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Metro Initiates Study to Build a Commuter Rail Station in Pico Rivera

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ARTIST’S RENDITION of one possible station configuration for Pico Rivera’s commuter rail station  to be located near Paramount Blvd. and the L.A. to Anaheim rail corridor.

May 19, 2023

By Brian Hews

An ambitious plan by Pico Rivera to pursue a community revitalization program that would position the city as a regional destination and includes a complete transit community plan using the future Eastside Gold Line Extension and the Los Angeles to Anaheim commuter rail corridor was given a stamp of approval recently by the Metro Board.

Pico Rivera’s plan also includes improvements to the Rio Hondo and LA River bike paths and a Complete Street and Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) corridor along Rosemead Boulevard, a regional north-south rapid transit corridor along Rosemead/Lakewood Boulevard that will eventually run from the Foothill Gold line on the 210 freeway to the Metro Blue Line in Long Beach.

Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is a high-quality bus-based transit system that delivers fast and efficient service that may include dedicated lanes, busways, traffic signal priority, off-board fare collection, elevated platforms and enhanced stations. BRT has advanced throughout the U.S. in the last decade as congestion has increased and community leaders have sought affordable transit alternatives.

At its February meeting, the Metro Board, via a motion made by Supervisor Janice Hahn, Glendale City Councilman Ara J. Najarian, and Whittier City Councilman Fernando Dutra, directed Metro’s CEO to work with the cities of Pico Rivera and Commerce to conduct a feasibility study and strategic plan for a new commuter rail station in Pico Rivera along the Los Angeles-to-Anaheim rail corridor.

The rail station would be located ¾ of a mile from Pico Rivera’s Eastside Goldline extension on Washington Blvd.

The L.A. to Anaheim corridor uses passenger commuter rail and both Union Pacific and Burlington Northern Santa Fe freight railroads, with over eighty freight trains and fifty passenger trains using the Burbank-to-Anaheim corridor every day, including the nation’s second-busiest Amtrak train, the Pacific Surfliner.

Also included in the study were the Southern California Regional Rail Authority (Metrolink), California High-Speed Rail Authority (HSR), Amtrak (LOSSAN), and freight rail operators.

The Metro letter read, “The downtown area of Pico Rivera is uniquely situated along the Burbank-to-Anaheim rail corridor, which would be well-served by a new commuter railroad station for Metrolink, the Amtrak Pacific Surfliner, and a future California High-Speed Rail. A new commuter station would enable Pico Rivera to offer long-term equitable community development, environmental resilience, and sustained economic growth, in support of the State’s Rail Plan (Plan) to increase passenger rail ridership.”

ABOVE: Illustration showing the area of the commuter station as compared to the L.A. to Anaheim corridor. BELOW: The future of transportation and entertainment is shown on the map with the Metro line, the commuter rail, and the city’s commuter rail station (yellow star).

The plan calls for an integrated, state-of-the-art railroad system to transform mobility, invigorate economic activity, and enhance the quality of life. The plan seeks to increase passenger rail trips more than tenfold by 2035, to 1.3 million per day across the state. To do this, the plan emphasizes investing in and delivering capital improvements, such as Metrolink’s Southern California Optimized Rail Expansion (SCORE), which prioritizes major capital improvements systemwide and includes the Burbank-to-Anaheim rail corridor, which is also significant for the future California High-Speed Rail project.

Under Metro’s plan, the study will look at existing and planned land use and transportation conditions that would best support a new commuter rail station in Pico Rivera.

The study will also formulate preliminary cost estimates for the Pico Rivera station, including planning and design, right-of-way, environmental, construction, and maintenance costs, while identifying potential funding sources.

Pico Rivera City Manager Steve Carmona told LCCN, “As the City of Pico Rivera embraces a future of diverse transportation options, plans for the LA Metro Eastside Gold Line Extension Project and a rapid bus transit line along Rosemead Boulevard are progressing. LA County Supervisor Janice Hahn initiated a motion for LA Metro to investigate the potential for a new commuter rail station in the same area as the light rail and bus transit lines. The intercity commuter rail corridor, which links San Luis Obispo, Los Angeles Union Station (LAUS), Anaheim, and Downtown San Diego, also passes through Pico Rivera. Currently, this commuter rail line is operated by Metrolink, Amtrak Pacific Surfliner, and in the future, the California High Speed Rail. Adding a new commuter rail station in Pico Rivera would create a dynamic, transit-oriented downtown community, offering high-quality transit options for living, working, and playing. This marks an exciting era for Pico Rivera and the wider region.”