The APU/Citrus College Gold Line Station will open March 5 despite local concerns about safety and requests to postpone. Though the traffic signal for the Azusa Pacific University/Citrus College Station will not be completed until summer, Metro intends to launch this station, along with five other stations, on schedule as part of the long-anticipated Gold Line Foothill Extension.
Without the signal, Azusa Mayor Joseph Rocha said there may be issues regarding both security and traffic.
Not having a stop light regulating cars and pedestrians near the station could cause vehicle congestion and unsafe pedestrian crossings on Foothill Boulevard, Citrus Avenue, Palm Drive and at entrances to APU’s East and West campuses.
“Our staff is meeting with supervisors to ensure the safety of our riders, our students and our Azusa family members. That is our number one priority,” Rocha said.
In January, Rocha, APU senior vice president and general counsel Mark Dickerson and Rosedale representatives wrote to the Metro Board of Directors chair Mark Ridley-Thomas stating strong concerns about the APU/Citrus Station opening before the road construction’s completion in August. All three letters requested the station opening be postponed due to increased public safety concerns and unwanted traffic inside the Rosedale planned community.
Ridley-Thomas responded by saying the transit agency takes its commitment to safety seriously, but its “duty as responsible stewards of the public trust” means the station will open on the expected date.
“Our staff is earnestly working to come up with an acceptable solution that works for Metro and works for us,” Rocha said.
Rocha said he encourages Citrus and APU students to use the Downtown Azusa Station until the traffic light near the APU/Citrus Station is completed. The Downtown Azusa Station adjacent to the Target has a parking garage with room for 550 cars, is well-lit and is more open and accessible. Rocha said Metro and Azusa are working to get a shuttle service to take students to and from the station during all school hours.
APU director of community relations Ginny Dadaian said increased use of the Downtown Azusa station on Foothill will bring business to the area.
“It will make Azusa a destination,” Dadaian said.
Dadaian said while the Gold Line will make it easier for students to go to Los Angeles and Pasadena and access airports, museums, shopping and work, she also hopes it will draw more people to downtown Azusa and APU. She said she looks forward to seeing APU host more visitors who want to come to campus for tours, sporting events, or plays via the Gold Line.
“This is only going to bring up the value of our property. It’s going to bring sales tax when people spend their money here,” Dadaian said.
Dadaian said the Gold Line is funded by tax dollars from the 2008 half-cent sales tax, Measure R. A ride will cost $1.75 to take riders to any of its locations along the 11.5-mile Gold Line Foothill Extension and the existing Pasadena-to-East L.A. segment.
“[Azusa residents] want to get people out of their cars and onto public transportation,” she said.
Because many students have cars on campus, the Gold Line may alleviate some of the parking and traffic issues associated with commuting to Azusa and driving between campuses.
“If [traffic and parking] are the two biggest complaints, let’s see what the cities and the structures around us are doing to be able to provide for that,” Graduate Assistant for Commuter Life Services Danielle La Rose said.
Dadaian said Metro will provide safety ambassadors at the stations to ensure community members board and ride the Gold Line as safely as possible.
Dadaian encourages students to be conscious of locals when parking and walking around the station. She said to be especially courteous to residents in Rosedale, Citrus Cove, Sierra Palms and Foothill Vista and reminds APU students and staff to “be good neighbors.”
For more information about the Gold Line, visit http://www.foothillgoldline.org/cities-stations/azusa/azusa-alameda/ or https://www.metro.net.