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The Northeastern Lines: A Viable Alternative to the Foothill "Sprawl Line"

I’ve been unusually busy lately, so I have not had time for more regular posting. Hopefully I’ll be able to post some of my thoughts on last Monday’s Westside Extension meeting at LACMA. But first, here are some more thoughts on the proposed Gold Line Foothill Extension.


I’ve made no secret of my low regard for the Gold Line Foothill Extension, or the “Sprawl Line” as a friend of mine recently referred to it. The line amounts to little more than a pork barrel project to prop up the San Gabriel Valley’s collapsing housing market. It's also being used by County Supervisor Mike Antonovich as a vehicle to exact a chunk of flesh from transit funding for his district. To that end, he is using his approval of the Purple Line extension to extort funding for what promises to be a white elephant. Have we learned nothing from the planning debacle of the Green line?

So far I’ve been disappointed by most of the reactions in transit circles to this situation. Even though most people seem to agree this line is a terrible idea, they all seem resigned to the fact that it will eventually be built because of the organization of Foothill cities and the clout of Antonovich, a suburban warrior who is openly hostile towards public transportation, the central city, and urban issues in general. However, this line is worse than just a waste of transit funding. It is destructive towards the goal of containing and reversing LA's uncontrolled growth. To justify the investment in this line, LA County would need to recommit to unsustainable fringe development while continuing to starve the central city of criminally overdue infrastructural improvements. Furthermore, the amount of development required to justify the Foothill Sprawl Line would amount to the building an entirely new city from scratch. Honestly, can we really afford that?

by John von Kerczek

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