- The Source
In the spring of 2010, Metro began preparing the Eastside Transit Corridor Phase 2 Project Draft Environmental Impact Study/Environmental Impact Report (EIS/EIR). The study evaluates two build alternatives, both Light Rail Transit (LRT) projects, along with the required No Build and Transportation System Management (TSM) alternatives (which may include enhancements to existing services and/or additional bus services). One proposed route would travel along State Route 60 to Peck Road in the City of South El Monte; the other proposed route would travel along Washington Bl to Lambert Road in the City of Whittier.
The goal of the proposed study is to improve mobility in the region by connecting to communities farther east of Los Angeles to Metro's regional transit system. Communities in the project area include Commerce, Montebello, Monterey Park, Pico Rivera, Rosemead, Santa Fe Springs, South El Monte, Whittier and unincorporated portions of Los Angeles County. The (Draft EIS/EIR) for the Eastside Transit Corridor Phase 2 was released on August 22, 2014 and available for a public comment period of 60 days, which ended on October 21
At the conclusion of the public comment period, staff reviewed all public comments, including submissions by cities, agencies, coalitions and others, and submitted a staff recommendation to Metro’s Planning & Programming Committee and the Board of Directors in November, 2014. Staff recommended moving forward with a technical study to further refine the two alternatives – neither of the two alternatives was removed from consideration. The staff recommendation was approved unanimously by the committee and full Metro Board.
The Metro staff report and recommendation can be viewed here. Further analysis is required for both of the build alternatives. The approved recommendation eliminated the SR 60 Baseline Alternative, which traveled exclusively on the south side of SR 60. The recommendation is for the SR 60 Alternative with the North Side Design Variation (NSDV), which would transition the south running alignment to the north side of the SR 60 just west of Greenwood Ave. and back to the south side just west of Paramount Bl. This alternative was selected to minimize potential impacts to the OII Superfund site. For the Washington Bl. Alternative, refinements will be made to identify an alternate north-south connection to Washington Bl, removing the aerial option on Garfield Ave. Additional coordination and refinements will be carried out to address comments received from Cooperating and Public Agencies for each of the proposed corridors.
A motion was introduced by Board Members Diane DuBois and Don Knabe directing staff to study potential connections with the West Santa Ana Branch Corridor project, which seeks to build a transit project between downtown L.A. and Santa Ana via an old streetcar right-of-way. That motion was also approved by the Board.
The technical study will eventually be folded in the project’s final environmental document. After the technical study is completed — which is anticipated to take 1½ to two years – Metro staff will return to the Metro Board with an answer on the operational question of building both alternatives and the results of the further technical studies. The Board at that time will likely decide whether to study one or both alternatives in the Final Environmental Impact Report.
Modifications to the Eastside Transit Corridor Phase 2 project contract were approved at the Metro Board of Directors (BOD) at their July, 2015 meeting. The contract modifications allow for additional technical studies needed to address BOD direction. This technical study effort will address comments received from Cooperating and Public Agencies during the Public Comment period for the Draft Environmental Impact Report/Statement (DEIR/S), identify a potential north-south connection to Washington Boulevard and analyze environmental impacts and performance of operating both the SR 60 and Washington Blvd alternatives, including conducting cost containment studies. Click here to access a link to the Board report, click here to access links to the 4 attachments to the report.
The Eastside Transit Corridor Phase 2 is a study evaluating how to best connect with and extend the Metro Gold Line Eastside Extension that now runs from Pasadena through Downtown Los Angeles to Atlantic Boulevard in East Los Angeles. Two alignments are currently under consideration – an extension along State Route (SR) 60 to Peck Rd in the City of South El Monte or an extension along Washington Bl to Lambert Rd in the City of Whittier. Metro released the Draft Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact Report (EIS/EIR) for a 60 day public review in August 2014. The project’s goals include improving mobility in the study area and planning for future growth in a sustainable manner. The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) is leading this study effort in conjunction with the Federal Transit Administration.
Metro currently operates Light Rail Transit (LRT) on the Metro Blue, Green, Gold and Expo Lines. LRT is electric-powered with trains that are designed to be integrated into the communities they serve. With two to three cars per train, each train can carry up to 184 people. Stations for LRT systems are typically about one mile apart, which provides sufficient space between stations to improve travel times while also allowing service to key destinations. LRT can operate on an elevated structure, below ground or run at street level. LRT is not the same technology used by Metrolink or Amtrak systems, which operate larger and faster diesel powered trains designed for longer commuting trips with more distance between stations.
Federal and state laws require an evaluation of project impacts and identification of mitigation measures. To be eligible to receive both federal and state funds, projects need to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Therefore, the Eastside Transit Corridor Phase 2 project will complete a combined Draft Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact Report (Draft EIS/EIR). Metro released the Draft EIS/EIR for public review in August, 2014, to review the DRAFT, please click here. Next steps include supplemental technical study for recommended SR-60 NSDV LRT and Washington Bl LRT alternatives to address some of the comments received during the Draft EIS/EIR public review period. The technical analysis will be folded into the development of the Final Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact Report.
The majority of the Eastside Phase 2 project funding will come from Measure R, the half-cent sales tax passed by Los Angeles County voters in November 2008. However, Measure R funds alone are not sufficient for either of the build alternatives being studied; therefore, Metro is also seeking other funding sources, such as federal, state, and local dollars, to fully fund the project.
Most Metro rail projects in operation took over a decade to complete the project development process. By environmentally clearing the project now, Metro will be in a position to take advantage of any funding, federal or otherwise, that might become available. For example, Metro is aggressively seeking to leverage Measure R funds with the America Fast Forward Initiative. This initiative would accelerate funding for the second and third decade transit projects in Measure R, including this one, allowing them to be built sooner.
Throughout the course of the environmental study, alternatives have been studied and refined to minimize impacts and maximize their potential benefits. At the beginning of the Alternatives Analysis (AA), 47 build alternatives were identified and screened using federally approved evaluation criteria. In 2009, the Metro Board approved the Alternatives Analysis Study (AA) and the Addendum to the AA, authorizing two light rail alternatives to move forward into the environmental phase, including SR-60 LRT and Washington Bl LRT, in addition to the required No Build and Transportation Systems Management Alternatives (which may include enhancements to existing services and/or additional bus services). Following the release of the Draft EIS/ER in August, 2014, agency staff recommended moving forward with a technical study to further refine the two light rail alternatives, SR-60 NSDV LRT and Washington Bl LRT.
SR-60 NSDV LRT - This proposed alignment generally follows the southern edge of the SR-60 Freeway within the freeway right-of-way, on an elevated track crossing over freeway ramps. The alignment transitions to the north side of the SR-60 freeway west of the Greenwood Av bridge and returns south just west of Paramount and terminates at Peck Rd in the City of South El Monte.
Washington Bl LRT - This proposed alignment follows the SR-60 Freeway and was proposed to travel above (aerial) Garfield Av, and then travels south to Washington Bl., continuing east along Washington Bl, terminating at Lambert Rd in the City of Whittier. This alternative includes both at-grade (street level) and elevated sections of track on Washington Bl. Refinements will be made to identify an alternate north-south connection to Washington Bl, removing the aerial option on Garfield Ave.
A number of factors are considered when selecting an LPA. Items such as cost and ridership are important, but so is community acceptance of the project, the ability of the project to support local land use objectives and stimulate economic development, its impact on the environment, and other considerations.
Proposed station locations for both SR-60 NSDV and Washington Bl alternatives have been identified, including:
SR-60 NSDV LRT
- Garfield Av/Via Campo
- SR-60/The Shops at Montebello
- SR-60/Santa Anita Av
- SR-60/Peck Rd
Washington Bl LRT
- Garfield Av/Via Campo (Garfield Station may be relocated since aerial alignment on Garfield was eliminated from consideration)
- Garfield Av/Whittier Bl - (Garfield Station may be relocated since aerial alignment on Garfield was eliminated from consideration)
- Washington Bl/Greenwood Av
- Washington Bl/Rosemead Bl
- Washington Bl/Norwalk Av
- Washington Bl/Lambert Rd
During the Draft EIS/EIR development, Metro hosted Urban Design and Station Planning Workshops to gather community input regarding station areas. If the project is authorized to move forward to the Final EIS/EIR, there will be a renewed focus on station planning. Station area refinements may occur, if needed, based on city and community input as well as engineering and environmental considerations.
Metro considers a wide variety of variables to determine how a rail project is configured. These include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Available right of way
- Land use impacts
- Environmental impacts
- Traffic impacts
- Travel time
- Ridership projections
- Community and city input
What are the noise and vibration impacts of LRT?
The size and speed of the trains is designed with community integration in mind, including the use of special features like vibration dampening fasteners to secure the rail tracks, which helps minimize noise and vibration around communities.
All light rail transit in Los Angeles County is designed to meet federal and state safety standards. These include stringent seismic codes, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards, pedestrian design guidelines, parking codes and a host of other safety considerations. Station area platforms will be well lit and have security cameras installed as well as Metro security personnel assigned to ride the system and patrol the station areas for additional safety. All parking and related station area amenities will also be well signed and lit for easy access. In general, LRT is used throughout the world and has proven to be a safe and reliable form of transportation for millions of riders and hundreds of communities.
Yes, some property will be necessary to build the Eastside Phase 2 project. All necessary property will be identified in the Draft EIS/EIR and following Technical Study. When purchasing property, Metro will follow federal and state guidelines established to protect property owners and allow a fair and equitable process for everyone.
The project will be constructed when the project studies and engineering are completed and funding is available. This project is scheduled to receive the majority of local Measure R money starting in 2028 and per the Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) should be in operation by 2035. Metro is exploring the potential of accelerating the project implementation schedule if funding can be made available earlier.
Metro’s goal is always to balance the needs of the region with the needs of the local jurisdictions and communities. This can sometimes be challenging, but through careful planning and extensive public participation, in most cases, community support can be achieved. Complete consensus is nearly impossible to achieve on any project, therefore, the project team is continually working toward consensus by engaging the community in meaningful conversation and incorporating public input through every stage of the project.
All comments received throughout the study are documented and presented to Metro staff and technical consultants for consideration. In addition, public comments received during the formal scoping period are presented in the Scoping Outreach Report, Appendix H of the Draft EIS/EIR document.
All public comments received during the Draft EIS/EIR formal public comment period were reviewed, categorized into major themes, shared with Metro’s Board of Directors, and reflected in staff’s recommendation to move forward with a technical study to further refine the two light rail alternatives, SR-60 NSDV LRT and Washington Bl LRT.
The Technical Study will be folded into the Final Environmental Impact Report where comments received during the public review of the Draft EIS/EIR are responded to.
The best way to ensure you are notified of public meetings and are involved in the study process is to become part of the project database. If you have signed-in at a previous Eastside Transit Corridor Phase 2 meeting, then you are automatically included, however, if you would like to be added, then you can simply call the project helpline at 213.922.3012.Over the course of the study, meeting notifications and other project materials are being sent to the project database to keep interested persons informed of the study developments. In addition, you can also learn more about the project’s build alternatives, stations and corridor cities by visiting the project’s interactive map. Follow the project at facebook.com/metroeastsidehphase2 or @Eastsidephase2.
Each of the proposed alternatives was screened across federally approved criteria to determine its feasibility. Therefore, each of the remaining LRT alternatives is considered by Metro to be feasible. In the environmental phase, evaluation of impacts will be done to further consider the viability of each alternative, taking into consideration the cost, environmental impacts, community input, and other factors.
The SR-60 North Side Design Variation and Washington Bl proposed alternatives use the same light rail technology (LRT) as the Metro Blue, Green, Expo and Gold Lines, allowing a seamless extension to cities east of the existing terminus at Atlantic. A detailed description of the two alternatives under consideration is provided below.
SR-60 NSDV LRT
This proposed alignment generally follows the southern edge of the SR-60 Freeway within the freeway right-of-way, on an elevated track crossing over freeway ramps. The alignment transitions to the north side of the SR-60 freeway west of the Greenwood Av bridge and returns south just west of Paramount and terminates at Peck Rd in the City of South El Monte. Proposed station locations for the SR-60 alignment are
- Garfield Av Station
- The Shops at Montebello station
- Santa Anita Av Station
- Peck Rd Station
Washington Bl LRT
This proposed alignment follows the SR-60 Freeway making its way to Washington Blvd where it would travel east along Washington Bl and terminate at Lambert Rd in the City of Whittier. This alignment considered using an elevated track above Garfield, however refinements will be made to identify an alternate north-south connection to Washington Bl, removing the aerial option on Garfield Ave. Proposed station locations and for the Washington Bl alignment are:
- Garfield Av Station
- Whittier Bl Station
- Greenwood Av Station
- Rosemead Bl Station
- Norwalk Av Station
- Lambert Rd Station
Washington Bl LRT, Design Variations
Two design variations are being considered for the Washington Bl LRT Alternative. The first aerial crossing would include a grade separation at Rosemead Bl, the second aerial crossing at San Gabriel River/I-605 would include a grade separation at Pioneer Bl.
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