On Saturday August 21, 2010 I was part of a tour of the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) light rail system. The participants of this tour were interested residents of the city of Pico Rivera, which is located on the eastern side of Los Angeles County.
Currently, MTA is studying a proposal to extend rail routes and one of the options would be to pass through Pico Rivera and end in Whittier. To alleviate concerns and educate community members about the impact of light rail upon the community this tour was offered to show residents currently existing portions of the light rail system. Tour participants were given passes which allowed them to ride for the entire day after the tour was over.
We met in the parking garage at the terminus of the East L,A. portion of the train known as the Gold Line. This route currently has one end in the largely Hispanic area of East Los Angeles and follows a C shaped route for about 20 miles, ending in Pasadena. This route stops at about twenty stations, including the downtown L.A. Union Station where other trains can be taken to other parts of the city and other surrounding cities. The Gold Line includes stops in Little Tokyo, Chinatown, and Old Town Pasadena.
|Gold Line Terninus Station in East L.A.|
|Farmer's Market at East L.A. Civic Center|
|Another view of the Saturday Farmer's Market|
|Performance stage at Civic Center Park|
|East L.A. Civic Center Station Platform|
We returned to the station platform and boarded the next train, which came in a matter of minutes. Our tour now continued for several miles as we passed through East L.A and the edge of downtown Los Angeles. The ride was very quiet and relaxing. I watched the passing neighborhoods and business districts of areas where I had never or rarely been. As we traveled, Kimberly and Diego explained many interesting facts about the train system, called out points of interest, and answered our questions. This was a great way to ride through town and not worry about being behind the wheel in traffic. I plan to return and get off at some of these stations in the future and do some exploring--there was a lot to keep a person busy for many trips.
|South Pasadena residents talk about the experience of living near the light rail station|
|Sculpture at South Pasadena station|