Why Azusa, APU asked Metro for a four-month delay in opening last Gold Line station – San Gabriel Valley Tribune

The following article appeared in the San Gabriel Valley Tribune and Pasadena Star-News on January 12, 2016.

Why Azusa, APU asked Metro for a four-month delay in opening last Gold Line station – San Gabriel Valley Tribune

The city of Azusa, Rosedale Land Partners and Azusa Pacific University have asked Metro for a four-month delay in opening the Azusa Gold Line station. This October 2014 file photo shows the station under construction. FILE PHOTO

The city of Azusa, Rosedale Land Partners and Azusa Pacific University have asked Metro for a four-month delay in opening the Azusa Gold Line station. This October 2014 file photo shows the station under construction. FILE PHOTO

By Steve Scauzillo

January 12, 2016

The city of Azusa, Rosedale Land Partners and Azusa Pacific University have asked Metro to delay opening the Gold Line light-rail station in their location for four months, citing unsafe road connections.

All three are concerned the Azusa Pacific University/Citrus College station, the last of six stations in the $1 billion Gold Line foothill extension, will cause traffic jams and unsafe pedestrian crossings because the extension of Citrus Avenue to Foothill Boulevard and Promenade to the south end of the parking structure has not yet been completed.

The 11.5-mile extension of the East L.A-to-Pasadena train from Sierra Madre Villa Station to the Azusa/Glendora border was substantially completed on Sept. 23. The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) announced a short time later it will operate the new line beginning March 5.

On Monday, Metro received the first public objection to the line extension from a city along the route, after thousands of people and dignitaries celebrated the completion of the stations this summer.

“I encourage Metro to postpone the opening of the APU/Citrus College station until the Citrus Avenue extension improvements are completed. While we are certainly looking forward to the opening of the APU/Citrus College station, we want it to happen when it is safe to do so and without imposing unnecessary adverse impacts on our residents,” wrote Azusa Mayor Joseph Rocha in a letter to Mark Ridley-Thomas, Metro board chairman on Monday.

“Metro has received this request and is taking it under advisement,” Metro spokesman Dave Sotero said in an email. “However, no decisions have been made.”

The builders of Rosedale, a 1,250-home master-planned community in Azusa and Glendora, have included the station as a selling point for its homes and condos. However, on Thursday it asked Metro for a delay in opening the last station until Citrus Avenue connects to Promenade and commuters can access the south end of the station. Currently, Citrus curves into Foothill Boulevard north of APU and Rosedale but doesn’t connect to the station and parking garage.

Azusa and Rosedale estimate construction of the roadway may start in February and be completed in July, barring delays. Until all access roads are built, they don’t want to see the station serving customers.

“We are caught in a difficult position,” said Azusa City Manager Troy Butzlaff. “We want to make sure it is safe and we are not imposing impacts on residents.”

The Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority anticipated problems with the completion of Citrus Avenue to the APU/Citrus College station back in April 2015, when its board approved a $1 million expenditure to help Rosedale, Azusa and Glendora complete the project in time for the opening of light-rail service.

But the cities and Rosedale could not agree on the road’s alignment, according to sources close to the project.

Instead, as a quick fix, the Construction Authority built a portion of Citrus from the station to Promenade. Drivers and pedestrians from the station would take Promenade, an east-west street, to Palm Drive, a north-south street that connects with Foothill Boulevard, about 0.2 miles from Citrus Avenue at Citrus College.

Recognizing that the route is circuitous, the Construction Authority agreed to provide bus shuttles from the station to APU and Citrus College once the trains start running March 5, and until Citrus Avenue is completed.

Rosedale Land Partners Vice President William Holman told Metro CEO Phil Washington that this is not acceptable.

“These narrow residential streets are not designed to conveniently or safely handle the volume of traffic the station will attract,” he wrote. Butzlaff agreed, saying cars, shuttles and pedestrians traveling Rosedale’s one-lane roads would impact the residents and may be unsafe.

The three are worried that student riders may find the shortest path, which could include walking through a construction zone, Butzlaff said.

APU’s Senior Vice President and General Counsel Mark Dickerson wrote that opening the station on March 5 as planned without the Citrus Avenue extension and traffic signal would add congestion around the university’s two campuses and create a public safety concern.

The three suggest Metro open the line March 5 but only to the downtown Azusa station between Azusa Avenue and Alameda Avenue. The 550-space parking structure can accommodate all cars and any increased ridership for the succeeding four months.

“We have not heard back from Metro,” Rosedale spokesman Tim McGarry said. “The matter has not yet been resolved.”


  1. Gary Bryant says:

    Why wasn’t all this taken care of months or even years ago? We were told this has all been decided on well in advance.

    This request smells funny. I wonder what the real reason is.

  2. Gary Bryant says:

    Someone should let Metro and the city of Azusa know that there will be political hell to pay for granting this request.

  3. Maritte says:

    Rosedale has proven themselves to be more trouble than anyone could have expected. They have gone back on the 2 main promises they made to the City of Azusa in this major project. The first was the construction of a school in the community and the second is this metro station. There is already a lawsuit about the school and I think one is in order for the station. I am a resident of Rosedale and am very disappointed with this, promises driven, developer.

  4. Gerhard Peters says:

    It is important that Metro reject the request made by the City of Azusa and other concerned parties, and open the station as planned on March 5. The Gold Line extension was originally supposed to be operational in 2015, but delays in obtaining the necessary number of rail cars pushed that date into 2016. Further delays may damage the credibility of Metro and discourage ridership. While it is understandable that the period of time when the station is operational (before Citrus Avenue is complete) will result in a degree of inconvenience for APU and the community in Rosedale, such inconvenience should result in political backlash directed at the poor leadership and planning demonstrated by officials in the City of Azusa, and other actors responsible for completing Citrus Avenue. As Rosedale continues to populate, this may be an opportunity for new residents in Azusa to flex some political muscle and replace city officials who, it appears, may have dropped the ball. As a professor at Citrus College, I am disappointed that our students will be negatively impacted by not having this promised alternative to the gridlock of the 210 Freeway ready for the Spring 2016 semester. I urge Metro to reject the request to delay the opening of the Citrus/APU station.

  5. Jeff Butler says:

    This type of situation should not happen. Politicians have lost the art of compromise. All the way from the US Congress down to local cities, Politicians are not concerned with the welfare of the public , but only with their own jobs and self-interest. This problem could
    of been taken care of 6 months ago, when major construction was still going on.. Since the cities dropped the ball..they are now citing
    “public safety” as an excuse to justify their holding up the use of the new station. I’m sure the public will NOT be pleased with their actions
    and will not forget what they have done.

  6. Anjeannette Staley says:

    One of the worst things that an organization can do is go back on their word. It goes to credibility of not only the organization, but the individuals who are leading. The developers of Rosedale and the politician of Azusa should have thought of and worked this problem out LONG before this time. The public has waited FAR to long for as it is, for the opening of the Metro extension. Metro should stick with their original plan of opening the line on March 5th. They have offered a solution to help relieve the issue until the City and Rosedale can get their act together, that should be good enough.

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