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LACMTA’s Gold Line to open Nov. 15

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The Gold Line, a six-mile light-rail extension, which cost $898 million, will open Nov. 15 with free rides and entertainment. Here are some details from the Los Angeles Times.

What is the Gold Line
Eastside extension?

It’s the latest light-rail
line in Los Angeles County, running six miles from downtown L.A. through Boyle
Heights and into East Los Angeles. When it opens to the public on Sunday, the
Gold Line will run from Pasadena to East L.A. The Eastside extension cost $898
million to build. Construction began in 2004.

How many stations are
there?

There are eight stations
along the extension’s route: Atlantic, East L.A. Civic Center, Maravilla,
Indiana, Soto, Mariachi Plaza, Pico/Aliso and Little Tokyo/Arts District. The
extension terminates at Union Station, where riders can connect to the Red Line
subway or the Purple Line or stay on the Gold Line to Pasadena.

Why is the Gold Line not a
subway?

From the beginning,
residents and politicians on the Eastside pushed for the Gold Line extension to
be built completely underground. In the end, transportation planners decided to
make a roughly 1.7-mile portion of the Gold Line a subway — the part that runs
underneath Boyle Heights. The majority of the route runs above ground.

What is planned for the
grand opening?

Everyone can ride the Gold
Line from one end to the other at no cost on Sunday. At the East L.A. Civic
Center station, there will be live music, a farmers market and activities for
children. There will also be live mariachi and contemporary music — including
the group Quinto Sol — at the Mariachi Plaza station. The Little Tokyo/Arts
District station will host karaoke and food from nearby restaurants. And Santa
Claus will visit Union Station more than a month early.

What are the ridership
projections?

By the end of the first
year it is open, officials expect 13,000 people to ride the extension each day.

What are the safety
concerns about the Gold Line?

Some people, including Los
Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina, have expressed concern about
pedestrians near the light-rail line, which runs through heavily populated
areas. Molina has said the line would have been much safer underground.

But MTA officials said the
line is safe. They noted that the agency set aside an additional $4.5 million
for safety enhancements, including about two miles of pedestrian fencing. Two
dozen "safety ambassadors" will help residents navigate tricky spots
on the line. Los Angeles police, the California Highway Patrol and Los Angeles
County Sheriff’s Department officials will be on the lookout for people
jaywalking over the tracks.

Didn’t workers digging the
subway tunnel find artifacts?

Yes. In 2005, workers found
markers of Chinese workers buried near the Evergreen Cemetery more than a
century ago. Chinese headstones and burial bricks were found between two and six
feet underground. They were scattered among the remains of the 128 bodies.
Chinese American historians said the find shed light on the earliest Chinese
immigrants who came to California to help build the railroads and perform other
jobs.

What’s next for the Gold
Line?

Officials are hoping for
two new extensions in the coming years. One would go from Pasadena east as far
as Ontario International Airport. The other would go east from East L.A. to
either Whittier or South El Monte.

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