Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) released for extension of L Line to Whittier

A long-awaited study — the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) — was released Thursday, June 30, for the extension of the L Line (Gold), known as the Eastside Transit Corridor Phase 2 project.

The proposed project would extend the L Line for nine miles from East Los Angeles to Whittier, serving the cities of Commerce, Montebello, Pico Rivera, Santa Fe Springs and Whittier, and the unincorporated communities of East Los Angeles and West Whittier-Los Nietos. The Draft EIR evaluates the proposed alternatives for the project, as well as their potential impacts and mitigation measures.

The report is available here for public comment and review.

The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) requires recirculation of the report when there is significant new information. A Draft EIR was released in 2014 — however no decisions were made at that time as more planning refinements were made. The Draft EIR released today includes updated environmental analysis and the latest advanced engineering design for the project.

Following the 60-day review and comment period, the Metro Board will select an alternative — known as the “locally preferred alternative” as required by state environmental law.

Metro is gathering public input over the next 60 days on the Draft EIR in several difference ways — via online meetings, by mail and by phone. Three in-person public hearings and one virtual public hearing will be held  in July and August with the dates and times listed below. A court reporter will be present at each hearing. Note that comments and questions will not receive a response during the hearings but will be addressed in the Final EIR, which is anticipated to be released in 2023. Comments can best be submitted via the following methods:

Website: metro.net/eastsidephase2

Online comment form: metro.net/eastsidecomments

Mail: Ms. Jenny Cristales-Cevallos, Project Manager, Metro One Gateway Plaza, MS 99-22-7 Los Angeles, CA 90012

To help support the Draft EIR, an online interactive tool has been developed to help understand the project, view the Draft EIR and maps and learn about the proposed alternatives. Visit metro.net/eastside2022. Here are the details on the public hearings:

Public Hearing #1: East Los Angeles

Thursday, July 21, 2022, 6–8pm

Kaiser Permanente Medical Offices (Northeast Parking Lot)

5119 Pomona Bl, Los Angeles, CA 90022

Public Hearing #2: Montebello

Saturday, July 30, 2022, 10am–12pm

Applied Technology Center High School

1200 W Mines Av, Montebello, CA 90640

Public Hearing #3: Virtual

Thursday, August 11, 2022, 6–8pm

Zoom Link: tinyurl.com/3k8pms7f

Call-In Number: 213.338.8477

Meeting ID: 814 9183 9547

Public Hearing #4: Whittier

Wednesday, August 17, 2022, 6–8pm

Whittier Community Center (Gymnasium)

7630 Washington Av, Whittier, CA 90602

*In-person public hearings are subject to change and may be held virtually based on changing COVID-19 safety regulations. For the latest information, please visit metro.net/eastside2022. Simultaneous Spanish interpretation will be offered. Video recordings will be made available on the project website.

ADA accommodations and translations are available by calling 323.466.3876 or California Relay service at 711 at least 72 hours in advance. To learn more about the project visit the project website or call the helpline at 213.922.6262.

Metro is committed to a comprehensive outreach program that provides project stakeholders with the necessary tools and resources to be educated and informed and provide valuable input at key milestones.

Prior to the release of the DEIR, Metro conducted virtual community information sessions on Monday, June 27 and Wednesday, June 29, to share information with the public — including the proposed location of a rail yard for the project and information on the Draft EIR. Visit the online interactive tool to view the information presented at  metro.net/eastside2022

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

24 replies

  1. Typical of Metro to bury the most important information on how this line will perform. How many riders will this over $6 billion subway to the Citadel serve? Metro’s own optimistic estimate is 7,800 daily riders for the subway to Citadel. So Metro wants to spend $5 billion for a new subway that will serve less than 8,000 people a day. That’s over half a billion for every 1,000 riders. When existing buses on our busier streets (which don’t include Washington Blvd) serve 30,000 today without rail, just on buses alone. Shouldn’t Metro focus on making its busiest most crowded routes rail instead of insisting on a subway to an outlet mall?

  2. It feels like a mistake not to connect to either Commerce Metrolink station. Preferably it should connect to both.

    • Not surprised that wasn’t included as we’re waiting for the relatively short Green Line extension to the Norwalk Metrolink station. Or Red Line additions to the Arts District and Burbank Airport.

      • That Green Line extension is one of the missing bits of system that would have big impacts. The Red Line to the Arts District is still in the works (got to remember the Arts District wasn’t ‘a thing’ when the Red Line was first opened, much less planned.)
        This Eastside Extension also needs to eventually turn south through SFS and also connect at the Norwalk Metrolink station. Once that happens the new Expo/Eastside Extension can get people into DTLA and provide an alternate to the Green for some people.

  3. hi steve. extension this line to the morongo casino and to palm springs tram way.

  4. Put the train along the Union Pacific Right of Way just south of Ferguson Drive, it is still Citadel adjacent (so there can still be a citadel station), is much closer to population centers and is mostly grade separated. That negates almost half of the subway expense and serves the communities along the ESGL much better.

  5. Whittier residents do not want the L line in the City. We will oppose this and Mr Dutra has no right to shove this down our throats. Metro has failed to keep the rail safe and clean for its riders. I rode it once with my child and we saw a lot of homelessness, a homeless person defecating on a platform and a robbery. My poor child was traumatized. Fix what you have first. Make it safe for us by adding police on the rails. A 600 resident survey of whittier residents does not reflect 45,000 registered voters. NO L Line in Whittier!

    • This Whittier resident fully supports it. This city is a transportation failure with no freeways and bad access to the greater area because of people like you. As the county becomes denser, traffic will increase 10 fold, and these trains will be a lifeline.

      • You think 1 rail station in the outermost corner of Whittier, that connects to an outlet mall and a slow ride through east LA, will do anything significant to improve transit for Whittier? The city made sure this line will never serve the core of Whittier or even its busiest places like uptown or Whittier College. 98% of Whittier residents will never use it regularly, let alone once in a while.

    • Stephanie, too bad! Dutra and Solis have already decided this project has to happen, even though it will be the worst and least used project in Metro history. They insist that Metro breaks the world record for most expensive transit line, $5 billion for just 2 ofthe new stations, just so we can have a new subway to the Citadel and a slow streetcar along Washington Blvd.

  6. Why is Metro not looking at improving Metrolink service instead of this ridiculous route that will only get to the Citadel for the next 2 decades?

    • Because they’re two entirely different organizations with different funding…

      • Since when is that an answer to transportation problems? Just because they are 2 agencies, Metro should build its own $5 billion subway to serve the same exact area as existing Metrolink lines?

      • Mostly true. Metro is in charge of what happens to Metrolink in LA county. As long as the measure M and R money stays in LA county, there shouldn’t be any real issue moving the funds to Metrolink as long Metro actually confirms that this is ultimately the decision to go with and that the funds will only be used in LA county as required by law.

        The real issue I see is Union Pacific having a say on their ROW but the ability to add more tracks on the ROW might be what let’s them turn the other cheek between the hours of 6am-10pm.

  7. That will never be part of the L line. The Gold Line as it is now will cease to exist before this ever gets started. While MTA may keep the gold color for the new Expo line, it won’t be called the Gold or the L. So why confuse people and call it by a name it will never be?
    Metro needs to use the new line name that will match that line now.

    • To be fair, who actually calls it the L line? I’ll agree that Metro messed up because people like me will simply REFUSE to call these rails line by letters and will continue to call them by their original color names or Geographic location instead (“The Crenshaw Line).

      Typical Metro to come up with a half-baked solution no once the region has more than 26 rail lines, they’ll just simply say “that’s a problem for the next generation.”

      Fact: Even once the regional connector is built, people will still refer the Little Tokyo to Montclair/Atlantic section as “The Gold Line,” and I think a small bit of the people that work at Metro are slowly starting to realize letters/number were a mistake.

      • I like calling the Crenshaw Line by its letter (the K Line).

  8. This project has become a complete boondoggle, and will be the lowest performing rail project in the Metro system. $5 billion for 2 new stations/areas served, one of them an outlet mall next to a freeway and surrounded by surface parking lots.
    Instead of improving Metrolink service and adding stations to existing rail lines, Metro planners want to build an entirely new subway to an outlet mall, breaking the world record for most expensive transit project in the world per new station. Metro planners must know what a waste this is when other busier corridors like Vermont are neglected until the year 2067. Did they even check if Washington Blvd bus ridership warrants an entirely new rail line? Before any of the other more congested and heavy ridership corridors today, that will have to rely on buses until the 2070s so this project can be built as a “priority pillar project”.

  9. Great plan, but I don’t think Union Pacific (UP) wants more trains on this/their line.

    • They might if some new trackage comes from a deal, that way both trains can run uninterrupted. Even if new tracks are needed, that would still be cheaper than just a 2-3 mile subway at $5 billion.

      Also, from what it seem from above, up has made some grade crossing ready for extra tracks, making construction of such tracks cheaper.

  10. Cancel it and add train service between Downtown LA and Pomona – Downtown Station, add a station at the Citadel, Rosemead (Pico Rivera), Rio Hondo College near Whittier, Azusa Ave and Cal Poly Pomona using the abandoned ROW along Valley Blvd east of Industry with hourly service mid day and 20-30 min service Rush hour with Express Trains operating during Rush hour to serve the FULL line, and add hourly weekend service, build some extra trackage with then $5 billion you’re proposing.

    That mouthful of gibberish I just spewed out will still barely cost 20% of this political boondoggle you still insists on proposing to just the Citadel alone. . . and actually be more effective if connected to actual destinations west of Pomona.

    Why is this agency so keen on being inept?

    • Now THAT MAKES SENSE.A much better option that can be cheaper than the E Line extension to nowhere. Metrolink Riverside needs to add more stations, like you said, or even better; an extension to Coachella Valley. Sure, there are plans for a one-seat ride from Coachella Valley to Downtown LA, which is likely going to be operated by Amtrak. But Metrolink makes more sense with that extension. Metrolink Riverside also needs to add a stop at Central Av in Montclair/Chino.
      In my suggested Riverside extension; I would like the following stations to be added:
      – Loma Linda
      – Baaumont
      – Banning
      – Palm Springs (shared with Amtrak)
      – Cathedral City (Dale Palm)
      – Palm Desert (Monterey)
      – Indio
      – Coachella
      – Menifee (Optional)

      Of course, this is up to the political & demand support or such. The addition with new stations is also not Metro’s responsibility. That’s up to the Inland Empire and Amtrak, unfortunately.

      In regards of adding stations, Rosemead may not be a good location because the surrounded areas are covered by homes. I think Durfee St is a better option as it have does a vacant lot across from the railroad tracks. Cal Poly and Rio Hondo are definitely good spots for a Metrolink station.

      • None of those cities are in LA. We pay for LA Metro through our taxes , we’re not “nowhere”. The desert isn’t our problem, LA County needs more rail within it.

        • And that ideology IS the reason why rail continues to disappoint in this country. You don’t see other cities in other countries get the finger because they are in the middle of nowhere, they actually get their rail station and people actually use them.

          Let’s not forget to mention people who work in LA county actually live in those desert cities hence the advocacy for rail in those cities. The Perris Valley Line actually got an extra train during the weekday and even a reverse peak train. I think it’s safe to say more LA commuters are living in the desert than before.

          Sure, LA county money should stay in LA county, but to say “the desert isn’t our problem” IS actually part of the problem.