Metro Opens Gold Line Foothill Extension to Azusa

The Metro Gold Line has arrived in Azusa. Photos by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A. except where noted
The Metro Gold Line now extends east to Azusa. Photos by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A. except where noted

Last Saturday, Metro extended its growing rail network, celebrating the grand opening of the 11-mile Gold Line Foothill Extension. The initial phase of the Foothill Extension includes six new stations in five San Gabriel Valley cities: Arcadia, Monrovia, Duarte, Irwindale, and Azusa. Additional future phases would extend the Gold Line to Ontario Airport.

The Foothill Gold Line will extend from Pasadena to Azusa, with six new stations slated to open in September 2015. Image via Metro
The Foothill Gold Line from Pasadena to Azusa. Image via Metro

Kick-off festivities began at the Duarte/City of Hope station, where a crowd of more than a thousand gathered to hear remarks from Metro board members, numerous representatives of the cities along the route, Metro’s CEO Phil Washington, and other luminaries.

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County Supervisor and Metro board chair Mark Ridley Thomas hosting the Gold Line opening festivities, proclaiming “Teamwork makes the dream work.”

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Metro CEO Phil Washington announcing the opening of the extension that makes the Gold Line Metro’s longest rail line, in what is now nearly 100 miles of Metro rail.
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County Supervisor and Metro board member Mike Antonovich welcomes the Foothill Gold Line.
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Elected officials cut the ribbon on the Gold Line Duarte Station platform. Photo by Aviv Kleinman

The initial train departed Duarte Station about 11:20 a.m. to celebrate at other stations along the line. Hundreds of people waited in line for the free train rides starting at noon. All afternoon, there were long lines to board trains, which were standing room only.

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Hundreds of people wait to board the Gold Line in Duarte.
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Free Gold Line train rides began at noon on Saturday. Photo by Aviv Kleinman
The view from the Gold Line train operator's seat. Photo by Aviv Kleinman
A view from the Gold Line train operator’s seat. Photo by Aviv Kleinman

Cities along the line hosted popular opening day festivities, featuring family activities, food, music, information booths, and much more.

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Chinese dragons dance at the Duarte Station.
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Aboard a children’s train ride, watching an early light rail train arrive at Duarte Station.

Free rides and large crowds continued celebrating the new rail line all afternoon. Below is a photo tour of the new line from west to east, Arcadia to Azusa. For more pictures from on the train, see SBLA’s earlier preview post.

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Gold Line crossing the new bridge over Santa Anita Avenue in Arcadia
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The Gold Line pulling into the Arcadia Station
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Monrovia’s Station Square features a pedestrian plaza, outdoor theater and train-themed park.
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Large crowds and large parking structure at the Monrovia Station
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Westbound Gold Line train at the Irwindale Station
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Gold Line opening day festivities at the Irwindale Station
Crowds waiting to board the Gold Line in downtown Azusa
Crowds waiting to board the Gold Line in downtown Azusa

All in all, the opening drew large crowds of people excited to experience and celebrate Metro’s newest line. Hopefully many of them enjoyed the ride, and, now that they are familiar with the Gold Line, they will make transit part of their ongoing travel choices in the future.

Unfortunately, a freeway crash closed a portion of the Gold Line yesterday, but repairs were completed in time for this morning’s commute.

Streetsblog L.A. coverage of San Gabriel Valley livability is supported by Foothill Transit, offering car-free travel throughout the San Gabriel Valley with connections to the new Gold Line Stations across the Foothills and Commuter Express lines traveling into the heart of downtown Los Angeles. To plan your trip, visit foothilltransit.org. “Foothill Transit. Going Good Places.”

75 thoughts on Metro Opens Gold Line Foothill Extension to Azusa

  1. Well let’s start out with one thing, I am a woman.

    I have to say, you are very confusing at times. It seems like you wanted to support public transportation at some point, became disappointed with it and now somehow have decided cars are the only way, and maybe trains can stay if they have lots of free parking. Somewhere along the way you either forgot there are more options or you gave up. Maybe both.

    You might be surprised that I do agree with some of the things you are saying as problems at times, but I also see very different ways of solving some of these problems. I don’t think the system we have is complete and you have pointed out some of the problems where this becomes apparent.

    Although SOME people can have cars for very cheap initially, cheaper/older cars generally come with repairs even if they can be bought outright and minimal insurance is purchased. The unpredictability of costs from repairs and gas in itself can destroy a car as an option & gives public transportation an advantage over other options for some people. I know I mentioned this to you in a previous comment, but your insistence on cars over all still ignores tons of people including children, people that really shouldn’t be driving like those with DUIs & other unsafe driving records and habits, people with various medical problems which could range from bad eyesight, seizures, medicine side effects among other problems & even super poor people that cannot afford a car but can afford a public transportation pass, possibly due to various programs available.

    What kind of city are we making if those people are expected to always drive in a car as well? What about the people that just don’t want to drive? Don’t want to think about traffic? The people that can work on the train on their laptops and count that towards working hours that otherwise would be wasted in traffic? The people that are tired and would rather nap and it’s better for everyone’s safety that they don’t drive?

    Personally, my grandmother was living in an area of the U.S. with no public transportation within about 3 miles of where she was living. She had declining eyesight and continued to drive WAY after she should have because losing that independence was a huge mental hurdle for her. She could still walk, she could still get on a bus, but there was no bus to get to. That’s kind of a shitty transportation system in my mind.

    If you need to know the pedantic details – I moved next to a Red Line station and it turned out I worked next to a Gold Line station. I didn’t even know Los Angeles had a subway at the time because I had been living in the IE prior to moving into Los Angeles proper. I wasn’t making as much money then & hurricane Katrina happened. I couldn’t deal with the price fluctuation of gas with my salary so I decided to investigate the train to get to work at a predictable $3.00 a day at the time. When I did that, I also realized I was having some health issues that were clearing up themselves by not being stressed while driving and lost weight in walking around to get to/from the train stations. I started exploring the city in a new way and stuck to the train and started driving less. Eventually I got a bike to see if I could do my errands with the bike helping and also explored different places. Then I got rid of my car because it was costing me money that I could spend on renting a car, contributing to gas money or something if I needed to, but it’s still less than it was for me to own a car over the years. I had a car when I got into my apartment, but I got rid of since then. I have been unable to “give up” my parking spot for money off of my lease and I cannot use the space for anything else. I live in an area where truthfully, I have never seen a place without parking. Maybe there’s an occasional back house or very small or old building without parking, but there aren’t many “street parking” only type buildings or no parking/must pay for each space desired. You seem to be lucky to either live in a neighborhood where that is more standard or just stumbled on a building that does it. It would be great if that was more of a standard practice. $200 is not an unheard of rate for a secured, covered parking spot in an area that has very little extra street parking. I am in Studio City near the Red Line. There were other things I had to take into account besides whether parking was included or not when I moved into my current apartment. I could not find the perfect place of my dreams.

    I understand safety is a problem. I have been followed home from the bus and a train station before. One of the things I was frustrated with was the lack of open businesses/people within the immediate vicinity of the place where I was being followed. Instead I just had these open expanses of concrete to go through, partially because I had to go through a parking lot/more isolated area (walking up Campo de Cahuenga near the Universal City station past the parking lot and getting off the Orange Line Sepulveda station.) Even though I’ve had these experiences though, I still think it’s unreasonable to build a public transportation station in a city like Los Angeles that only allows you to drive from the station to your final destination. There’s pieces missing if that’s the case. I don’t think there should be no parking, but I don’t know if it should be prioritized to such a high degree when we’re often ignoring making the pedestrian, cyclist and pedestrians experience safe and pleasant on the way to a connecting public transportation method or nearby destination. It’s actually realtively cheap to do this in many areas. We should make it easy and safe for people living, working, eating, purchasing, watching a movie or whatever the hell people want to do that are near public transportation to use it. Getting people to the train stations via foot, bike, carpool, another mode of public transportation does not cost as much as getting them there in their car and providing a space for their car near the station.

    Some of the problems you point out are due to missing pieces. Others are in place because often public transportation ends up in this loop where people don’t want to ride it because it doesn’t run frequent enough, gets stuck in the same traffic, doesn’t run at late enough hours among other problems. Not all of these are problems that can NEVER change. Part of what makes some of them change (or what should make things change) is people using the system.

    I’ve been walking at all hours of the night and day my entire life, so I guess some of these things don’t phase me. I have my own things I do to help make me safer, but I think that we should try to help create an environment where people feel safe outside of a car. Personally, I’ve had my fare share of scary moments in cars late at night as well, so to me cars aren’t some magical thing that prevents any bad from happening.

  2. If you’ve found a way to commute and get around without a car, that’s great! It seems like it wasn’t something you just jumped into and it evolved over time as you became more accustomed to biking and walking.

    I always try to use public transit first, but most of the time it doesn’t work out that way because of time constraints. I’ve sprinted down the street to catch the last subway back to Los Feliz. And just on Monday I rode my bike 3 miles home at about 3am, I’m not scared of being out that late. But I can’t always have my bike with me depending on where I started, but the other night it worked out fine.

    If they are going to make all parking lots near transit pay lots, that’s an added burden to people who are already paying to use the metro. Out of 14 Red Line Stations, only 3 of them have parking. The 2 biggest lots are in the Valley at NoHo and Universal. Each of those have a little over 600 free spaces each. Westlake is the other station with a whopping 18 free spaces. The NoHo Station turns away 1500 fares a day because of a lack of parking. These are people who are coming from the suburban areas of the Valley (which has long been the red-headed step child of the Metro) trying to get on the subway so they don’t have to sit on the freeway. Imagine 1500 less cars on the freeway both coming and going over the hill. Now anyone could say, just take the bus to the station, but clearly there are 1500 people who either don’t have the time, because the bus does take a lot longer to get to your destination than driving, or they’ve had the same abysmal experience

  3. No. I made the “claim” that some of us do live near transit because we use transit; I didn’t claim to know the exact number of my neighbors doing the same. But I do know your blanket statement of “people who use transit ain’t living there” is false. In addition to my household, I often see folks walking between the Metro platform and my complex. Unless they’re just admiring Metro’s transit platforms, I think it’s a safe bet they’re transit users too.

  4. I always kinda secretly wished LA streetsblog had trolls comparable to the characters you see on SF streetsblog. This is not as fun as I thought it would be.

  5. You said you live near transit, do you live at The Vermont or the W? And you also said “us” which is plural, meaning more than one.

  6. That was the original question which he answered saying he lived near transit. I don’t think I asked you a question, did I?

  7. There are multiple people in my household who use transit and in my building there are multiple households using transit. (No, I don’t have an exact count, but again, I’ve observed them walking between the Metro station and entering my building.) Either definition meets the definition of “us”.

    And no, I don’t live at the W, but I do use that Hollywood/Vine Station fairly often for grocery shopping. There’s a Trader Joe’s that’s conveniently located on the same block. (For anyone that’s interested, there’s another TJ’s less than 2 blocks away from Fillmore Station on the Gold Line.)

    As for “The Vermont”, I’m guessing that might be one of the buildings located near the Wilshire/Vermont Station? If so, to be honest I don’t disembark there very often. Now, when the Purple Line gets extended, I may use this station more often as a transfer point.

  8. So you’re not one of the people I’m talking about. Lot’s of people live near there and use the Red Line Station at Vine. My point is that the majority of people who are buying million dollar condos at the W or are paying $2700-$5000 a month to rent at The Vermont are not the ones using public transit in droves. Maybe some of them do, but the people who use it the most ain’t living there, like I said before.

  9. The TJ’s near the Fillmore station is the first TJ’s ever!

    There’s also a large Whole Foods up the street from TJs (closer to Del Mar though)

  10. No, that’s not what you said before. Earlier you said “The people who use transit ain’t living there”, and I protested because that’s an over-generalization that discounts those of us transit users who do live near transit. Your revised statement is more accurate. Thank you.

  11. I was wondering about that! I thought it was either that one or the one just west of South Pasadena Station. They both have the “original TJ’s” look. :-)

  12. This is what I said:

    ” I’m fine with no more luxury towers at or near transit stations. The people who use transit ain’t living there, so it benefits the developers and people who are rich and don’t use public transit.”

    That’s what I said. The people living in luxury towers aren’t using public transit. I never said anything about people living near them, did I? Nope. That’s why I asked if you lived at those I mentioned. I didn’t revise anything, I still don’t think the people living there are using public transit and if they are it’s not on a regular basis. My point is that no one is giving up a car, moving into those towers, all for the glory of using public transit. No one is buying a million dollar condo at the W and taking the bus to work.

  13. Well, I do live at a transit station, but not in one of the luxury towers you mentioned, so you got me there, true enough. That said, it’s likely we’ll be moving in the next few years, and hopefully to a planned “luxury tower” above a Metro station. Of course time (and rent amounts) will tell.

    And while I think the W sounds like a plenty nice place to live, in my situation transit-adjacent apartments make much more sense financially than transit-adjacent condos, though sometimes renting from a condo owner can prove fruitful.

  14. In some buildings the parking space comes with the apartment as a package and you either take the whole package (including the higher rent that is required to cover the construction, maintenance and opportunity costs of building the parking space) or you don’t. Some cities even forbid the separate rental of parking spaces in apartment buildings.

    You’re overgeneralizing from your own experience. Not everyone has the same setup as you. Your setup is good because it allows people who don’t need parking or as much parking to save on their rent.

  15. That’s obviously a straw man argument. It’s not a choice between parking requirements and no requirements. You could not regulate parking and still regulate building height, use, density, setbacks, etc. There is a well-developed body of literature that lays out the arguments for allowing developers to decide how many parking spaces to build instead of having government planners impose a parking requirement on them.

    “Urban planners typically set minimum parking requirements to meet the peak demand for parking at each land use, without considering either the price motorists pay for parking or the cost of providing the required parking spaces. By reducing the market price of parking, minimum parking requirements provide subsidies that inflate parking demand, and this inflated demand is then used to set minimum parking requirements. When considered as an impact fee. minimum parking requirements can increase development costs by more than 10 times the impact fees for all other public purposes combined. Eliminating minimum parking requirements would reduce the cost of urban development, improve urban design, reduce automobile dependency, and restrain urban sprawl.” [1]


    [1] http://www.uctc.net/research/papers/351.pdf

  16. That’s all fine and good. But developers still ask for allowances and exchange parking spaces for other amenities. There are plenty of ways for developers to skirt parking requirements. CIM remodeled the Gershwin Hotel and made it into an apartment without providing any parking at all for it’s tenants. Hmmm…how did that happen? So it’s not like they follow the rules anyway. Consider the big stupid building that might be built across the street from me. It’s already asking for less parking for 200 units and retail and I’m sure they’ll get it. I don’t care to change the rules about parking minimums. There are no places to park anyway, so if you want to build a store, build the parking to go with it.

  17. Yes and there are plenty of buildings like mine. There are also plenty of buildings all over central LA, Koreatown and Westlake that don’t offer parking at all. Who do you think parks on the streets every night? Tourists? If you don’t have a car, don’t get a place with a parking space. It’s not a difficult concept. Just don’t move into a place with a space and no car and then complain about the price. Go live somewhere else.

  18. Can you give us a break with your “lack of parking spaces are ruining Los Angeles” stance? You say you live in Los Feliz, a community which is desirable due to the many historic buildings in the neighborhood which predate modern parking requirements. You then complain there is nowhere to park. The San Fernando Valley has plenty of parking if that’s what you think makes a desirable community.

  19. I don’t complain there’s no where to park. I’m fine with things the way things are. Oh, I’m also sick of people who don’t drive complaining about cars and parking. Don’t forget that too.

  20. Not everybody has the money to just go somewhere else. Off-street parking jacks up housing costs in a city that is already too expensive.

    I don’t care if people park on the street. That’s part of what the street is for. If there are “too many” people parking on the street the solution is parking meters.

  21. I’m not saying anyone should just get up and move, but most people either have a car or they don’t. But I’m sure lots of people would love to pack up and move closer to a transit station. Too bad if they can’t afford to move, they most likely can’t afford the rents at the towers near transit stations either.

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