Route OK’d for LACMTA’s Eastside Transit Corridor Phase 2Written by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor
Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LACMTA) will extend its L (Gold) light rail line approximately 4.6 miles east from the current terminus at Pomona/Atlantic in East Los Angeles to Greenwood Station in Montebello. The Board on Dec. 1 approved this alignment as the initial operating segment for the nine-mile Eastside Transit Corridor Phase 2 project, which will extend the L Line in phases to Whittier.
The 4.6-mile Locally Preferred Alternative/Alternative 3 (see map below) was recommended by LACMTA staff and “best meets the communities’ needs by having fewer impacts related to construction, traffic, noise and property acquisitions,” the transit agency reported. “This alternative also has more environmental benefits and provides additional regional connectivity.”
LACMTA in June released the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for the Eastside Transit Corridor Phase 2 project. The Draft EIR evaluated three build alternatives, which have the same guideway alignment but vary in length and their potential impacts and mitigation measures. They are:
- Alternative 1: Washington, which would build the entire nine-mile line to Whittier, with seven stations (one relocated/reconfigured and six new) and offers two maintenance and storage facility (MSF) site options.
- Alternative 2: Commerce/Citadel Station Initial Operating Segment, which is approximately 3.2 miles in length with three stations and one MSF site option.
- Alternative 3 (Board-selected): Greenwood Station (city of Montebello) Initial Operating Segment, which is approximately 4.6 miles in length with four stations and two MSF site options.
The Board on Dec. 1 also approved the Lambert Station in Whittier as the terminus for the nine-mile Eastside Transit Corridor Phase 2 project and authorized the preparation of the Final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the full project through the California Environmental Quality Act. LACMTA said it “can now complete the [Final] EIR and make this project ready for construction by 2029 as programmed under the Measure M sales tax approved by L.A. County voters in 2016.”
When open—forecasted for 2035—the new line will serve the cities of Commerce, Montebello, Pico Rivera, Santa Fe Springs and Whittier, and the unincorporated communities of East Los Angeles and West Whittier-Los Nietos. It is slated to provide “a connection to the regional transit network via the Regional Connector,” a new LACMTA rail extension under construction in downtown Los Angeles that will open in spring 2023, according to the transit agency. “With the Connector, riders on the Eastside Gold Line will be able to ride the same train directly into the heart of downtown L.A.—instead of having to ride to Union Station and then transfer to the [LACMTA] B/D (Red/Purple) Line subway.”
“We worked with all the communities along this corridor to ensure that we heard their concerns and needs and recommended the best possible alignment for the Eastside Transit Corridor,” LACMTA CEO Stephanie Wiggins said. “The Locally Preferred Alternative will add rail connectivity and vastly improve transportation options in this corridor. We look forward to continuing the work to improve transit connectivity for our Eastside communities.”
“The Eastside has been waiting a long time for this connection to the L Line that will serve a densely populated area of the county, offering equitable access to jobs and educational opportunities and providing economic benefits to surrounding communities,” Los Angeles County Supervisor and LACMTA Board Member Hilda L. Solis said.