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The Gravel Line: Latest Metro Extension Connects To Empty Pits

April 1, 2010

Photo: CLUI

This story has been out for a few days now, but it’s oddly appropriate that I haven’t had time to get around to writing it until April Fools’ Day. Ah, if only this news were an irritating prank, like our friendly overlords at Google played on the city of Topeka. Alas, it looks like the next train extension to be built after the Expo Line will be to the sparsely populated northern reaches of the San Gabriel Valley – home to more gravel pits than you could ever want.

Ok, maybe I’m being a bit unfair. The Foothill line will also connect to Citrus College, a nest of vociferous supporters of the line. Much as I’m concerned about Metro opting to spend their money on what is for the most part a low density, low ridership corridor, I have to admire how well organized the Foothill Extension movement is. Heading up the foothill extension movement is, with graphics so nice you’ll want to lick your computer screen. And hey, they got 12 people from the SGV to pledge in the comment section to ride it once it’s built. So, we know ridership will be at least 12 – yay! Also, the always-intelligent commenters at Streetsblog seem generally pleased too. With so many apparently satisfied people, maybe this line deserves to potentially stop the badly-needed Purple Line Extension at Westwood, or for that matter, Koreatown.

Aw heck, I’ll give the Gold Line to Citrus a pass. But the idea of it being extended even farther to the Ontario Airport is what really grinds my gears. This will lengthen the line to the point where basic operations will become more difficult, not to mention expensive. The usefulness will be minimal, and furthermore, that area is already served by Metrolink. Why not implement shuttle service between the airport and the nearest metrolink station, thereby saving $300 million dollars? Instead of becoming a light rail to nowhere, the gold line should turn directly south from Citrus to the Covina Metrolink station, thus providing a useful connection for Pasadenans Azusans, and other SGVers heading east on the Metrolink. Otherwise, LA county will end up with an ineffective train line and a huge bill. April Fools, indeed.

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