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The Gold Line is expanding its tracks, but not without residential opposition.
To improve traffic congestion, the Metro Goldline Foothill Extension Construction Authority is considering the widening of White Avenue to four lanes; an expansion that could potentially make traffic worse as the construction of the train expansion proceeds.
La Verne residents were vocal about their concerns, in contrast with the city’s optimism for the possibility of train travel.
La Verne resident Brittany Murphy values the train coming to La Verne but is not looking forward to its construction.
“I usually have to drive to Azusa to hop on the train,” Murphy said. “Residents just need to be kept informed of their plans for expansion, especially if it’s going to cause detours in our daily commutes.”
The widening of White Avenue and overall construction of the Gold Line is looking to be a short term disturbance for what those in charge of the construction believe to be a long term solution.
Glendora resident Vanessa Powers said she often reads residential concerns about Gold Line’s expansion on Nextdoor, a neighborhood watch app.
She is not thrilled about the proposal for White Avenue, especially because of regular family visits to Pomona.
“It’s already congested as it is,” Powers said. “Economically it’s a good idea, but construction would definitely be a nuisance.”
Albert Ho, media relations for the Gold Line, said the expansion is something voters have passed twice, between both Measure M in 2016 and Measure R in 2018.
Measure M was a tax that California voters passed, which affirmed funding to improve traffic congestion.
Measure R was a half-cent sales tax for Los Angeles County to finance new transportation projects and programs, and accelerate those already in the pipeline, according to the Metro website; which Ho said is mostly funding the train’s expansion.
“The people want it,” Ho said. “We’re at a point where there’s no efficient way to get people around.”
The Gold Line currently runs from Los Angeles to Azusa. The 12.3 mile extension of the tracks is looking to pass through Glendora, San Dimas, La Verne, Pomona, Claremont and then Montclair.
Rene Guerrero, interim public works coordinator for the city of Pomona, voiced the benefits that the Gold Line could bring to their city.
“We think it could bring additional transit-oriented development,” Guerrero said. “In turn, it could bring new residents and shopping and increase the sales tax for new improvements to the city.”
All to which assistant city manager and public works director for the city of La Verne Dan Keesey agrees.
“Bringing rail service through a community fosters economic improvement. People want, not everyone, to be close to transit in order to get to wherever they need to go,” Keesey said. “The way things are shaping in Southern California is we’re looking for transit city development.”
The Gold Line authorities are figuring out what city would best act as a temporary terminus, or train station, rather than just a stop. La Verne and Pomona are both options.
After conducting a report of the construction’s environmental impact on parking and traffic, the Gold Line found there would be traffic congestion during peak hours on White Avenue, hence their proposal for widening the street.
At this point, Keesey says it is up to the Gold Line to move forward with their proposal, not the city.
Although discussion and construction is at a standstill, the Gold Line is looking to incorporate public comments into their report to move forward with the plans to expand.
A public meeting with Gold Line authorities is expected to be held in mid-July regarding next steps being taken to continue the train’s expansion.
Jaycie Thierry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.