After months of uncertainty about the Claremont Metrolink station’s future, there’s hope on the horizon for 5C students and Claremont residents who want to keep their train stop. At the Metro planning and programming committee’s Jan. 17 meeting, Metro staff will recommend that the city keep its Metrolink stop, Metro communications manager David Sotero said.
“Based on the findings (of their review) and the enormous community support” for keeping the Claremont Metrolink stop, Metro staff will advise against the stop’s closure, Sotero said in an interview with TSL.
Metro staff began a review of the station after Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis called for a study to “evaluate the benefits and/or impacts related to eliminating the Claremont station” at a Sept. 20 meeting.
“We did our due diligence to analyze the potential of removing the station, but the data that came back shows it makes sense to keep the Metrolink station (in Claremont),” Sotero said.
The possible elimination of the stop generated significant backlash from students and Claremont residents — more than 200 attended a Dec. 12 town hall meeting in protest.
The Metro staff’s recommendation does not necessarily mean that Claremont’s Metrolink stop is safe, however. The planning and programming committee will still vote on the matter on Jan. 17, and the Metro board of directors will make a final decision on Jan. 25.
Claremont City Manager Tony Ramos suggested that students and other Claremont residents attend the Jan. 17 and Jan. 25 Metro meetings to show their support for the Claremont station. To facilitate this, the city will be providing free Metrolink tickets to Los Angeles for any residents or students hoping to attend the meeting.
“We think it’s important that the committee as well as the board hear from our community that this stop is important,” Ramos said. “If getting downtown posed any financial issue for any of our students or residents … we wanted to make sure that they could have their voices heard.”
Students can reserve a ticket by calling the city manager’s office at (909) 399-5441. The train will leave Claremont at 11:45 am on Jan. 17 for the 2 p.m. meeting at 1 Gateway Plaza in Los Angeles, Ramos said in a report to the city council.
Metro staff’s recommendation to preserve Claremont’s Metrolink stop will come despite their finding that that eliminating the station would save Los Angeles County $40 million on the Gold Line Foothill Extension project.
The Gold Line project, which has a $280 million budget shortfall, will extend Los Angeles’ light rail system to include a station in Claremont by 2026, and requires the demolition, relocation, and reconstruction of Claremont’s Metrolink station in 2021.
The Metro staff’s report will advise that the Claremont station be rebuilt across the street from the current station as planned, and will propose that Metro develop ways to make the Metrolink, Gold Line, and other public transit services complementary, Sotero said.