WHITTIER — Area officials say they don’t mind a different southern route for the proposed Gold Line extension as long as the route goes to Washington Boulevard before heading east.
The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority is expected to decide this month on an eastward extension of the Gold Line commuter light rail route either along the Pomona (60) Freeway north of Montebello or south to the Washington Boulevard corridor through Commerce, Montebello, Pico Rivera, Santa Fe Springs and Whittier, Assistant Whittier City Manager Nancy Mendez said.
In a written report to her City Council March 22, Mendez said a committee made up of representatives of the four cities have no problem with bringing the route south from its current terminus at Pomona and Atlantic boulevards in East Los Angeles via Arizona Avenue south to Telegraph Road in Commerce and then east onto Washington Boulevard.
An alternative southern route would be along the Atlantic Corridor east of Arizona or the Garfield Avenue corridor through Montebello, to which that city objects.
The Washington Boulevard Light Rail Subcommittee, which includes Whittier Mayor Fernando Dutra and Councilman Owen Newcomer, have argued to the MTA for the Washington Boulevard alignment, saying
It would have the highest number of projected new riders, provide transit to a large number of low-income residents and senior citizens and connects the four communities by linking regional employment, education, shopping, health care and homes, Mendez said.
She noted that the Telegraph-Washington corridor would serve residents of East Los Angeles traveling the Citadel shopping center and Commerce Casino on Telegraph Road.
Extending the Gold Line along the Washington Boulevard corridor would serve Pico Rivera, Santa Fe Springs and Whittier, including the PIH hospital on Washington in Whittier.
Before making a decision in April, the MTA staff and board conducted an open house and public meetings on the route variations in Whittier March 28, in East Los Angeles March 29, in Montebello March 30 and South El Monte March 31.
The Whittier council received and filed the report with no major changes proposed.