UPDATED, WEDNESDAY 2:30 P.M.: We are forwarding the feedback you’ve provided to the appropriate departments at Metro.
As for parking, the two Azusa stations continue to fill by 7 a.m. or earlier. Field staff checked this morning and there were still spaces left after the morning rush hour at Irwindale and Monrovia stations. Arcadia Station’s garage seems to be filling between 8:30 a.m. and 9 a.m.
It remains to be seen how these patterns will hold up over time. But, as we mentioned in the original blog post below, Irwindale seems to be a good alternative for those who can’t get a parking space at the Azusa stations.
The original post:
Even with the squall and thunderstorms that blew through the Foothill Cities this morning — and the rain was blowing sideways in Monrovia for a few minutes about 7 a.m. — ridership looked very healthy on the Gold Line extension’s first regular weekday morning commute on Monday.
The 11.5-mile extension between Pasadena and Azusa with six new stations is a project, of course, that is intended to serve riders for many decades to come. Judging the project based on one morning commute is probably not fair, but it’s still important to consider everyone’s first impressions.
In addition to the comments at the bottom of this post, here are some other reactions we’ve seen on social media:
Let’s run through some of the issues raised. I may not have answers to satisfy everyone, but I’ll pass along the information that we have.
As far as the issue of longer trains and more frequent trains goes, Metro is saying that ridership will be evaluated and, if warranted, schedule adjustments considered.
As for the issue of parking, there are more than 1,500 parking spaces at the six new stations. The cost of building the parking at the six stations was about $48 million. Included in the $48 million was about one million dollars for each of the six new stations to enhance walking, biking and bus connections.
It’s not surprising that the most complaints thus far centered on the APU/Citrus College garage since that’s the new terminus of the Gold Line. Metro has seen time and again that the stations at the end-of-the-line (such as Norwalk on the Green Line or NoHo on the Red Line) see a lot of riders and parking demand. The APU/Citrus College Station is just west of the Azusa/Glendora border and it’s likely drawing riders from points east.
Bottom line: the demand is going to be heavy at that station. I spoke to a couple riders this morning who said they were able to snag a space at the garage in Azusa Downtown after not finding parking at APU/Citrus College Station. For those coming from the east, the Irwindale Station might be an alternative. It has 350 spaces and is right off the 210 Freeway at Irwindale Avenue.
(RELATED: please see this helpful post from the Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority with more about parking availability).
We know there still may not be enough parking to satisfy everyone. Metro encourages everyone to look at various options to reach the stations. One thing to consider: there are good bus connections in place for each station — see this post (scroll about halfway down), which lists them all and provides the links to the different bus lines. There’s also drop-off options, bike racks and bike lockers.
The larger issue here is how much should any transit agency spend on parking. It’s a tough one that we’ve encountered on other lines, too. We want to make it possible to take transit — particularly in suburban environments. But we also don’t want to spend all the dollars available or surround our new stations with only parking. The idea is to leave room for a variety of community entities.
Finally, there’s the issue of some riders being wrongly charged for transferring from the Gold Line to the Red Line. That was a mistake involving the software used to power TAP. I’m told that it was fixed by mid-day Monday. If you were wrongly charged, please phone the TAP customer center at 866.827.8646 and have your TAP card handy.
Please see the comments for more rider reaction — and leave your own comment.
Here’s a separate post with everything you need to know to become a regular Gold Line rider/commuter.
And here’s our post of pics from opening day on Saturday — lots of good rider images.
If you need Gold Line photos for whatever reason: feel free to download them from our latest Flickr album of train testing pics.
I also did a photo essay on the cities of the Foothill Extension.
Watch: video of the new Gold Line extension from the operator’s cab of a test train.