Foothill Gold Line Extension To Open March 5, 2016

The 12-mile Foothill Gold Line Extension will open March 5, 2016. Image via Metro
The 12-mile Foothill Gold Line Extension will open March 5, 2016. Image via Metro

Today, Metro CEO Phil Washington announced the opening date for the initial 12-mile extension of the Foothill Gold Line. The new Gold Line extension is set to open on March 5, 2016.

The line was built by the Foothill Gold Line Construction Authority. When it was substantially complete in September, it was turned over to Metro for testing. The Gold Line extension includes 12 miles of track, new maintenance yards, 1,525 parking spaces, and six new stations: Arcadia, Monrovia, Duarte, Irwindale, Azusa Downtown, and Azusa Pacific University/Citrus College. Metro estimates anticipate 13,600 new daily riders.

Additional phases are anticipated to extend the line east from Azusa to Monclair and then further into San Bernardino County, though these are not yet funded.

A shortage of rail cars means that initial operations will feature less than optimal headways. Trains will operate every 12 minutes, with more frequent service likely starting in late 2016.

The Foothill Gold Line Construction Authority recently celebrated station dedications. For a tour of the then-under-construction Gold Line Extension, see the 2014 SBLA series of articles on the rail line, transit-adjacent developmentbridges, and maintenance yards.

  • asdfadsfsdf

    Bummed that the Siracha factory doesn’t have tours on weekends cuz that was my reason for going out to Irwindale. The Expo line started construction earlier and was shorter and is still opening after the Gold Line ext, but when I was riding the Expo bike path the other day one one of workers told me to start saving my quarters for “march”

  • calwatch

    Expo has not turned over their operations/maintenance facility yet. The most recent Expo Board report says late October/early November for that to occur. I would tack on five to six months past that date so more like May 2016. Metro needs to have the Expo Line open before the June shakeup so they can eliminate the 534 and thin some of the parallel bus service like the 704, 720, and 733 as Santa Monica-bound riders switch to Expo over a bus.

  • Irwin Chen

    Foothill extension will start service on the same day as Metro 501. Together, the two lines will for the first time offer frequent all-day 7 days a week SFV-SGV crosstown service.

  • calwatch

    The cynic in me says that the NoHo-Pasadena connector will be cancelled if the sales tax increase fails in November 2016. I don’t see the weekend demand along the corridor as the Burbank media district is dead on the weekend and the Glendale stops avoid the shopping district. Midday, maybe a bus an hour, but running the 788 all day and weekends is probably a better use of resources.

  • Chewie

    It looks like the most interesting stations will be Arcadia and Downtown Azusa, in terms of having stuff within walking distance of the station. It’s way too late, but it would have been amazing if the train had gone a bit farther north and hit Downtown Monrovia, which is really a cool area. Yet another example of a train being built somewhere because there is a right of way, instead of building the train to where the activity centers are, even though it would cost more. Some of the stations on this line are going to be totally dead, which you can tell by looking at Google street views around them (looking at you Irwindale). Look at the street views and ask yourself “would I have any reason to go here?” It really seems like the line is more about bringing people from the SGV into Pasadena and LA than the reverse.

  • Jake Bloo

    How long would the Azuza to Downtown Santa Monica ride be (in time/distance)? How much will it be once there are enough cars and the regional connector is in place?

  • Dennis_Hindman

    The regional connector will combine the Blue line with the Gold line that heads north from downtown LA. The Gold line from east LA will combine with the Expo Line. You would have to transfer to another light-rail line to get from Azuza to Santa Monica. If you started from the Gold line in east LA you could go all the way to Santa Monica without transferring after the regional connector is completed.

  • Matt

    That is what light rail is. You need a right of way to build it or you need to take land or roadway, neither of which are possible in most instances.

  • Matt

    They haven’t even completed the line yet either not just the Maintenance Facility. Yes, probably May or June for this. I wouldn’t believe some worker saying March as that is very doubtful.

  • davistrain

    The Pacific Electric line ran through downtown Monrovia along Olive Ave. A small segment of the private right of way west of Mayflower Ave. is still vacant; some of the rest is a park, and most of it is covered by residential development. Then,going into Arcadia, the 210 Freeway embankment covers the PE route.

  • Jake Bloo

    Ah, I was misinformed. Thanks for clearing it up.

  • calwatch

    Nothing precludes operation from Azusa to Santa Monica (or East LA to Long Beach). So lines can change colors midroute if needed – I could see this happening for Rose Parade/Rose Bowl special trains, for instance.

  • LAifer

    What Calwatch said. Also, the workers on the line right now are with the contractor and responsible only to the construction authority, which isn’t Metro. Metro just got control of the Gold Line from the authority a couple weeks ago and won’t have revenue service on that line until March next year. Figure another couple months for Metro to get control of Expo from the authority, and tack on the six months needed for testing and pre-revenue service. May 2016 is definitely the most likely time.

  • Yes, you will have to transfer from the A train to the E train, but that transfer is going to be the slight act of getting off one train at any station between Little Tokyo/George Takei and Pico/Chick Hearn, waiting on the platform, and then catching another train at the very same platform!

    As for travel time. 50 minutes from Azusa/Glendora/Citrus/APU to Los Angeles Union Passenger Terminal, and 45 minutes from 7th Street/Metro Center/Julian Dixon to Downtown Santa Monica/Pam O’Connor. Until Regional Connector is built, I’d factor 20 additional minutes to get from the Gold Line platform at LAUPT to the Expo Line Platform at Metro Center via the Red/Purple Line

    So 115 minutes or just under 2 hours.

  • Hopefully Monrovia can grow it’s retail and dense housing core south to the station.

    As for Irwindale, yes it is a political station, Every city the Gold Line passes through gets a station, Asuza got two in this round because the Citrus College Terminus is right on the border with Glendora. But Irwindale also has the parking garage that can be seen from I-210, and this will lead to it having more ridership thanks especially to the Marxist parking policies of Metro.

  • When LACTC bought the line from the Santa Fe, there was a plan to run Metrolink trains along this rail right of way. Pasadena nixed that because they did not want any more “stinky diesels” running through the heart of their fine city.

  • Neal Broverman

    Monrovia has ambitious plans on developing the area around the station. I hear your point, but the counter argument is that the right-of-way stations revive moribund areas that need help (as opposed to places like DT Monrovia). Look at the Culver City station for example; sure, it could have been a half-mile west, but the area directly around the station is coming alive now with apartments, offices, and shopping. You don’t want to know how dreary and sad it was before.

  • Phantom Commuter

    Faster to drive …

  • Phantom Commuter

    Irwindale is well located for a Park & Ride, which is needed when LRT or Regional Rail extends into the suburbs. The same reason Chicago Metra has “cornfield” stations located on highways between the older “railroad suburbs.”

  • Phantom Commuter

    The 704 and 720 are a loooong way from Expo ! The 733 less so, but Metro should not be cutting service on major streets like Santa Monica and Wilshire Blvd. Bus service needs to be improved, especially in off-peak hours.


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