The following Guest Commentary appeared in the San Gabriel Valley Tribune on December 26, 2014.
Gold Line is focused on the east for 2015: Guest commentary – San Gabriel Valley Tribune
By Doug Tessitor
As we close the books on 2014, I am heartened and very proud to see the progress that has occurred over the past 12 months on the Foothill Gold Line light rail project. The Pasadena to Azusa project achieved many major milestones, including completion of all 24 bridge structures, at all 14 at-grade street crossings, and the track system itself for the 11.5-mile light rail project.
We have received approval from the California Public Utilities Commission to install noise-mitigation devices at street crossings near homes. Once in operation, they will improve the quality of life for the project’s neighbors. Significant progress was also made on the six future stations and parking facilities in Arcadia, Monrovia, Duarte, Irwindale and Azusa.
Earlier this month we experienced the excitement of watching a light rail vehicle travel along the Pasadena-to-Azusa corridor for the first time. This began the important first stage of testing for appropriate clearances, wheel/rail interface, rail switches and the overhead system that powers the line.
It was quite a sight, seeing the train get pulled along the track by a truck, and then get to watch it run on its own power as it gradually accelerated to 55 mph. This successful test was the first of many to occur over the next nine months as we complete the remaining 20 percent of work on the Pasadena-to-Azusa phase.
We’re encouraged to see the positive economic impact this project is already having throughout our region. Ground was broken this past year on the Station Square Transit Village in Monrovia, a direct investment of more than $40 million into the local economy. Other significant transit-oriented developments are also being developed or planned all along the system.
As we head into a new year, we’ll start to shift our focus east to the project’s eventual completion to Montclair.
In 2014, the Construction Authority began preparing the Glendora-to-Montclair segment for construction. Advanced engineering documents are now under development with the support of the corridor cities of Glendora, San Dimas, La Verne, Pomona, Claremont and Montclair.
Police and fire representatives from each city are now engaged in planning for the Fire Life Safety elements of the project. Previously selected station artists are working with reconstituted committees from their respective cities on the artwork plans for the future stations from Glendora to Montclair. Over the next 18 months, the Azusa/Glendora-to-Montclair phase will be preparing for a 2017 groundbreaking, as the construction Authority continues to seek the nearly $1 billion needed to build the project.
We extend our thanks to our neighbors and city partners for their patience and cooperation as we build this important regional project. In just 10 months, we will turn the Pasadena-to-Azusa project over to L.A. Metro, which will subsequently determine when passenger service will begin on the line. In the meantime we continue to build this project on time and within budget!
While 2014 was certainly an eventful year for the Foothill Gold Line, I look forward to the historic year ahead and continuing our work until we have completed the project to Montclair.
Doug Tessitor is a Glendora councilman and board chairman of the Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority.