• ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT

      The "Gold Line" will eventually be renamed the "Blue Line" (Photo - Salaam Allah).

      The “Gold Line” will eventually be renamed the “Blue Line” (Photo – Salaam Allah).

      The passage of Measure M via Los Angeles County voters last election cycle further galvanized the enormous growth in rail and bus rapid transit that has swarmed the region since the opening of the Metro Blue Line in 1989.

      By Marc Corti

      With numerous projects either currently under construction or in various stages of planning, ColoradoBoulevard.net felt it was time to provide an update for each project that will positively impact San Gabriel Valley residents.

      Over the course of the next several weeks, check back here to see a new update from another LA Metro Rail or Bus project.

      Regional Connector

      Introduction

      To many San Gabriel Valley residents, the Gold Line has brought relief from driving in traffic on our local roads and highways. Additionally, the light rail line has provided those who live along it connectivity to much of the rest of Los Angeles County. However, anyone planning a trip on or with firsthand experience riding on LA Metro’s rail network cannot help but notice that in order to get from one end of the county (San Gabriel Valley and East LA) to the other end (Westside and Long Beach) requires some public transit aptitude, patience and 20-30 extra minutes of spare time in order to trek from one region to the other. In other words, the regions served by light rail are disconnected – there is no common station shared by either the Blue/Expo or Gold lines from which one can directly transfer. And this disconnect is exactly what Metro’s Regional Connector project aims to solve.

      Background

      Originally, the Metro Blue Line was to be continued from downtown Los Angeles north to Pasadena. However, as we know, that spur of the Blue Line was never completed. Instead, the Gold Line between Pasadena and East LA was constructed as a completely separate and independent light rail line. This left a gap in the network between the Gold Line and the Blue Line, forcing rail patrons to have to transfer to the Metro Red or Purple Lines in order to reach the Blue or Gold lines respectively. The completion of the Regional Connector project will successfully connect the regions of the San Gabriel Valley and the Eastside with the Westside and Long Beach regions. 

      A map depicting the alignment of the Regional Connector Transit Corridor (Photo - Pacific Coast Highway).

      A map depicting the alignment of the Regional Connector Transit Corridor (Photo – Pacific Coast Highway).

      Project Description

      Metro’s Regional Connector project is a 1.9-mile-long subway which will link the Gold Line from Little Tokyo to the current Expo and Blue line terminus at 7th and Flower Streets in downtown Los Angeles. The project will see the construction of 2 brand new subway stations downtown (2nd Street at Broadway and 2nd Street at Hope Street). Further, the current at grade station in Little Tokyo will be moved to a brand new underground station on the southwest corner of 1st and Alameda Streets. These new stations will add direct links to Broadway and Bunker Hill – two main areas of downtown Los Angeles not currently served by rail.

      QUICK FACTS
      Status: Active Construction
      Revenue Service: 2021
      Location: Downtown Los Angeles
      Miles of Track: 1.9
      Project Cost: $1.76 billion
      Lines Affected: Blue, Expo and Gold

      What does this project mean for Pasadena and San Gabriel Valley residents?

      Even though this project only adds 1.9 miles of rail and does not take place in the San Gabriel Valley, the importance of the Regional Connected project cannot be understated in what it will provide not only to San Gabriel Valley residents, but to all of Los Angeles County residents and visitors. When revenue service begins (sometime in 2021), the Regional Connector project will provide one-seat rides (no transfers) from Azusa/Pasadena all the way through downtown Los Angeles (including Civic Center, Bunker Hill and the Financial District) and onto downtown Long Beach. Further, the project will reduce the number of transfers it currently takes to get to Santa Monica (including USC and Culver City) from 2 to 1. Being that each transfer can add 10-15 to one’s overall commute, reducing the number of transfers will drastically cut times off one’s commute.

      Overall, the Regional Connector promises to make it easier for those living in the Westside or Long Beach to visit our events, businesses, schools or outdoor spaces in Pasadena and the greater San Gabriel Valley, while making it easier for San Gabriel Valley residents to reach the rest of LA County.

      A draft concept map showing the Blue Line extending to APU-Citrus College (Photo - metro.net).

      A draft concept map showing the Blue Line extending to APU-Citrus College (Photo – metro.net).

      From “Gold” to “Blue”

      Lastly, and for those of us who have grown accustomed and fond toward riding the Gold Line through the San Gabriel Valley and to downtown, we will soon have to retrain our minds as our “Gold Line” will be renamed “Blue Line.” This name change brings to conclusion 4 decades of work to finally realize a continuous link between Long Beach, Downtown Los Angeles and Pasadena; a vision that the original Blue Line planners had. And with rail already servicing Azusa (and eventually Claremont or Montclair – but that is another story) the new Blue Line will be one of the longest (if not the longest) continuous light rail lines in the country.

      The Regional Connector promises
       to quickly change the stature
       of Metro Rail in the minds
      of residents and visitors from that
       of a young and developing network,
       to that of a mature, respectable,
      and truly connected network.

      Marc Corti holds an MBA from Pepperdine University, an MA in Planning and Economic Development from USC, and a BA in Economics and Political Science from the University of Colorado Boulder. Marc is also a writer as well as the Events Manager at ColoradoBlvd.net.


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      Contributor

      Comments

      1. salvador says:

        if the a line will pass from long beach to montclair it will need inprovments from downtown la to pasadena

      2. Mark DeFazio says:

        They can call it whatever they want since they own it I guess, but most people that have traveled on the Blue Line previously refer to it as the Last Resort Line. It is the worst train line MTA has in service. I would take a bus from Union Station before I would get on that line going south.

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