Saturday, July 26, 2008

Happy 5th Birthday, (M) Gold Line!

Today marks the fifth birthday of the Metro Gold Line, as the 13.5-mile light rail link to from Union Station to East Pasadena opened on July 26, 2003 -- a warm Summer Saturday, not unlike today.

Though the Militant wasn't yet into this "blogging" thing, he was no less Militant in his desire to try out a new Metro Rail line. In fact, he has attended every single Metro Rail line opening since the Blue Line 18 years ago (and already has the unspecified Fall 2009 Gold Line Eastside extension opening date on his calendar). Though with only 26,338 average weekday riders in June (a couple hundred less than the Orange line busway), and less than the 44,000 on the 13-year old Green Line, which doesn't really go anywhere, the Gold Line has been the most-surging of any of the line in ridership, having only registered just under 20,000 riders in June 2007.

Originally designed to be the northern extension of the Blue Line (existing for the longest time with the working title, "Pasadena Blue Line"), the Gold Line really is the most picturesque of the lines, showcasing the natural as well as man-made, rolling over and under streets, coasting in the middle of freeways, gliding through both old-fashioned neighborhoods and 21st-century transit-oriented developments. The Militant has been riding on it more lately, and Militant Operative Stingray rides it every day to work, so perhaps we've contributed to the ridership surge (along with those who have been traumatized by high gas prices as of late). Of course, with its extension to the Eastside next year and possible extension to the eastern SGV in the foreseeable future, perhaps this Gold Line will be all that glitters.

More Gold Line Opening Day pics, courtesy of the Militant's archives:

Whose Line Is It Anyway: The opening day free ride line snaked endlessly through the MTA Gateway Plaza parking garage.

Just Say 'No': Local residents and businesses in South Pasadena held up a too-little, too-late protest against the line, citing that it should have been build underground in the first place. This sign outside an auto shop near the Mission Station called for the trains to cease their Federally-mandated horns and bells and slow down to 20 miles per hour. Eventually, sound walls were built and the horns were suspended, but the trains still run at speed through this stretch.

Sign of the Times: These three-sided aluminum station pylons (that resemble the ones in Washigton D.C. a little too much) have since been replaced systemwide with the more original-looking "colored wedge" pylons.

Chinese New Year in the Summertime: A food festival took place in Chinatown to coincide with the line's opening that weekend. Similar festivals were held in South Pasadena and Pasadena.


fatpinkchicken said...

I love the Gold Line. It was the first Metro anything I ever rode.

Darrell said...

Good revisit. I remember those lines at Union Station and Sierra Madre Villa as a volunteer helping direct some of those tens of thousands of people up to the trains (with a smile!).

For my Gold Line birthday photos see Light Rail Photos.

Ken said...


Like Darrell, I was at the Gold Line opening on July 26, 2003 and was one of 37 aboard the first revenue run at 4 a.m. in the morning.

Thanks for remembering the opening for all of the internet to see and thanks to Darrell for honoring my suggestion on doing an internet posting on the Gold Line opening in 2003.

---"Ken" Ruben---