Sunday, March 2, 2008

We Want the Line Away from Dense Places

Even though the extension of the Gold Line from Pasadena to the east has not even begun construction, there is already talk of expansion to Ontario Airport. There is hope that this would take expansion pressure off of the region's main airport LAX. As of now the extension to Ontario has three alternative routes and local NIMBY's are already starting to show their colors including elected officials.

"The Gold Line will be another transportation mode available to residents, and it could help revitalize the downtown area, so it's a good thing for Upland, in a general sense," said Anthony La, the city's public works director.

"Upland's preferred alignment is the one with the least impacts to Upland," he said. "We want to know the interests of the community are protected."

Unfortunately for any city, the route with the least impacts is also usually the route that goes where no one wants to go or come from. Usually we would like these rail lines to go through the denser areas to help people get from here to there. But some believe otherwise:
Mahdi Aluzri, deputy city manager of Rancho Cucamonga, said his residents will not be fond of that option as it puts the line in the San Bernardino Associated Governments-owned right of way currently occupied by the city's newly completed popular bike path.

"It passes through a bunch of densely populated residential areas," Aluzri said of the route. "It would have a negative impact, and I expect that to come up in the community meeting."
Perhaps someone local can shed a little more light on this but it's getting more and more apparent that the biggest obstacle to building good transit is people not wanting the line to go where the people are located. In this instance it might not be a concern in that these last sections are just route options with perhaps one station, but if that station is located away from people then it doesn't really help ridership or development opportunities.


Martin said...

I think it's alright to steer away from low or moderate density residential areas. It's often easier to do true TOD on areas where there isn't a lot of political clout.

What's critical is to have it reach the job centers.

And don't worry, those NIMBYs will regret it one day.

Kaleci said...

Yes, as rail is diverted to lessen the impact, those towns will slowly wither away as the new urban centers form around the stations.