MTA approves Spanish name for Gold Line light rail Eastside extension

Despite some misgivings, the MTA Board of Directors voted Thursday to use a Spanish translation as the name of the Gold Line's Eastside rail extension, marking a first for the transportation agency.

The entire light rail line, which stretches from Pasadena to the eastern edge of East Los Angeles, will still be called the Gold Line.

But the segment that opens this summer, traversing Boyle Heights and East L.A., will also be named "la Linea de Oro, Edward R. Roybal" in Spanish-language MTA literature and brochures and on station signs. In English materials, that segment will be called "the Edward R. Roybal Metro Gold Line Eastside Extension."

It is the first time the name of an MTA facility, rail or bus line has been translated in any way from English to Spanish.

In her motion, County Supervisor Gloria Molina said that community members had asked that the rail line be referred to in Spanish, which she called a "cornerstone of Boyle Heights and East Los Angeles."

But the naming has prompted debate.

Art Herrera, 72, a lifelong Boyle Heights resident and a member of the Review Advisory Committee for the Eastside extension of the Gold Line, criticized the motion.

"My kids aren't going to say, 'Dad, let's take la Linea Roja to Hollywood,' either. They're going to say, 'Let's take the Red Line,' " Herrera said. "If we go to Mexico, they're not going to change names to English. This is ludicrous."

Molina could not be reached for comment.

L.A. City Councilman Jose Huizar voted to support the motion but said he was bothered there was no public input.

Maya Emsden, an MTA executive who oversees signage and the design of maps, said she did not know of any other light rail line in the country with two names, let alone in different languages. The motion also breaks ground for the MTA. "We don't translate proper nouns," Emsden said. "This is a first."

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hector.becerra@latimes.com

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