Gold Line Is Set to Open July 26

Times Staff Writer

The much anticipated Gold Line light railway connecting Pasadena and downtown Los Angeles will open July 26, pending safety approval, officials said Wednesday.

Roger Snoble, chief executive of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, said a dedication ceremony will be held July 25, with train service opening to the public the following day, a Saturday. The MTA had long said it would open the railway on July 1, but pulled back on that promise in recent months.

Snoble said the California Public Utilities Commission and fire departments in Pasadena, South Pasadena and Los Angeles have yet to approve safety requirements for the line, so it is possible the opening could be postponed.

"We don't anticipate there will be any problems," said Richard Clark, director of the PUC's consumer safety protection division.

PUC testers have been in Los Angeles for weeks, Clark said. They have been checking on everything from the speed of trains to the sound of whistles at crossing gates.

The Gold Line is expected to be a successful railway, carrying a projected 30,000 passengers a week as soon as the line opens. That would immediately put it on par with the MTA's Green Line light railway, open since the mid-1990s between Norwalk and Redondo Beach.

Further delays for safety checks would be nothing new to the Gold Line. Planning for the railway has taken more than two decades. Over the last several years, several residents groups have battled for changes in the line's design, some hoping to see it built above or below ground, primarily for safety reasons. Neighborhood challenges -- and the rush to construct the line as fast as possible -- have led to construction delays.

The railway continues to provoke challenges. A group of South Pasadena residents has filed a petition with the PUC, demanding changes in route design, lower train speeds and less noise from bells and horns.

A hearing on the South Pasadena protest is set for July 29, four days after the Gold Line's kickoff celebration.

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Times staff writer Caitlin Liu contributed to this report.

For The Record Los Angeles Times Saturday June 21, 2003 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 37 words Type of Material: Correction Gold Line -- An article in Thursday's California section misstated the estimates of ridership on the Gold Line railway, which is scheduled to open this summer. The projections are for 30,000 riders a day, not a week.
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