segment will have eight new stations, two of them underground at Soto and Mariachi Plaza, and 1.7 miles of underground track. It will link the existing Metro Gold Line to Pasadena with Little Tokyo and the Arts District in downtown Los Angeles, before traveling east along 1st Street through Boyle Heights to East Los Angeles. When it opens it will bring the Metro Rail system to a total of 79 miles of rail — all built during the past 20 years.
The Metro Gold Line Eastside Extension will be supported by a confluence of buses to further extend its reach into the neighborhoods. More than 20 bus lines — including those serving L.A.’s downtown Union Station — will connect the Eastside Extension with greater Los Angeles County. Atlantic Station, for example, is the location of a mini-bus hub for East Los Angeles and is served by six lines. Other stations, such as Indiana Station, are served by local buses as well as municipal carriers including Montebello Transit.
Groundbreaking for the line, which was constructed by Eastside LRT Constructors, was in July 2004. The project has posted an exemplary safety record — more than 4 million construction hours without a lost-time work injury — making it perhaps the safest major public works project in U.S. history.
Ridership on the extension is expected to grow steadily, reaching 13,000 average weekday boarding passengers by the end of the first year of operation.
Free rides on the entire Metro Gold Line from Pasadena to East Los Angeles will be offered on opening day Sunday, Nov. 15. Community celebrations also are planned around some of the stations. Details will be announced shortly. Local, state and federal officials will take an inaugural ride following an official ceremony the day before on Saturday, Nov. 14.