The Gold Line Is Open, Post Your Stories Here

The reviews are in on yesterday’s opening of the Gold Line: the day was a rousing success.  Press accounts were universally positive.  Sometimes they focused on what a glorious and succesful day yesterday was by itself.  Other times they took a more universal view.  I wasn’t at the opening, I’ll make a point to ride the line during business hours sometime in the next two weeks, but I know you were so feel free to fill the comments section with your stories and opinions from yesterday’s Golden party.

If you were like me and skipped the party, here’s a sampling of the press coverage from yesterday.

  • After Decades of Waiting, Their Train Has Arrived (Times)
  • Video of Different Sites from Yesterday (The Source)
  • Photoes of Different Sites from Yesterday (The Source)
  • A Golden Reality (LA Opinion
  • Why Are People Still Talking Subways (Human Transit)
  • Workday Commuters Piling on Gold Line (LA Now)
  • Times Editorial Takes a Shot at Molina Before Going Into Celebration Mode

  • I had a great time. You can read my story by clicking through my name/link.

  • The silver lining of this line being light rail and not a heavy rail extension of the Red Line is that both light rail extension of the Southern Gold Line, to Duarte and Whittier may get built.

  • Southern California Transit Advocates had a booth at the East Portal building at Union Station during the grand opening celebration on Sunday. As I noted in my Streetsblog posting “The View From a Folding Chair” these openings are excellent opportunities to do outreach and meet the public.

    http://la.streetsblog.org/2009/10/14/the-view-from-a-folding-chair/

    Things started slowly, which befits a Sunday event. Then around 11:30 a.m. the floodgates opened and suddenly huge waves of folks out to ride the extension appeared and until late in the afternoon the site was crowded with attendees.

    We had sample newsletters and a whole variety of materials to share on transportation issues. I worked the booth all day, along with fellow SO.CA.TA members. There were some questions asked (like the lady trying to figue out where to catch her Metro route 68 bus–the stop for which is at Chavez and Vignese, outside the Gateway Plaza) but oddly only one exotic technology comment–someone looked over our table and remarked “you have nothing on monorail” before walking away. It was also hard to talk because of the loud band Metro had playing there. The bad singer who did damage to a rendition of La Bamba during the Karaoke singing session the band had for the early part of the event was especially memorable, albeit in a bad way. Boy, could he not sing.

    Other transportation related booths at the locale included Metrolink, TAP, Los Angeles Streetcar Inc., the Transit Coalition and the California High Speed Rail Authority.

    Several rail buffs took the first trip on the extension, which departed Union Station at 3:40 a.m. Sunday morning. L.A. Times reporter Ari B. Bloomekatz was along for the ride after learning when it would occur thanks to a timely call by local rail activist Ken Ruben.

    http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-gold-line16-2009nov16,0,5454432.story

    Ken also rode on the first Gold Line train in 2003 when the first branch to Pasadena opened. That trip also had a Times reporter riding it–in that case, Kurt Streeter.

    Thankfully Metro in the end as I had urged operated free bus service to provide crowd relief. This was designated on its headsigns as route 600, the number used for special services. It operated in two modes — express between the two ends (Union Station and 3rd/Atlantic) and a local version serving all 8 stations. You may recall I expressed concern in my posting “Gold Line Eastside Extension Set to Open 11/15. But Is Metro Ready to Party?” at Metro’s initial plans not to run such service. Thankfully they came to realize I was correct to feel “the price of running such buses is much cheaper than having the coverage of the opening day event marred by reports of chaos on the platforms.”

    http://la.streetsblog.org/2009/10/27/gold-line-eastside-extension-set-to-open-1115-but-is-metro-ready-to-party/

    As the line at Union Station to ride got long (at some points entailing waiting over an hour) in the early afternoon Metro staff even escorted people at the line ends to take the Express bus to 3rd/Atlantic where the line to get aboard was about half as long.

    This was advocacy at its most basic direct level, one on one. Overall it was a fun, upbeat day.

    Now we can look forward to the initial opening of the Expo line sometime next year as the next Metro rail opening.

  • Some of my opening-day people photos are on Light Rail Photos.

  • David Galvan

    No personal stories from me, as I don’t really have a reason to ride this line. All the same, I am excited about this. With this opening and the Expo opening either next year or early 2011 (anyone got a realistic opening date for Expo?), the impact on public awareness from seeing these light-rail lines start operating is going to be significant. People who hadn’t really thought about transit in L.A. will start to notice: So, this “Expo” line just opened. . . and didn’t we just have another metro rail system open a year or two ago? Huh. I guess this city is getting a little more liveable without a car!”

  • walker o

    Cars will soon be extinct.

  • Erik G.

    It was so RACIST!

  • Erik G., are you sure you aren’t actually Eric Mann?

  • Dave S

    personally, I do not see the big deal with at grade crossings. It just takes an IQ and willingness to pay attention to ones surroundings. Look at Portland, even Minneapolis. Its not rocket science.

  • limit

    Typical light rail – full of corp/gov workers in the morning/evening and full of thugs otherwise.

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