Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Gold Line

Last evening I attended a community meeting at the Palomares Community Center hosted by Councilmember Debra Martin to discuss the Gold Line train. It seems that the EIR (Environmental Impact Report) was certified in the past week and the city has some major issues with the mitigation plans for the line as it runs through Pomona.

The main issues appear to be:

  • A flyover at Towne Avenue
  • The Station and how it impacts Garey
  • Lack of response to city concerns by the Gold Line Authority
The Gold Line, which will be completed to Azusa by 2014/15 runs alongside the BNSF tracks. Once extended, it would meet up with the MetroLink tracks at the east end of Pomona and all 3 lines would run along the same right-of-way out to Montclair. This causes a problem because the Gold Line runs to the north side of the BNSF tracks but in Pomona there is a warehouse spur which runs to the north so the Gold Line will have to "cross-over" the tracks to between the BNSF and MetroLink tracks in Pomona. The plan is for the crossover to take place at Lone Hill in Glendora and then the crossback to occur at Towne. This would mean that a large bridge over Towne would be constructed which, in its initial drawings is ugly and would negatively impact the neighborhoods at that area. PLUS: the BNSF and Metrolink trains would still have at grade crossings at Towne.

The issue at Garey is that the at grade crossing there is already causing a lot of gate closures and major delays for traffic on Garey. Adding another train every 10 minutes would increase the number of gate closings on this busy intersection.

The city would like to see all the tracks moved below grade and would like to see if something can't be done with the spur which services only 1 single warehouse.

The city has been pointing out these problems throughout the process and is upset that the Authority has pushed through the EIR with a Statement of Overriding Circumstances without addressing these negative impacts. The city is now considering whether or not they should pursue litigation under CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act).

An interesting topic. Too bad there were fewer than a dozen citizens in attendance, while there were at least half a dozen city staff there, including the Mayor, Councilperson Martin, and Councilperson Escobar. I'm sure that had there been more interest that we would have seen some interesting alternatives put forward. However, it's almost as if no one in the city cares.


theabc said...

the reason why no one cares is that goldline in pomona goes nowhere useful nor was there any plan to build useful housing/retail/commercial around any Pomona goldline station to feed riders into the rail system. Back in the initial hearings some years ago, I voiced that into the public record at MTA headquarters.

Living a block from the rail crossing on Towne, the metrolink crossings don't really disturb me, at peak times, it's only 1 crossing every 20 minutes. Goldline frequencies run every 6 mins in each direction during their peak, which would be a major major increase, but the length of the train would only be 2 measly train cars. Not sure how bothersome this would be, but definitely a bridge would bug me.

theabc said...

i tend not to care so much anymore since I am convinced that MTA planners and officials have no concept of what effective rail transport looks like. After having riden 20+ rail systems over the US, Asia, and Europe, it's quite clear the MTA are idiots that never ride themselves and have never riden other systems to learn about what works and what doesn't. The MTA can't even figure out effective station signage, how are they are ever going to get to the phase where they realize urban development and transportation go hand in hand?

calwatch said...

Ultimately this is the second time the EIR has been circulated for the Gold Line Motnclair extension. While I am sympathetic to the concerns the operational needs require some sort of flyover structure in order for BNSF to continue to serve its existing businesses. Shared use is not going to work because of the overhead wires and the need for time separation. And the water table is going to be an issue to moving tracks below ground, so more likely you will see the roadway move below ground, which would cost about $80 million more per roadway (Garey and Towne). I don't disagree that Garey and Towne could use grade separation, but jacking up the cost of the Gold Line $160 million is going to be an issue.