Sometimes you hear about these mass-transit projects and think, “All those years to build a few miles of subway? We’ll all be dead by then!” And then all of a sudden it’s done and you can’t imagine what life was like before.
That’s my hope for the Gold Line Extension, which after years of construction and months of opening-day delays is finally opening for real on November 15, with celebrations at various stops to mark the occasion.
This is a big deal for Pasadenans. Our very own Gold Line, which connects east Pasadena, Old Town, South Pas and Highland Park to Chinatown, Union Station and several other connecting lines at Union Station, is now six miles longer. This means residents of Pasadena can now commute on one quick, quiet, light-rail train to downtown’s Arts District, Little Tokyo and East L.A., and residents of those areas can come to us. Food lovers and bar hoppers can have a car-free night of sake and sushi in Little Tokyo or margaritas and seafood enchiladas in Boyle Heights. (And locals there can easily hit the South Pas bistros and Old Town night spots and shops.) The terrific Japanese-American National Museum (with one of the best gift shops in town) is just off a stop, as are lots of galleries and, over in Boyle Heights, the legendary Mariachi Pavilion and historic Evergreen Cemetery.
To kick off the opening of the extension, everyone rides for free on Sunday. Celebrations along the new route include Santa (! — it’s not even Thanksgiving!) at Union Station, karaoke at the Little Tokyo/Arts District station, a Boyle Heights block party at the Mariachi Plaza station (mariachi and Latin rock performances, art, food, kids’ activities), and a farmers’ market, live music and other fun at the East L.A. Civic Center station.
Find out more about the day, and the route, at metro.net.