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Metro's Gold Line Foothill Extension passes 50 percent completion mark

This Target was built in 2010, the same year the Gold Line Foothill Extension project began. Its entrance faces the Gold Line station in Azusa.
This Target was built in 2010, the same year the Gold Line Foothill Extension project began. Its entrance faces the Gold Line station in Azusa.
Nuran Alteir/KPCC
This Target was built in 2010, the same year the Gold Line Foothill Extension project began. Its entrance faces the Gold Line station in Azusa.
Workers line up rail on the tracks in Duarte for the Gold Line extension project on Friday, Feb. 21, 2014.
Nuran Alteir/KPCC
This Target was built in 2010, the same year the Gold Line Foothill Extension project began. Its entrance faces the Gold Line station in Azusa.
Part of the Gold Line Foothill Extension project is a 24-acre "operations campus" where up to 84 light-rail vehicles will be kept and maintained overnight.
Nuran Alteir/KPCC
This Target was built in 2010, the same year the Gold Line Foothill Extension project began. Its entrance faces the Gold Line station in Azusa.
Monrovia station artist rendering
Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority
This Target was built in 2010, the same year the Gold Line Foothill Extension project began. Its entrance faces the Gold Line station in Azusa.
The Santa Fe depot in Monrovia remains unchanged while Gold Line foothill extension construction happens nearby. The city has plans to renovate the area into a public space called Station Square.
Nuran Alteir/KPCC
This Target was built in 2010, the same year the Gold Line Foothill Extension project began. Its entrance faces the Gold Line station in Azusa.
Lisa Levy Buch, director of public affairs with the Gold Line Foothill Extension project, points to where a Gold Line station will be in Azusa.
Nuran Alteir/KPCC
This Target was built in 2010, the same year the Gold Line Foothill Extension project began. Its entrance faces the Gold Line station in Azusa.
Azusa-Alameda station artist rendering
Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority


Metro’s Gold Line Foothill Extension project passed its 50 percent completion mark this week. It connects Los Angeles to the San Gabriel Valley, where the environment is expected to change as a result.

“When the project is done and the economy rebounds, you’re going to see a huge amount of growth around each of the stations in the future,” said Habib F. Balian, CEO of the Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority, the agency behind the project.

As an example of the project's potential, Balian said to look at Pasadena, where the Gold Line currently stops and where there has been substantial redevelopment since the line opened in 2003.

"Nearly 2,300 new residential units; 750,000 square feet of newly constructed retail and commercial space. ... Even using a conservative ratio, the transit-oriented development projects in Pasadena along the Gold Line have already generated more than $1 billion for the region," Pasadena Mayor Bill Bogaard said at Metro Gold Line's 10th anniversary in July 2013, according to a press release.

Since the project broke ground, residential areas like Rosedale in Azusa and commercial businesses have developed near the route extension.

“When you come out here [to the San Gabriel Valley], you’re going to see nothing but opportunity,” Balian said.

The $1 billion project connects Metro’s Gold Line from Pasadena 11.5 miles out to Azusa. It’s funded by Measure R, which was approved by Los Angeles County voters in 2008 and projected to bring in $40 billion over 30 years.

It’s a big project, not only in cost, but size — bringing in six new light rail stations and accompanying parking amenities to Arcadia, Monrovia, Duarte, Irwindale and Azusa. The completed project will include two-dozen new and rebuilt bridges, 14 street crossings and a 24-acre “operations campus” to keep up to 84 light-rail vehicles overnight.

Cities like Monrovia are looking at the extension as an opportunity and planning redevelopment projects along the route.

“We saw the opportunity; we saw the potential that [the Gold Line] created when it came up from L.A.,” says Alexis Bakofsky, public information officer with Monrovia.

With $25 million from grants, Measure R and state funding, the city plans to develop the area around the historic Santa Fe depot into a public space called Station Square where the Gold Line will stop in Monrovia, Bakofsky said. 

“No other city along the extension has this opportunity, so we intend to take full advantage of it,” Bakofsky said. “Once it’s done, it will end up being one of the largest public works projects in the city’s history.”

The improvements in Monrovia are still in the design phase, and Bakofsky said it would be up to private investors and developers to realize the full potential of space along the light rail.

Station Square Monrovia by sourcemetro

The Gold Line extension to Azusa, which began construction in June 2010, is expected to be completed in Sept. 2015 when it will be turned over to Metro — but it doesn't end there. Foothill Extension Authority officials say there are plans to extend the route to Montclair and the Ontario International Airport.

Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension