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EDITORIAL: ‘Gold towns’ on right track for development in the SGV – Pas Star-News

Posted by GoldLine

The following Editorial originally appeared in the August 15, 2013 print edition of the Pasadena Star-News

EDITORIAL:  ‘Gold towns’ on right track for development in the SGV – Pas Star-News

The newspaper advertisements say that the new planned community is “Minutes from Downtown Los Angeles & moments from nature.”

The foothills of Azusa, in the heart of the San Gabriel Valley, just minutes from Downtown?

Sure, allowing for the poetic license of advertising. The Google Maps app says that the 25-mile route from Rosedale in Azusa to 3rd and Spring can indeed be driven on the freeways in minutes: 28 of them. That’s at mid-day. Allow for a certain squishiness in that estimate at both of the peak-commute times on a weekday.

But the point that the developers of the suddenly rejuvenated Rosedale development in the hills are making doesn’t have to do with freeways. What they are excited about is an Azusa that, with the coming of the Gold Line light rail extension, will finally be connected to Downtown and beyond by a rapid transit system middle-class Southern Californians actually want to use.

It doesn’t matter if the Bus Riders’ Union and hard-core fans of the Metro buses want professionals to get out of their cars and into buses. The plain fact is that they won’t, for a variety of sociological reasons. They’d rather sit in the simply terrifying gridlock of the 210 and 10 freeways every morning than deign to board a bus.

Rail is a different matter. And the Foothill Extension of the Gold Line — along with the slowly recovering economy — is what is making the long-stalled Rosedale development of five different neighborhoods with 1,250 houses and townhomes possible again.

Rosedale was conceived during the go-go residential real-estate years of the 1990s and early 2000s. Huge housing developments were being built in far more remote corners of Southern California, from the Inland Empire to the high desert. If middle-class buyers would go that far out, why not Azusa? New Urbanist Rick Cole, then the city manager of Azusa, now the deputy mayor of Los Angeles, was changing the image, and the feel, of the blue-collar town. Rosedale wouldn’t be just a tract — it would include its own school, open space, rec centers, trails into the Angeles National Forest.

Then the housing market crashed with the economy, and Rosedale construction stopped.

Now it’s cranking up again, and people are moving in. But sales in the upscale portions — especially “Wisteria, from the $700,000s” — simply wouldn’t have been possible without the coming of the Gold Line in 2015.

This is part of the welcome news for the San Gabriel Valley about light rail finally being extended east from Pasadena. Mayor Mary Ann Lusk in neighboring Monrovia says the impact on the foothills is resulting in “Gold Towns,” a play on her city’s economically and culturally successful Old Town. In Monrovia it will be an 80-acre commercial and residential area known as the Station Square Transit Village, south of the 210, north of Duarte Road and bordered by Magnolia Avenue to the east and Shamrock Avenue to the west. A micro-brewery, surest sign of downtown life, has already leased space from the city there — just as a micro-brewery has already opened in downtown Azusa.

With California’s redevelopment dollars gone, transit-oriented development can attract people and business. If only the unfairly Los Angeles-oriented Metro board would extend the Gold Line to Claremont, as county voters approved, the San Gabriel Valley could really be going somewhere.

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Rep. Chu discusses Gold Line, new office in Claremont – SGV Tribune

Posted by GoldLine

The following article originally appeared in the San Gabriel Valley Tribune on August 7, 2013.

Rep. Chu discusses Gold Line, new office in Claremont

By Wes Woods II, Staff Writer Posted:   08/07/2013

CLAREMONT — Rep. Judy Chu says she’s on board for the Gold Line Foothill Extension to Claremont and L.A./Ontario International Airport and will soon open an office here.

“I will not rest until we complete the Gold Line from Azusa to Claremont,” Chu, D-Pasadena, told an applauding audience at the Alexander Hughes Community Center on Tuesday. “And then, how about to the Ontario airport? This will truly not be a regional system until you get it going all the way to the Ontario airport. In fact, it will give us a greater incentive to go and park our car and use the Ontario airport as our main source of transportation within California and elsewhere. That’s why we have to put our heads together and make sure we continue this.”

Chu said at the end of her talk that she will open an office in Claremont next month. She was at the Community Center on Tuesday afternoon for a meet-and-greet with local residents.

She also expressed support for continuing funding for the Community Development Block Grant program and not cutting the program in half, which was proposed in late June in the House.

Chu said her entire district stands to lose $2.2 million next year if the program for tutoring, health services, small business assistance and more “would be decimated” if it is cut.

“In fact, this year Claremont received nearly$140,000 in CDGB funds for housing, rehabilitation, senior case management and a job creation business incentive program,” Chu said.

Chu also spoke in support of the San Gabriel Mountains as a national recreation area because if it’s part of the recreation area, funds are given to make the area functional such as signage and to make trails where needed.

“I can’t help but be impressed by this incredibly majestic site to the north of us,” Chu said. “Those mountains provide 70 percent of L.A. County’s open space and host over three million visitors a year. They are in such critical need of support and assistance. They are in a shocking state of disrepair with a lack of trails, signage and sanitary conditions.”

Chu said that after 10 years the National Park Service released a special study that recommended a national recreation area in the area but it was revised and excluded the San Gabriel Mountains. She has since had meetings with groups of people and stakeholders to take questions.

On Sept. 7, she will hold a town hall at the Community Center.

“The input is so vital before I draft legislation,” she said. “This idea is a hallmark, or can be a hallmark, of our region. We in California do not get our fair share of the tax dollar in parks. In fact, we are a donor stage. What we give out doesn’t come back to us, especially in federal parks. This is one way to get the tax dollars back to our area to help improve the recreational opportunities for our residents. Also, what this can be is a hallmark for the San Gabriel Valley.”

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Palm Drive Freight Bridge Relocated; Road Re-opened

Posted by GoldLine

Over this past weekend, crews relocated the Palm Drive Freight bridge, one of three bridges being built as part of the project at Palm Drive in Azusa (two for light rail, one for freight). Palm re-opened to traffic this morning.

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Azusa Ave. Grade Crossing Now Complete

Posted by GoldLine

Work on the Azusa Ave. at-grade crossing was substantially completed earlier this week, and the street reopened to pedestrian and vehicle traffic.  This is the third of the 13 at-grade crossings to be completed for the project. Currently, work is nearing completion of two more crossings – Buena Vista Ave in Duarte and Pasadena Ave in Azusa.

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More than 100 Attend Gold Line’s 10 Year Celebration

Posted by GoldLine

More than 100 elected officials, project and community stakeholders, and members of the media gathered today at the Metro Gold Line Del Mar Station in Pasadena to celebrate 10 years of operations for the Gold Line light rail line between Los Angeles and Pasadena.

Thank you to all who joined us this morning, as well as the 1 million plus monthly riders who make the Gold Line a success.

View a photo gallery of the event on our facebook page www.facebook.com/iwillride.

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Metro Gold Line celebrates 10 years of progress – The Source

Posted by GoldLine

The following blog post originally appeared on The Source website on July 25, 2013.

REMINDER: The Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority will be celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the Metro Gold Line on Friday, July 26 from 9:30-10:30AM at the Gold Line Del Mar Station Plaza in Pasadena. Take the Metro Gold Line to the event by exiting at the Del Mar Station in Pasadena. The event will take place at the station plaza west of the platforms. Click here for the Gold Line’s current schedule.

Metro Gold Line celebrates 10 years of progress by Anna Chen

On Friday, July 26, 2013, the Metro Gold Line will celebrate 10 years of progress. Only 13.7 miles long at its inception, the Gold Line opened to the public on July 26, 2003, carrying riders from Los Angeles Union Station to Pasadena. The line was initially known as the Pasadena Blue Line. It wasn’t until November 2001, a little more than a year after construction began on the line, that the Metro Board changed the name to the Gold Line.

The Gold Line had more than 4 million boardings in its first year and by 2009 there were more than 7 million annual boardings. With the addition of the six-mile Gold Line Eastside Extension, the light rail line currently carries approximately 13 million boardings annually.

Over its 10-year existence, the Gold Line has carried nearly 81 million riders – about equal to the population of Germany! – and exceeded all expectations. Taking that many people out of cars is equivalent to removing 11,335 cars from the road, or eliminating 112,263 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions. Not too shabby for 10 years of work.

The construction of the Metro Gold Line created thousands of jobs, and even more were created as new Joint Development Projects cropped up along the line. Four of these projects are completed – Union Station, Fillmore, Del Mar and Sierra Madre Villa Phase I – and 6 more are in the works, putting housing and business space mere steps from the tracks.

Each Metro Rail line has a unique identity, and the Gold Line provides one of the most scenic rides on the Metro Rail system. There’s nothing quite like gliding over the Arroyo Seco Parkway in the fall, looking out the train windows and seeing brilliant red foliage all around. And as with all other Metro Rail stations, all the stations along the Gold Line contain art – whether it be the pagoda design at Chinatown Station or the fun, over-sized flowers at East L.A. Civic Center Station.

“The Metro Gold Line is an integral part of the Metro Rail system, providing a vital link for residents of East Los Angeles and the San Gabriel Valley to the rest of the region,” said Metro Board Chair and Lakewood City Council Member Diane DuBois. “We are excited to be celebrating 10 years of rail service along the first segment of the Gold Line to Pasadena and are looking forward to the completion of the extension to Azusa, providing additional travel opportunities for the region.”

Funded by Measure R, the Gold Line Foothill Extension is currently under construction and is a welcome addition to Metro’s expanding rail system. Once it’s completed – along with Expo Line Phase II to Santa Monica, the Crenshaw/LAX Line and the Purple Line Subway Extension into West L.A. – Angelenos will find themselves with more transit options than ever.

So this weekend, why not celebrate the Gold Line by going for a ride? There’s plenty to explore at every station (LAist has a fun guide detailing Pasadena to East L.A.) and you can easily connect from the Gold Line to the Red or Purple Line at Union Station. Take advantage of Metro’s Destination Discounts program while you explore and save on shopping, dining and fun just by presenting a valid TAP card.

In addition, evening service on both the Metro Gold and Expo lines has recently increased to every 10 minutes until midnight, making Metro Rail even more convenient and accessible from one end of the county to the other.

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Great, great video of steam engine running along future Gold Line alignment in Pasadena in 1992 – The Source

Posted by GoldLine

The following blog post originally appeared on The Source website on July 22, 2013.

This week marks the 10th anniversary of Gold Line service beginning between Los Angeles Union Station and Pasadena. We’ll have some other posts as the week continues, but I thought it would be fun to start this one from YouTube user PhotoBoost.

What exactly is happening here? This is a steam engine that the then-Santa Fe railroad restored and ran to the L.A. area in 1992 as part of an employee recognition tour in 1992. The Gold Line was built on a very old alignment used for decades by Santa Fe and later purchased by local authorities to use as a transit corridor. The video begins with the train running past Memorial Park in Pasadena and then continuing to the median of the 210 freeway.

The train then goes beyond the final station of the Gold Line — Sierra Madre Villa — and continues along the alignment to be used by the Gold Line Foothill Extension project that is currently under construction and will extend the Gold Line for 11.5 miles to the Azusa/Glendora border. The video ends with the train crossing the old bridge over the eastbound 210 — the Foothill Extension rebuilt it from scratch. The very last shot is from a train model at the L.A. County Fair.

For more info, watch the video at YouTube and read PhotoBoost’s description of the video. Fun stuff!

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Construction Update and Picture of the Week

Posted by GoldLine

Crews pour concrete foundations for the Gold Line Operations Campus traction power support poles.

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Construction Authority Board Meeting

Posted by GoldLine

The Construction Authority Board of Directors will be holding a meeting on Wednesday, July 10, 2013 at at 7:00 p.m. The meeting is open to the public and will be held at the Metro Gold Line Offices, 406 E. Huntington Drive, Suite 202, Monrovia, CA 91016 . Click here for more information or to view the meeting agenda and reports.

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Construction Update and Picture of the Week

Posted by GoldLine

Dalton Ave re-opened to traffic on Wednesday, July 3 after four months of closure for grade crossing improvement work.

REMINDER: Full closure of Pasadena Ave in Azusa starts Monday, July 8, 2013. Click here for details.

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