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Metro Planning Upgrade to 210 Freeway/Gold Line Barrier in Pasadena

Metro is upgrading the Jersey barriers that separate the Gold Line from 210 Freeway traffic. Photo by Metro

For about six miles, in Pasadena and Arcadia, the Metro Gold Line operates on a right-of-way in the middle of the 210 Freeway. Now and then, cars and trucks crash through and over Jersey barrier separations and onto the Gold Line tracks. This has already resulted in major Metro service interruptions and costly repairs; it has the potential to kill or injure transit riders.

A quick search online reveals that Gold Line service was impacted by 210 Freeway car crashes in April 2018, January 2018, December 2016, and March 2016.

Metro CEO Phil Washington has expressed concern over these crashes and stressed the need for Metro to remedy the situation.

At this morning's Construction Committee, Metro's Chief Program Management Officer Richard Clarke revealed some initial information about what Metro has already done and what is planned - in response to the 210 Freeway crashes.

210 Freeway signage and crashes - from Metro staff report
210 Freeway signage and crashes - from Metro staff report
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Metro has already worked with Caltrans to install new signage on the 210. Clarke's report includes photos of new signage stating "trucks right 2 lanes only" and "trucks speed limit 55."

Clarke announced that Metro's "I-210 Barrier Replacement Project" is underway, but that construction is already flagged as a "possible problem" due to constraints imposed by Caltrans.

The project information available is scant, and an inquiry to Metro was not answered by press time (the article will be updated when Streetsblog has more details.) The improved 210 Freeway barriers are anticipated to cost $11.08 million just to design, with designs expected to be complete by June 2019. The project includes new stronger barriers, plus an intrusion detection system.

Per Clarke, Caltrans is requesting "detailed traffic simulations" for temporarily shutting down a freeway traffic lane during construction, and this is "delaying the project." Caltrans has signed off on the type of barrier, but wants them, wherever possible, confined to Metro's right-of-way. Caltrans is also apparently requesting "mitigation measures" from Metro in order to "maintain [...] the existing freeway non-standard features."

Can Caltrans just get on board and let Metro build this critical safety project? The lives of transit riders may depend on it.

(Article updated 7/19 to reflect that $11M is just design cost)

SBLA coverage of San Gabriel Valley livability is supported by Foothill Transit, offering car-free travel throughout the San Gabriel Valley with connections to the new Gold Line Stations across the Foothills and Commuter Express lines traveling into the heart of downtown L.A. To plan your trip, visit Foothill Transit. “Foothill Transit. Going Good Places.”

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