Metro’s Gold Line Foothill Extension: “If you Build it, we will Use it.”

Nov 22, 2009 by Lisa Newton

Foothill Extension

The Metro Gold Line is moving eastward, all the way to the Ontario Airport.

This is great news especially in light of last week’s very successful opening of the Edward R. Roybal Gold Line Eastside Extension. This past Saturday, the Gold Line celebrated another milestone, the planned opening of the first phase of the Foothill Extension which will extend from Pasadena to Azusa, and then further inland.

Under the initial long-range plan, the Foothill Extension between Pasadena and Azusa wasn’t supposed to open until 2017 (the map shows the plans for the entire line to Montclair). But the Board agreed that Metro would begin operating the line as soon as 2013. That’s on the condition that the Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority – the independent agency charged with building the line — can arrange for a loan to speed up construction instead of waiting for the slower flow of Measure R money to the project. Source: The Source Transportation News and Views

Metro Board Chair Ara Najarian

In honor of this achievement, various dignitaries, politicians, press, and enthusiastic locals gathered at the old Monrovia Santa Fe Station, for a sign unveiling, and the groundbreaking announcement. Saturday’s celebration included speeches by Congressman David Dreier, Assemblyman Anthony Portantino, whose quote was used for the title of this article, Duarte Mayor and Metro Board member John Fasana, plus other local Mayors, Congressman, and Metro officials. Most of the speeches highlighted everyone’s willingness to work together in order to achieve the Foothill Extension closer to another milestone, and how the stations and the extension will be part of the inland’s economic development—from creation of jobs, providing its local population access to alternative modes of travel, and the removal of cars from its crowded freeways, by having a mass transportation alternative.

“The Foothill Extension will represent an important early achievement for Measure R funds and translate into thousands of new jobs, increased economic investment and new public transit options increasing regional connectivity,” said Metro Board Chair Najarian.

One of the highlights of the day was the unveiling of the Metro’s new sign promoting the Foothill extension:

The new Foothill Extension, officially known as Phase 2A (Phase 1 was the Pasadena to Union Station line and Phase 2 was the recently opened Gold Line Eastside Extension) has planned stops at Arcadia, Monrovia, Duarte, Irwindale, and Azusa. Phase 2B, which is already underway, plans to extend the Line eastward to Montclair.

With about 200 people in attendance, plus free hot dogs, cotton candy, and popcorn, the event was well received by the audience and the messages hit home, so time at the event was time spent well—the speakers explained the long hard fought process to bring mass transportation not only here, but throughout the entire Los Angeles basin. In reality, having a Gold Line rail system extending all the way from the Atlantic station, to the long term ultimate destination–the Ontario Airport–will be nothing short of people working together to achieve more, regardless of political party affiliation.

Now, if only the “Subway to the Sea” where I live would move as fast, I’d be in mass transit heaven; but as the saying goes, all good things take time.

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