Metro invites public for virtual community meetings in March on Eastside L (Gold) Line extension and proposed initial operating segments

Metro continues making progress with its study to extend the Metro L Line (Gold) from its current end point in East Los Angeles to Whittier. A new round of four virtual public meetings is scheduled in March to discuss the project’s design and building the light rail project in initial segments. Dates and times of the meetings are below.

Some quick background: as the above map shows, from the existing Atlantic/Pomona Station the proposed route would initially follow Atlantic Boulevard south in an underground segment to the Citadel Outlets in Commerce. The line would then travel east mostly at street level — with some potential aerial sections — along Washington Boulevard before ending at a station at Lambert Road in Whittier.

Metro is also studying building the project in segments — an approach we’ve taken with other rail lines to extend the benefits of the project to communities as quickly as we can. There are two Initial Operating Segments (or IOS) under study for the L Line Extension:

IOS-1: Commerce would extend the line approximately 3.2 miles from the current terminus at Atlantic Boulevard to an underground Commerce/Citadel station in Commerce with connections to a potential rail car maintenance and storage facility in Commerce.

IOS-2: Greenwood would extend the line approximately 4.6 miles from the current terminus to an aerial or street level station at Greenwood Avenue in Montebello. A rail car maintenance and storage facility could be located in Commerce or Montebello for this option.

These initial segments along with the full project alignment will be analyzed as separate alternatives in the project’s Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR), which we are aiming to release this spring or summer. That means that three alternatives are being evaluated in the DEIR:

Alternative 1:  Building the entire project to Whittier.

Alternative 2: Building an initial operating segment to Commerce/Citadel Station.

Alternative 3:  Building an initial operating segment to Greenwood Station in Montebello.

One important consideration: Any initial segment must be able to operate as a stand-alone system and include a rail car maintenance and storage facility.

Metro Board Chair Hilda Solis and Board Member Janice Hahn have also introduced a motion that was approved by the Metro Board last Thursday. The motion requires Metro staff to report back to the Board on innovative options for streamlining pre-construction work, potential strategies for Metro to seek federal funding for the project and alternative project delivery plans — including how the project could potentially be accelerated.

Each of the meetings listed below will focus on the project and how it would look and function in that city — for example, the meeting in East L.A. will look at the segment of the project in East L.A. The meetings will be held via Zoom with simultaneous Spanish interpretation available.

To support communities that may have limited technology and resources, a mobile tech van will be available at sites along the project corridor with screens showing the live meeting and staff offering free WiFi and technical support. Spanish staff will be available for support at all mobile tech sites. All COVID-19 safety protocols will be implemented at all sites. Please see details below.

For complete project details, visit metro.net/eastsidephase2 or call the project helpline at 213.922.3012.

Meeting #1: East Los Angeles Community

Wednesday, March 9, 2022, 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Zoom Link: tinyurl.com/4mv6zmau

Call-In Number: 213.338.8477

Meeting ID: 897 1861 4508

Spanish call-in option (número de llamada): 872.240.3212

Access code (código): 306 731 269

Tech Van Location: Atlantic Avenue Park, 570 S Atlantic Bl, Los Angeles, CA 90022.

Meeting #2: Cities of Commerce and Montebello

Thursday, March 10, 2022,  6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Zoom Link: tinyurl.com/3bzd23xj

Call-In Number: 213.338.8477

Meeting ID: 830 0816 0659

Spanish call-in option (número de llamada): 571.317.3122

Access code (código): 514 928 469

Tech Van Location: Commerce City Hall Parking Lot, 2535 Commerce Way, Commerce, CA 90040.

Meeting #3: Cities of Pico Rivera and Santa Fe Springs and Los Nietos Community

Wednesday, March 16, 2022, 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Zoom Link: tinyurl.com/mrxd844d

Call-In Number: 213.338.8477

Meeting ID: 853 2408 0924

Spanish call-in option (número de llamada): 872.240.3212

Access code (código): 510 930 613

Tech Van Location: Pico Rivera Senior Center, 9200 Mines Avenue, Pico Rivera, CA 90660.

Meeting #4: City of Whittier

Thursday, March 17, 2022, 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Zoom Link: tinyurl.com/2p83mw82

Call-In Number: 213.338.8477

Meeting ID: 830 6625 5716

Spanish call-in option (número de llamada): 786.535.3211

Access code (código): 112 267 101

Tech Van Location: Whittier Uptown Senior Center, 13225 Walnut St, Whittier, CA 90602.

14 replies

  1. 1. Would the new Atlantic station be underground?

    2. Where would the Citadel station be exactly? What kind of bus facilities are planned?

    3. Are there any significant trip generators at Greenwood

    • 1. Yes, they’re reconstructing the EXISTING station, already built over a decade ago at a cost of tens of millions of dollars, as a subway station, almost in the same spot as the existing station. So we get the COST of a brand new subway station but without the usefulness of an actually new station in a new area/community. That’s why the first phase of this project will cost $5 billion for essentially only 2 new stations in newly served communities – one will be a subway station just for the Citadel Mall.

      2. It will be located under Smithway Street, just south of the existing Metrolink tracks and adjacent to the big surface parking lots that serve the Citadel Mall. There is no complete street grid in this area, so the station will ONLY serve the Citadel and a handful of single story adjacent industrial uses. It will not connect to any residences nearby. The City of Commerce has one of the lowest populations and population densities in the entire county, with less than 1,800 people per square mile. City of LA, including the valley and hillside communities (which cuts average density significantly), averages over 8,000 per square mile.

      3. No, there are no “significant” trip generators at Washington and Greenwood. Metro knows this, but instead of acknowledging this basic fact, will pretend that gas stations, auto repair shops and a handful of drive-thru fast food restaurants are “significant trip generators”.

  2. What are the costs for each IOS? Why is Metro hiding these costs when outside blogs have already reported them, well before Metro?
    Is it because this project will now cost $5 billion just to get it to the Citadel Mall, and for only 2 new stations?! That’s $2.5 billion per station, more than the world’s most expensive transit project ever built.

  3. This project is now a first phase priority to an outlet mall next to a freeway, with plenty of parking lots surrounding it. Why is Metro not reporting the cost for these phases? Streetsblog LA and Urbanize LA have both reported them, direct from Metro, weeks ago. Why is Metro itself not being upfront about these new phases and, especially, the new costs? Is it because, at $5 billion, this project will now surpass New York City’s Second Avenue Subway project, for most expensive transit project in the world, adding only two new stations to the Metro rail system, one next to an outlet mall inaccessible to anything else but the mall and warehouses?

  4. Very clever of Metro to try to hide this new information like this. Steve, you have an obligation to let people know that this project is now the most expensive transit project that will ever be built in the world so that the Citadel can get a subway train to its front door. Is this how LA wants to prioritize Metro projects? And where are the ridership estimates for these new phases? Could it be that Metro is hiding them because they know they will be pathetically low? Lower than the 19,000 total that this line was projected to serve when it gets all the way to Whittier. What’s the new number just to the Citadel? It must be less than 10,000 now. Why is Metro hiding this important information?!

  5. Build all the way to Whittier in initial segments, Commerce, Montebello, Pico Rivera and then finally all the way to Whittier.

    If it’s one thing to be learned from the Crenshaw Line, waiting for a line to be built all at once will mean that even one single screw up will mean a delay in opening the entire line.

    In this case, just extending the Gold Line one stop to commerce will boost ridership. But please Explain Greenwood? Is this what the citizens of Montebello wanted? Cause from the looks of it, not only will this not connect with the Metrolink station, but the Greenwood Station is residential with a few burger joints.

    • Although there are 3 existing Metrolink lines in this exact same area, serving almost all of the same cities, this project seeks to build an entirely NEW rail line (as a subway for its initial segments to the Citadel and Washington/Greenwood). A new $5 billion plus rail line (to Citadel only) that will NEVER connect to any Metrolink line or station, even when it’s eventually extended all the way out Washington Blvd, one of the lowest bus ridership corridors in LA County.

      • Except Metrolink only runs peak-hour, peak-direction service in commerce and that’s it, with both those station further then this area. This will provide and serve all-day, everyday rail service to a commercial area that both nearby residents and tourist can visit, with walkable access to a casino. But it also means the area can be redeveloped and rezoned for residential and get rid of those warehouses. Am I missing something here? Oh yeah, it will provide service to Montebello (move the station though), Pico Rivera, and Whittier.

        Regarding the $5 Billion price tag: Well, can’t say I’m surprised considering this is the worst transit agency in the country and for some reason fails to develop any foresight on its rail projects. Remember, this is the exact agency that built the Expo Line, didn’t learn anything from that failure and proceeded to approve a rail line on Van Nuys Blvd with stops every half mile, at-grade. This agency simply refuses to do anything right for the sake of trying to please everyone.

        It only took 10 seconds to come up with 2 alternatives that might be disruptive and overall slower BUT CHEAPER to built. But I wouldn’t expect Metro to do something as simple as open up Google maps, look around the Atlantic station.

        Hey Metro, just a heads up, it’s okay to have a train walk across the street and then have it go underground in an S-shaped tunnel. Your trains are already slow so I don’t even see how your trains running in an S-shaped tunnel would be an issue. I’d say take another look

  6. While there is significant bus patronage on Atlantic Bl. Washington Bl. bus service has light patronage and in fact the MTA former 104 Line was given up and Montebello took over the service. Its interesting to note the MTA finally has acknowledged the East L.A. portion of the Gold Line needs a maintenance and storage yard since the Downtown Connector has severed the East L.A. portion of the Gold Line from the Pasadena portion and its Monrovia Rail Yard and the reality that the Expo Line Rail Yard in Santa Monica is at capacity right now and can not accommodate the additional Gold Line trains. It’s going to be very interesting how the amateurs deal the lack of storage when the Downtown Connector is completed.

  7. Why is Metro hiding the cost and ridership of these new project phases? Why is Metro not publishing the fact that the first phase of this project is expected to cost $5 Billion, just to get a subway to the Citadel and add only two new stations to the Metro Rail system. Metro previously stated this entire line, all the way to Whittier, would serve 19,000 riders a day, a fraction of what Metro’s busiest bus lines serve today, with existing slow, congested and crowded service. How can Metro justify spending $5 billion for only 2 new stations that will serve far less than 19,000 riders per day? And why won’t Metro disclose the new ridership estimates for this first phase subway to the Citadel Mall? Seems like Metro is trying to hide the basic facts about this low performing, wasteful priority project just to appease a certain politician and board member that wants to accelerate this project before their reelection. Reveal the costs and ridership, Metro, so the public can see how much we have to spend for such little return!

  8. This project is a waste as structured, should have always gone down Whittier Blvd from East LA>Montebello>Pico Rivera>Whitier
    much like the Wilshire line is- built in segments.
    I agree with other posts, going to be a low ridership line. At this point, after Citadel, I would run it elevated along the UP line to the existing MetroLink Montebello station and end it there- at least its a fairly large parking lot and some bus connections.
    Yes, I know the politics that every area has to get a line , but don’t just build for the sake of that. There are some much higher priority lines that our money needs to go to first- West Santa Ana Branch, Van Nuys to Lax, Vermont Ave as a light rail subway not bus and the Crenshaw extension first to Wilshire , then to Hollywood. Those 4 lines would have robust ridership.

  9. This project will now cost at least $6.5 billion to serve only 19,000 total riders all the way to Whittier, or 2,000 per mile. One of the most expensive projects ever, for the lowest ridership Metro rail project.

    By comparison, West Santa Ana costs less than $5 billion for 30,000 riders.
    Extending the Crenshaw Line from LAX to Wilshire/Purple Line and Hollywood/Red Line would cost less than this and serve over 90,000 riders, up to 15,000 per mile, versus 2,000 for this subway to the Citadel. But that’s that’s last priority under Measure M, scheduled for the 2040s or later.

    Can someone at Metro explain why they insist on spending the most money on the lowest ridership projects as their highest priority? While much more useful projects, with higher ridership and lower costs, are set aside for several decades in the future? Why are our tax dollars going to a subway to the Citadel before other projects with much higher use and benefit to transit riders??

  10. I think the terminus should at the current Norwalk station along the C line (Green,) instead of Lambert, it looks like there is a good enough gap that can be filled!