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Posts from the "SGV" Category

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Gold Line Foothill Extension Photo Tour: Transit Oriented Development (TOD)

In this fourth installment of the Foothill Gold Line Extension photo tour series, we explore planned Transit Oriented Developments (TOD) around some of the line’s future stations.

Recently, Streetsblog’s Damien Newton and Aviv Kleinman joined a behind-the-scenes tour of the newest Gold Line Extension phase under construction in the San Gabriel Valley. We joined Albert Ho, head of Media Relations for the Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority, and Jeff Rowland, the Community Relations Manager for the Kiewit-Parsons Joint Venture, the contractors building the project. Part 1 of the series documented the rail corridor and stationsPart 2 highlighted the maintenance yard under construction in Monrovia. Part 3 looked at the new bridges.

For those just joining us, the Gold Line is a 19.7 mile light rail line running from East Los Angeles to Pasadena via Union Station in Downtown L.A. The line currently serves 21 stations, and is operated by Metro. The Gold Line Foothill Extension will extend from its current Sierra Madre Villa terminus east into the city of Azusa. The 11.3-mile new extension includes 6 new stations. The extension will serve five cities directly, and it is proposed to transform the San Gabriel Valley entirely. Once bounded by distress of being caught in freeway gridlock, San Gabriel Valley residents will now have the freedom to commute by rail into Downtown L.A. and endless locations from there by using the new Gold Line extension.

TODs are generally station-adjacent mixed-use areas. They often feature relatively dense housing so that residents can easily and safely walk to the nearby station. TODs frequently include apartment complexes, retail centers, and parks, which make for a rich mix of destinations around transit hubs. Find more about L.A. County Transit Oriented Development in this earlier SBLA series.

Monrovia Station Square is a great example of Transit Oriented Development.

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The city of Monrovia is converting an abandoned railroad station into Monrovia Station Square: a new transit-oriented retail development. Photo: City of Monrovia

The Monrovia Station Square is a large-scale improvement project underway, hosted by the City of Monrovia. The city plans to re-vamp the area immediately surrounding the Monrovia Gold Line station currently under construction. The Station Square intends to transform a largely-forgotten commercial/industrial neighborhood into a thriving and bustling town square. The development will adaptively re-use Monrovia’s now-abandoned Santa Fe Railway station, transforming it into a new retail establishment. The city official we spoke with hopes it will become an artisan pizza shop. The current pothole-ridden park-and-ride lot will become a park, filled with green space, playgrounds, water features, and public art.

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The abandoned Santa Fe Railway depot will soon become a trendy retail space in the proposed Monrovia Station Square. All photos Aviv Kleinman/Streetsblog L.A., except where otherwise specified.

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Built in 1926, the Monrovia Depot used to be a bustling transit station. Hopefully soon, the future Gold Line station just a few hundred feet west of it will be just as bustling.

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Gold Line Foothill Extension Photo Tour: The Maintenance Yard

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The Maintenance and Operations (M&O) Yard will be able to store 84 cars when it is completed. The M&O site will be complete with a train car wash, a train car storage yard, 188 employee parking stalls, and a covered maintenance-of-way facility.

In this photo essay, we will explore the Foothill Gold Line’s magnificent Maintenance and Operations (M&O) Facility, currently under construction in Monrovia.

Earlier this week, Streetsblog’s Damien Newton and Aviv Kleinman joined a behind-the-scenes tour of the Gold Line Phase II under construction in the San Gabriel Valley. We joined Albert Ho, head of Media Relations for the Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority, and Jeff Rowland, the Community Relations Manager for the  Kiewit-Parsons Joint Venture, the constructors of the project. Part 1 of the series documented the rail corridor and stations.

For those just joining us, the Gold Line is a 19.7 mile light rail line running from East Los Angeles to Pasadena via Union Station in Downtown L.A. The line currently serves 21 stations, and is operated by Metro. The Gold Line Foothill Extension will extend from its current terminus, in East Pasadena at Sierra Madre Villa, to Azusa. The 11.3-mile new extension includes 6 new stations. The extension will serve five cities directly, and it is proposed to transform the San Gabriel Valley entirely. Once bounded by distress of being caught in freeway gridlock, San Gabriel Valley residents will now have the freedom to commute by rail into Downtown L.A. and endless locations from there by using the new Gold Line extension.

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M&O Facility Site Plan, courtesy of the Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority (click for hi-res)

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A Photo Essay of a Tour of the Gold Line Foothill Extension

This Wednesday, Aviv Kleinman and Damien Newton of Streetsblog joined a behind-the-scenes tour of the Gold Line Foothill Extension under construction in the San Gabriel Valley. We joined Albert Ho, head of Media Relations for the Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority, and Jeff Rowland, the Community Relations Manager for the Kiewit-Parsons Joint Venture, the constructors of the project.

Jeff Rowland, the Community Relations Manager for the  Kiewit-Parsons Joint Venture, knows just about everything there is to know about the Gold Line extension, and railroad construction in general. I made sure to pick his brain with many questions throughout the day, and he was able to answer them all with facts and figures.

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Yours truly waiting for a train at the Monrovia Station. If there were a LCD screen showing waiting time for the next train, it would display “1273236 minutes” (until November, 2016, of course.) All photos by Aviv Kleinman/Streetsblog L.A., except where specified otherwise

It was the most comprehensive tour we could have ever imagined, and we had a long and great day on the tour. We toured the future Maintenance and Operations (M&O) facility, the flyover bridge that crosses the 210 Freeway, and many future stations and sections of track alignment. We’re splitting tour coverage into four separate posts: The first about the line in general, the second about the maintenance yard, the third about the iconic bridge, and the fourth about Transit-Oriented-Development built and planned around the line.

The Metro Gold Line is a 19.7 mile light rail line running from East Los Angeles to Pasadena via Union Station in Downtown L.A. The line’s first phase entered service in 2003, serving 21 stations. The line’s third phase, the Foothill Extension, will extend from its current terminus in East Pasadena, at Sierra Madre Villa to Azusa, serving another 6 stations over the course of 11.3 miles. The extension will serve five cities directly, and it is proposed to transform transportation and development patterns in the San Gabriel Valley. Once bounded by the distress of being caught in freeway gridlock, San Gabriel Valley residents will now have the freedom to commute by Metro rail into Downtown LA and endless locations from there by using the new Gold Line extension.

In this first installment of the series, we explore the stations, track alignment, and construction machinery and processes. Photos and renderings will be displayed in that order.

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Artist’s rendering of the future Monrovia Station. Courtesy of the Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority .

Rowland explained that in the initial phase of the Gold Line construction between L.A. and Pasadena, Metro asked each municipality that would host a station to design their own ‘personalized’ station that would be an art piece portraying a theme of the municipality’s choice. Art is great, but, according to Rowland, art the size of a train station is pricey. At the price tag of $25 million each, the current stations are marvelous and magnificent, but their costs were just too high for the second phase of the line.

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Sweet New Protected Bikeway On Beautiful Rosemead Blvd in Temple City

Cyclist southbound on Temple City's Rosemead Boulevard Project. all photos: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

Cyclist southbound on Temple City’s Rosemead Boulevard Project. All photos: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

The San Gabriel Valley’s Temple City opened its excellent new Rosemead Boulevard Project on May 10, 2014. I didn’t make it out to the grand opening festivities, but I recently got a chance to bicycle there and experience the new Rosemead Blvd first hand. It’s great. All Southern California cyclists should make pilgrimages — and spend money while you’re there.


View Temple City Rosemead Blvd Project in a larger map

The project, shown in green on the above map, is on both sides of Rosemead Boulevard for its entire length through Temple City. It extends two miles from Calita Street to the railroad undercrossing near Lower Azusa Road. The area is mostly commercial strips, with some housing, apartments, and single family homes interspersed. Overall, it’s suburban, though somewhat older suburban. Most of the commercial buildings are set back far from the street; there are plenty of surface parking lots.

Rosemead Boulevard’s protected bike lanes are quite different than L.A. County’s first protected bike lanes on Third and Broadway in Downtown Long Beach; both are first class facilities, though. The Long Beach project includes bike signalization at nearly all signalized intersections; as far as I could tell, Temple City didn’t make any changes to traffic signals. Traffic signals can markedly increase costs for protected bikeways. Temple City doesn’t appear to have skimped on costs, though. The project includes extensive landscaping, and lots of curb-work, including landscaped center-median islands.

Temple City’s treatments vary a great deal. Section treatments–see images below–ranged from landscaped-island-protected bikeway to parking-protected bikeway to buffered bike lane to basic bike lane (with and without parking) to short stretches of sharrows.

The most common configuration

The best parts of the Rosemead Boulevard Project, roughly half of the mileage, had this configuration: no parking, wide bike lane – roughly 6-feet, suitable for two cyclists side-by-side – and tree-lined landscaped median protecting the bike lane from adjacent traffic lane.

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Construction Begins on I-210 Gold Line Bridge

This rendering of a "linear foot bridge" over the 210 looks kind of futuristic. To see a pic of the existing conditions click on after the jump.

(The following is a press advisory from the Gold Line Foothill Construction Authority.  We usually don’t reprint press releases, or even talk about this rail extension out to the SGV, but I wanted to pass on the news that construction work on the Foothill Extension is well underway.  And, I wanted to see what you thought of the bridge design. – DN)

After nearly a year of design work, permit approvals and hiring of subcontractors, crews will start work on the I-210 Gold Line Bridge next week. The 584-linear foot bridge crosses over the eastbound lanes of the I-210 Freeway between Baldwin and Santa Anita Avenues, and will facilitate connection between the existing Sierra Madre Villa Station in East Pasadena and the future Arcadia Station. It is the first component of the Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension light rail project from Pasadena to Azusa to move from design to construction.

Over the next few months, crews will clear the center and southern freeway medians, build a 500 foot long temporary retaining wall, and then start work on the massive foundations for the bridge structure. Intermittent late-night closures of the Eastbound I-210 Freeway will be necessary during the year-long bridge construction. The Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority will issue regular construction notices to update the community on bridge construction activities and schedules. Read more…

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San Gabriel Valley Home to a Vibrant Cycling Scene, But Few Complete Streets

Located east of Los Angeles, the San Gabriel Valley is home to over 30 cities and 2 million persons.  A strong recreational cycling scene exists in the region, particularly in the northwest and foothill communities where large, long-standing group rides like the seasonal Rose Bowl ride have been a fixture for decades.

Green Sharrow Lanes are being considered for a section of Mission St. in the heart of South Pasadena’s bustling downtown.

Cycling infrastructure, however, remains scarce, varying widely from city to city.  A few communities like Pasadena have a history of bike planning and advocacy, but still have a long way to go when compared with cities like Long Beach; others such as Temple City have just developed their first Bike Master Plan and hope to tap into state/federal funding to realize more complete streets.  The majority, though, has neither invested in nor seriously considered infrastructure that promotes cycling as a viable form of alternative transportation.

Predictably, the result is that most streets in the west San Gabriel Valley – especially regionally significant arterials such as Huntington, Las Tunas/Main, Garvey, Valley, Rosemead, and Atlantic – are traversed on two wheels by only the most intrepid cyclists.  Often traffic-clogged and expressly designed for motorized traffic, too many of the streets that serve our area’s commercial districts are hostile to community members who might otherwise be open to using a bike to venture into town.

A perfect candidate for a road diet/cycletrack: 4 one-way lanes on Green St. adjacent to the Pasadena Civic Auditorium.

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A Sustainable Ending for the 710 Tunnel Debate – Let’s Build Light Rail for Everyone

The Orange Line is the proposed light rail line to be built instead of the 710 Connector Project.  Image by Carlos Vazquez

The Orange Line is the proposed light rail line to be built instead of the 710 Connector Project. The other lines are the same color as their name. Image by Carlos Vazquez

The never-ending debate over whether or not to “complete” SR-710 so that it connects with the 210 provides a  great opportunity to create a sustainable option for the 710 Tunnel.  Instead of a tunnel designed to move trucks and cars, we need to create a light rail alternative that connects the region’s biggest job centers with the poorest, transit dependent communities.  Yes, let’s build a light rail alternative between Long Beach and Pasadena!

This public transportation line will connect Pasadena, Alhambra, Monterey Park, East Los Angeles, City of Commerce, Maywood, Bell, South Gate, and Long Beach. This is a much needed North-South connector that can rival the Long Beach Blue line, one on the heaviest used light rail lines in the nation. This rail line will connect the Blue Line, Green Line, and East Los Angeles and Pasadena Gold Lines.  Moving around the region via transit would be much easier and more people would be attracted to our transit system. Read more…

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Scoping Meetings for NEXT Gold Line Foothill Extension Begin Tonight

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While most local transit watchers are focusing on the upcoming Westside Subway Scoping meetings, particularly the one on January 31 in Beverly Hills, another set of transit expansion meetings will begin tomorrow night for the second Foothill Extension for the Gold Line.

This month’s transit expansion meetings will kick off not on the Westside but in the San Gabiel Valley with the environmental scoping hearings for Phase 2B of the Gold Line Foothill Extension.  This phase will run from from Azusa to Montclair, extending the Metro Gold Line 12.6 miles and adding six stations in the cities of  Glendora, San Dimas, La Verne, Pomona, Claremont, and Montclair.  You can get the details for the public meetings at the Streetsblog calendar section.

The earliest construction could begin on this line, assuming the Construction Authority manages to get the $400 million the extension would cost after the $100 million allocation expected from Measure R, would be 2015.  At that point the extension would already be completed from Pasadena through Azusa, an extension that began construction last year. Read more…