Azusa Dedicates Two New Gold Line Stations, Service Expected 2016

Metro CEO Phil Washington speaking at the Azusa stations dedication last Satursday. Photos by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.
Metro CEO Phil Washington speaking at the standing-room only Azusa Downtown Station and APU/Citrus College Station dedication ceremonies last Satursday. Photos by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

Over a thousand people turned out in the September heat to attend last Saturday’s dedication celebration for two new Foothill Gold Line extension stations: Downtown Azusa and Azusa Pacific University/Citrus College. Though actual train service is anticipated to start in 2016, the Foothill Gold Line Construction Authority has been celebrating concluding station and rail line construction, as many speakers repeated, “on time and on budget.” The new extension extends 11.5 miles from Pasadena to Azusa.

Federal, county, and municpal elected officials pledged to work together to continue to extend the Gold Line. Proponents want to extend the line to Montclair, and further to Ontario Airport.

Metro CEO Phil Washington gave some indication of the anticipated schedule for the line opening, stating that Metro will take control of the facilities this Wednesday, September 23, and will then begin extensive testing. Washington anticipated that roughly 30 days later, Metro will announce the opening date for the Foothill Gold Line Extension. Barring any unforeseen construction issues that may become apparent during testing, the opening is anticipated to be Spring, 2016. There are still a lot of moving pieces, but both the new Gold Line and Expo Line extensions potentially face somewhat infrequent (12-minute headways) initial service due to a short supply of light rail cars, with more frequent service likely commencing in late 2016, as new cars become available.

Among the ways to keep cool were these “Next Stop Azusa” fans.

Azusa Pacific’s historic drive-in theater marquee announced the nearby dedication ceremonies
The Azusa High School Aztecs flag team and marching band capped off the ceremonies.
Downtown Azusa Station
Here is what the Azusa Downtown Station looks like. It’s located on Azusa Avenue, between 9th Street and Foothill Boulevard.
Here is the Azusa Pacific University/Citrus College Station. It’s located east of Palm Drive at 9th Street.

Additional Azusa station dedication photos can be found at The Source. For a tour of the then-under-construction Gold Line Extension, see the SBLA series of articles on the rail line, transit-adjacent development, bridges, and maintenance yards from 2014.

  • On budget only because goalposts get moved.

    As for service being operated at 12-minute headways due to lack of equipment, how foolish is Metro?

    The reality is that ridership on Expo will be tremendous from day one; the pent-up ridership is there and has long been, all predicted in models willfully ignored by West Los Angeles NIMBYs. Santa Monica Big Blue Bus has already realigned its service to feed the stations. So this is where Metro needs to focus service first, not Foothill Gold Line.

    Foothill Gold Line operates on a railroad right-of-way that never had frequent passenger service (only 1x daily trains that were going to and from Chicago) and is in an area sparsely populated and very car-friendly which is not as much the case on the Westside.

    Foothill Transit has done little to publically indicate that they are going to to service these stations with feeder buses (in the study process still) and even if they do, it does not seem to be more than one or two stations.

    I suspect strongly that ridership is initially going to be a real dud on the Foothill Gold Line and that Metro will be more than able to get away with a pair of one-car shuttles running from Sierra Madre Villa to Azusa/Glendora/APU/Citrus until:

    1)Ridership picks up
    2)Foothill Transit realizes they ought to be routing more buses through stations
    3)KS delivers more cars.

    P.S. For those of you who followed the AnsaldoBreda promised factory shenanigans, don’t be so sure that AB would have delivered *any* cars to Metro by now, given their continuing track record.

  • davistrain

    As a San Gabriel Valley native, I think the Gold Line will do a lot better than the above comment would indicate. “Afternoon rush hour” on the I-210 runs from 3 PM to 7PM, and detouring to Huntington Dr.–Foothill Blved (Historic Route 66) doesn’t help when the traffic really gets thick.

  • I’ll believe it when I see it. The ridership potential is there, but people take time to adjust, and none of the stations except for Arcadia and APU/Citrus have any housing built by them.

  • Alex Brideau III

    That may well be true. If they must launch both lines with 12-minute headways, I hope Metro will run some frequent numbers to determine if one line might need better headways than the other, at least until the additional equipment arrives.

  • Bring it on out to Ontario.

  • That will require SANBAG to pitch in money and they’ve made it clear they have other prioroties.

  • PFT Future

    I completely agree that the ridership on Expo will be higher than Foothill extension, the ridership projections in the EIR/EIS confirm that. And just logically, there will be far more people within proximity to Expo stations as well as work locations. I do think the ridership on Foothill will be more than shuttle can handle but just not as much Expo. I believe Foothill Transit will be shifting some lines to have stops closer to the transit station but they are implementing those as they finish out their COA. Foothill Transit has a harder time shifting stops and routes than Metro; cities like to play well with Metro because they control large pools of funds.

  • No, the Montclair mayor cried about that last year when SANBAG first tried ranking their train projects to put the GLE as lowest priority and they ultimately kept all the projects (Metrolink double tracking, Redlands Rail, Gold Line to Montclair) as being equally important. What they should be doing is tapping the cap & trade monies to get it done sooner.

  • davistrain

    Both of the Azusa stations have housing in place and under construction within walking distance, and there’s development planned for the Monrovia station area. It’s been a long time since the Monrovia-Duarte-Azusa area had orange groves and cow pastures.

  • Sure, and before the housing shows up, the cars that can provide the current level of service to the rest of the Gold Line will be on property.

  • You are referring to getting the tracks 300 feet past the Los Angeles/S.B. County line to Montclair TransCenter. I am referring to Marven’s idea of taking the line out to Ontario. SANBAG has said that is not in their plans.

  • It is in their plans. They produced a study last year on providing rail access to KONT and concluded that extending the Gold Line to Ontario was the best way to accomplish that, though near-term would just use bus shuttles/West Valley Connector BRT. The City of Ontario is also enthusiastic about the idea since they would get several rail stations right in the heart of the area that they’ve targeted for redevelopment. I’m trying to convince SANBAG to buy DMUs for Redlands Rail so that they could potentially be run concurrently with the GLE when it eventually occurs.

  • neroden

    The route used to have several trains per day back in the heyday of trains, but it was never super frequent.


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