This is it, folks: the 30-day closure of four downtown Long Beach Blue Line stations starts Saturday, September 20. During the closure, bus shuttles will replace train service at Downtown Long Beach Station, Pacific Street Station, 1st Street Station and 5th Street Station.
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Customers will be able to ride the bus shuttles from Anaheim Street Station to the four stations listed above at no charge. Shuttles will run at the same Blue Line service levels and will be scheduled to meet trains for transfers. At Anaheim Street Station, regular train service will continue northward to Los Angeles.
Buses in Long Beach will be detouring off 1st Street to Ocean Avenue during the closure. First Street will be closed from Long Beach Boulevard to Pacific Avenue during construction. Pedestrian and bicycle access on 1st Street will remain open.
The press release from Metro is after the jump.
As part of a long-planned $1.2 billion overhaul of the Metro Blue Line, construction activity will center on the downtown Long Beach loop of the light rail system, necessating a 30-day closure and institution of a free bus shuttle to limit inconvenience for commuters, shoppers and business owners beginning Friday, September 20, 2014.
Closure of the loop, which includes stations at Fifth Street, First Street, Downtown Long Beach and Pacific Avenue, begins September 20, 2014 with construction scheduled to be complete by October 19, 2014. Improvements will include a second canopy for stations designed with one canopy, new paint and lighting along with sections that will receive new track, track bedding and track switches along with new overhead power lines.
“The 30-day closure of Blue Line service to downtown Long Beach will tax the patience of commuters, motorists, shoppers and business owners,” Metro Board member and Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe said. “We have spent months working with Long Beach officials and our counterparts at Long Beach Transit and we are confident that the results will more than justify any inconvenience.”
The Metro Blue Line is Los Angeles County’s oldest light rail line, linking downtown Long Beach and Downtown Los Angeles since 1990. With its nearly 90,000 weekday boardings, the Blue Line is one of the busiest light rail systems in the United States.
“The Blue Line is an important part of our downtown business community and while we see the challenges during the next 30 days, we recognize that station improvements and upgraded infrastructure can only enhance the downtown experience,” said Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia.
To keep commuters and shoppers flowing through the construction zone, Metro will maintain a free bus shuttle during the Blue Line’s regular operating hours. Shuttle buses will begin and end at the Anaheim Street Station, the temporary terminus of the Blue Line.
“During Metro’s rail enhancement, Long Beach Transit will be serving customers along Ocean Boulevard and the south end of Long Beach Boulevard instead of our regular 1st Street transit hub,” said Long Beach Transit President/CEO Kenneth McDonald. “Blue Line customers will connect with LBT via free Metro shuttle buses traveling along Long Beach Boulevard, Ocean and Pacific Avenue.”
Metro Board member Diane DuBois, also a member of the Lakewood City Council and Gateway Cities Council of Governments said that Metro has planned this overhaul for decades.
“Back when the Blue Line opened, planners knew that in about 25 years they would need to replace components and an overhaul would be required to meet evolution in design standards and technology. This upgrade to downtown Long Beach embraces new design, new materials and new, safer standards for passengers and employees,” DuBois said.
Disruption to downtown Long Beach business is an issue of concern to City officials and representatives of Metro and Long Beach Transit. One traffic lane might be closed from time to time as conditions warrant, but the contractor plans to schedule most lane reductions during nights and other off-peak hours.
According to the Long Beach Police Department, deliveries to local businesses will be limited as some spaces are temporarily lost during the work. The Police Department is working with all parties to make sure their needs are met, but delivery trucks habitually stopped in no-parking zones are subject to citation.
“The Metro Blue Line overhaul is a big investment in existing infrastructure even as Metro moves forward on new rail projects,” said Metro Deputy CEO Lindy Lee. Metro has five other projects either under construction or well along in planning, including the Crenshaw/LAX Line, the Expo Line extension to Santa Monica, the Purple Line extension to Westwood, the Gold Line extension to Azusa and the downtown Los Angeles Light Rail Regional Connector.
Blue Line improvements are to include nearly $739 million earmarked to purchase 78 new light rail vehicles plus $130 million to repair and upgrade 52 light rail cars now in service. Work has already been completed to replace 20 traction power stations at a cost of $82 million.
The Metro Blue Line has 22 stations between downtown Long Beach and the 7th Street/Metro Center in downtown Los Angeles where it connects with the Red/Purple subway lines and the Expo Line. The Metro Blue Line services Los Angeles Trade Technical College, the famed Watts Towers and connects to the Metro Green Line at the Willowbrook station for service to Norwalk and Redondo Beach.
The Metro Rail system has about 360,000 daily boardings with 88 miles of track consisting of the Blue Line, the Red/Purple Lines subway connecting downtown Los Angeles and North Hollywood, the Gold Line connecting Pasadena with East Los Angeles, the Green Line and the Expo Line traveling between Culver City and downtown.
Commuters can stay informed on all Metro Blue Line updates by checking at metro.net/bluelineupgrades where construction notices and timeline updates are posted.
Stay informed by following Metro on The Source and El Pasajero at metro.net, facebook.com/losangelesmetro, twitter.com/metrolosangeles and twitter.com/metroLAalerts and instagram.com/metrolosangeles.
We will continue to update The Source with more information on the project as it progresses. You can also check the Blue Line Upgrades page for work advisories or follow Metro on Twitter @metrolosangeles or @metrolaalerts to get service alerts.