Whittier officials to lobby for Gold Line expansion


Officials in Whittier hope to use grass-root pressure and an existing Metro ridership study to campaign for the Gold Line to be extended there, instead of along the Pomona (60) Freeway, it was reported today.

The Whittier Daily News quotes Whittier city council members as saying they are confidant mass rail transit will be extended from East Los Angeles through Whittier, instead of a more-northly alignment to the El Monte area.

Last week, five small cities along the 60 Freeway banded together to lobby for the light rail train to parallel the 60 into Montebello, Rosemead and South El Monte. Those municipalities plan to hire an outside planner to campaign for the northern route at a cost of about $65,000.

To the south, Whittier officials point out they do not have a direct freeway connection to Los Angeles, and the light rail service will provide a connection to L.A. that the five cities already enjoy. Whittier also points to
a Metro study that favors the southern alternative, which would lay rails down Washington Boulevard from East Los Angeles to Whittier's Presbyterian Intercommunity Hospital.

The two possible alignments are being considered for the U-shaped Gold Line, which already runs from Sierra Madre east to Pasadena, southwest to Los Angeles Union Station, then southwest through Boyle Heights to the East Los Angeles community center. That route is already approved to be extended from Sierra Madre to Pomona and eventually Ontario.

Both Gold Line prongs will likely be connected to the Expo Line to Culver City and the Blue Line to Long Beach, via a regional connector set of tracks across the Los Angeles Civic Center, now under design.

Complicating the matter is the California High Speed Rail project, which plans to build new bullet train tracks from Union Station to Pomona in the next 10 years, possibly along the routes now under consideration for light rail trains.