The following article appeared in the San Gabriel Valley Tribune on February 1, 2016.
Duarte gets the honor of Gold Line Foothill Extension opening ceremony – San Gabriel Valley Tribune
By Steve Scauzillo
February 1, 2016
The grand opening ceremonies for the new Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension will take place at the Duarte/City of Hope Station with a street fair, live music, food trucks and a VIP luncheon at the renowned cancer hospital, transit and city officials reported.
While no official reason was given, many speculated the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) chose the Duarte station over bigger stations with more amenities such as Arcadia, Monrovia or Azusa out of deference to Metro First Vice Chair and Duarte City Councilman John Fasana.
Metro CEO Phil Washington announced last October that the 11.9-mile extension would begin taking passengers on Saturday, March 5. Passenger service is scheduled to begin that day at noon on the entire, 11.9-mile extension from east Pasadena to the Azusa/Glendora border, said Rick Jager, Metro spokesman.
“He (Fasana) has been there the whole way, pushing; he has brought a lot of visibility to the city of Duarte and to the Gold Line,” said Duarte Councilwoman Margaret Finlay. “John Fasana has been the little engine that could. He always believed this was the vision of the future.”
The Duarte/City of Hope Station is located on Duarte Road, west of Highland Avenue and just steps from the City of Hope parking lot. It is one of six stations serving the new extension that is expected to carry around 10,000 passengers a day soon after the line opens. The other five stations are: Arcadia, Monrovia, Irwindale, Azusa (downtown) and Azusa Pacific University/Citrus College on the border of Azusa and Glendora north of Citrus Avenue and Foothill Boulevard.
Karen Herrera, Duarte deputy city manager, said the city is thrilled to host the kick-off event, something the San Gabriel Valley foothill communities have been anticipating since construction began in 2010.
“We will host and be the hub of the big party on March 5,” she said. A street fair will run from noon to 4 p.m. along Duarte Road, which will be closed to traffic, Herrera said. Most likely, Metro, the operators of the train, will host rides for VIPs during the morning.
“This will probably be one of the biggest events in our city’s history and also in the San Gabriel Valley,” Finlay said.
The opening of the Gold Line Foothill Extension could spur new housing, retail and even a hotel near the Duarte station, Finlay said. Doctors, researchers and other City of Hope employees will use the station to ride in from points west, without driving on a crowded freeway, she said.
The extension was completed on Sept. 23, 2015 for about $1 billion, including a new maintenance yard in Monrovia, a little more than five years after construction began. The line was built by the Foothill Gold Line Construction Authority, an independent agency created in 1998 by the state Legislature. The 13.7-mile L.A. to Pasadena portion was built by the Authority and opened in 2003. In 2009, the Eastside extension added service from Montebello to Little Tokyo.