All photos by the Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority. Click on a photo to see a larger version.
Metro CEO Phil Washington announced Thursday that the Gold Line Foothill Extension will open on March 5. This is huge news for cities along the San Gabriel Mountains — Arcadia, Monrovia, Duarte, Irwindale and Azusa — who pushed for years to get the project funded and built as a transit alternative to often clogged 210 freeway and other major roads in the area.
This will be the first Metro Rail project to open that was funded by Measure R, the half-cent sales tax increase that was approved by 68 percent of Los Angeles County voters in 2008. The next Measure R rail project to open — also next year — will be the second phase of the Expo Line between Culver City and downtown Santa Monica.
Until the Gold Line opens to Azusa, Metro will be testing rail systems and new light rail cars, training operators and staffing the new rail yard in Monrovia. There will also be extensive community outreach to ensure pedestrians, cyclists and motorists act safely around the new line.
An independent agency, the Foothill Gold Line Construction Authority, planned and built the project, which was handed over to Metro in late September. Metro extends a big congratulations to Authority staff and the many women and men of the three primary contractors who built the rail line, new rail yard in Monrovia and the parking structures.
Here’s what you need to know about the project:
- The Gold Line Foothill Extension extends the Gold Line for 11.5 miles from the current Sierra Madre Villa Station in eastern Pasadena to the Azusa/Glendora border. The project includes 24 bridges and 14 street-level crossings.
There will be six new stations: downtown Arcadia, Monrovia, Duarte/City of Hope, Irwindale, downtown Azusa and APU/Citrus College Station in Azusa. APU is Azusa Pacific University.
- It will take about 50 minutes to travel on the Gold Line between Los Angeles Union Station and the the APU/Citrus College Station in Azusa. Trains will run every 12 minutes during peak hours between Sierra Madre Villa and Azusa; service will remain every six minutes between Union Station and Pasadena.
There will be parking at each of the new six stations: 300 spaces in the new garage at Arcadia, 350 in the new garage at Monrovia, 125 in a parking lot in Duarte, 350 in a parking garage in Irwindale, 200 spaces in a new garage shared with the city of Azusa and Foothill Transit in downtown Azusa and 200 spaces at the APU/Citrus College Station.
5. Riding will cost $1.75 for those paying the regular fare, which includes two hours of free transfers. Metro daily passes cost $7, weekly passes $25 and monthly passes $100 for those using TAP cards. There are discounts available for K-12 students, college/vocational students, seniors, the disabled, Medicare recipients and eligible low-income riders. Please see this web page for more information about discounted fares.
- The project includes a new 24-acre rail car maintenance facility in Monrovia that can hold 84 rail vehicles and will be a major employer in the area.
The Gold Line Foothill Extension cost $957 million, including the new tracks, the rail yard, parking facilities and amenities to help pedestrians and cyclists reach the stations and garages.
8. The Foothill Gold Line Construction Authority was set up by the state to plan, design and build the Gold Line from downtown L.A. to the San Gabriel Valley. The Construction Authority also built the 13.5-mile DTLA to Pasadena segment. Metro built the Eastside Gold Line project between Union Station and East L.A.
9. The Construction Authority has completed environmental studies for a second phase to the project that would extend the tracks from Azusa to Montclair in San Bernardino County. The L.A. County portion of that segment is in Metro’s current long-range plans but is not yet funded. San Gabriel Valley officials have submitted it as a project possibly to be funded by a potential Metro sales tax ballot measure in Nov. 2016. A portion of the project between Claremont and Montclair would have to be funded by San Bernardino County. The latest info is here about the long-range plan update and possible ballot measure.
1o. The Regional Connector project is tying together the Blue, Expo and Gold Lines in downtown Los Angeles. When completed, Gold Line riders from Azusa and East Los Angeles will be able to travel to the heart of downtown Los Angeles without having to transfer to the Red/Purple Line subway at Union Station. More on Regional Connector here.
11. Bonus Thing to Know!: Metro’s new NoHo-Pasadena Express bus will begin service the same day that the Gold Line Foothill Extension opens. The new route connects the San Gabriel and San Fernando valleys with regular service throughout each day between the Red and Orange Line stations in North Hollywood and two Gold Line stations n Pasadena. Here’s a Source post with the details and the map of the new route is below:
For those new to the Metro blog, here are some other related posts that may interest you:
Finally, here’s the news release from Metro with other key details about the Gold Line Foothill Extension:
Today Phillip A. Washington, CEO for the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) announced that the Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Project, the very first rail line funded and built thanks to the 2008 Measure R countywide sales tax, will officially open to the public on Saturday, March 5, 2016.
The $1 billion project will extend the Metro Gold Line from its current terminus at Sierra Madre Villa Station approximately 12 miles east to Azusa, with new station stops at Arcadia, Monrovia, Duarte/City of Hope, Irwindale, Azusa Downtown and APU/Citrus College. The line is anticipated to carry 13,600 riders on a daily basis, with trains operating every 12 minutes during peak hours.
“The opening of the Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension will bring Metro Rail to new San Gabriel Valley communities, and provide a relief valve for the increasingly congested 210 freeway,” said LA County Supervisor and Metro Board Chair Mark Ridley-Thomas. “Its opening is a significant milestone: Metro is delivering on its promise to lead a transit revolution. Work is well underway to add four additional rail lines and a total of 32 new miles of service to L.A. County’s rail system in the coming years.”
The rail extension was built by the Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority, an independent transportation planning and construction agency. The line took five years to build, with major construction completed in September 2015.
“Our testing and training process before we open any rail line is a big part of making safety Metro’s number one priority,” said Phillip A. Washington, Metro CEO. “But once the Gold Line Extension opens to the public in March it will be yet another example of our regional investment in transforming transportation across this region.”
Metro has now accepted delivery of the rail line extension, and will require the next several months to complete rigorous pre-revenue service to ensure the line is safe and ready for operation. This precursor work is critically important for the successful launch of the rail line. Metro is testing the line, training operators, supervisors and maintenance personnel, and will conduct extensive community outreach to help keep pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists safe around passing trains.
For example, Metro will test its fleet of brand new Kinkisharyo train cars as part of its pre-revenue service operations. The brand new P3010 train cars will seat 68 passengers and are highly advanced stainless steel vehicles specifically designed to support Metro’s complex system expansion needs. Metro has already begun operating several Kinkisharyo test trains on the alignment, and will accelerate train testing in preparation for the opening. New rail cars must be tested and run through a “burn-in” process, with each car needing to run on the tracks for 1,500 miles.
In addition to the trains themselves, Metro also will test 23 miles of new train track. Tracks traverse 24 bridges and 14 at-grade street crossings. Metro must also test power and substation components in a simulated revenue service environment. Integrated testing will ensure that all systems, from power, communications, signals, and grade crossings are all operating successfully.
What’s more, on July 24 of this year, Metro accepted the new $265 million 24-acre operations facility in Monrovia that will house up to 84 light rail vehicles. Nearly 200 employees are scheduled to work at this single facility that will operate on a 24/7 basis.
During these pre-revenue testing and training operations, the public is advised to “Stop, Look and Listen” as test trains begin moving regularly through San Gabriel Valley communities for the very first time. Motorists are encouraged to be alert and watch for the presence of trains. Drivers should keep clear of closed crossing gates and look both ways before crossing the tracks. Pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists should adhere to all posted “No Right Turn on Red” signs.
Metro has posted 24 safety ambassadors along the alignment from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday to help people cross safely. Ambassadors are retired bus and rail operators who are fully trained in safety rules and regulations. They will assist pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists at crossings, answer safety questions, observe unsafe situations and report safety-related issues to the agency.