Can the Whittier light rail station be made accessible? Officials grapple with the challenge – Whittier Daily News

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When the streetcar finally arrives in Whittier, there will be stations on Norwalk and Washington Boulevard in Santa Fe Springs and near PIH Health in Whittier.

But if you don’t have a car, how will you get there?

This is the question Los Angeles County public works officials are investigating and, after three recent community meetings, they plan to write a report for LA Metro which will build the Gold Line streetcar.

  • Members of the KOA Corporation conducted a walk-around of the area surrounding the Lambert Road Metro L-Line (Gold) station project in Whittier on Wednesday, October 13, 2021. Event attendees were asked to identify the issues. Potentials that turn on railway users may encounter while traveling to and from the proposed station. (Photo by Trevor Stamp, Contributing Photographer)

  • Brian Marchetti, Project Manager at KOA Corporation, speaks before a walking audit of the area surrounding the Lambert Road Metro L-Line (Gold) station project in Whittier on Wednesday, October 13, 2021. Event attendees have were invited to identify potential problems that light rail transit users may encounter when traveling to and from the proposed station. (Photo by Trevor Stamp, Contributing Photographer)

  • Alberto Salgado (center), associate planner at KOA Corporation, leads a group along Lambert Road in Whittier during an audit of the area surrounding the proposed Lambert Road Metro L-Line (Gold) station on Wednesday, October 13, 2021 Participants in the event were asked to identify potential problems that light rail transit users may encounter when traveling to and from the proposed station. (Photo by Trevor Stamp, Contributing Photographer)

  • Participants in a walking audit conducted by the KOA Corporation were asked to identify issues pedestrians may encounter when traveling to and from the proposed Lambert Road Metro L-Line (Gold) station on Wednesday, October 13, 2021. One of the issues that participants identified were places that can be unsafe or difficult for pedestrians to navigate. (Photo by Trevor Stamp, Contributing Photographer)

  • A group led by the KOA Corporation walks along Lambert Road during an audit of the area surrounding the proposed Lambert Road Metro L-Line (Gold) station in Whittier on Wednesday October 13, 2021. Event attendees have were invited to identify the potential problems that light rail transit users may encounter when traveling to and from the proposed station. (Photo by Trevor Stamp, Contributing Photographer)

  • Alberto Salgado, associate planner at KOA Corporation (left), and Kevin Koga, director of marketing communications at PIH Health, assess the intersection of Washington Boulevard and Lambert Road in Whittier during an audit of the area surrounding the line project L of the Lambert Road metro (Gold) on Wednesday, October 13, 2021. Event participants were asked to identify potential problems that light rail transit users might encounter when traveling to and from the proposed station. (Photo by Trevor Stamp, Contributing Photographer)

  • Participants in a walking audit conducted by the KOA Corporation were asked to identify issues pedestrians may encounter when traveling to and from the proposed Lambert Road Metro L-Line (Gold) station on Wednesday, October 13, 2021. One of the issues that participants identified were places that can be unsafe or difficult for pedestrians to navigate. (Photo by Trevor Stamp, Contributing Photographer)

  • Participants in a guided tour conducted by KOA Corporation were asked to identify issues pedestrians may encounter when traveling to and from the Lambert Road Metro L-Line (Gold) subway station offered on Wednesday, October 13, 2021. Some problems that the groups identified were bus stops that lacked seats or shade. (Photo by Trevor Stamp, Contributing Photographer)

  • Michelle Chapman (left), senior civil engineer for Whittier, assesses the area surrounding the proposed Lambert Road metro L (Gold) line station in Whittier during a walking audit on Wednesday, October 13, 2021. Participants in the l The event was interviewed to identify potential problems that light rail transit users may encounter when traveling to and from the proposed station. (Photo by Trevor Stamp, Contributing Photographer)

  • Alberto Salgado (left), associate planner at KOA Corporation, and Kevin Koga, director of marketing communications at PIH Health, walk along Santa Fe Springs Road in Whittier during an audit of the area surrounding the Lambert Road station project Metro L-Line (Gold) on Wednesday October 13, 2021. Event attendees were asked to identify potential issues that light rail transit users may encounter while traveling to and from the proposed station. (Photo by Trevor Stamp, Contributing Photographer)

  • Alberto Salgado (right), associate planner at KOA Corporation, leads a group along Lambert Road in Whittier during an audit of the area surrounding the proposed Lambert Road Metro L-Line (Gold) station on Wednesday, October 13, 2021 Participants in the event were asked to identify potential problems that light rail transit users may encounter when traveling to and from the proposed station. (Photo by Trevor Stamp, Contributing Photographer)

The proposed Gold Line extension from East Los Angeles via Commerce, Montebello and Santa Fe Springs will terminate near PIH Health in Whittier.

The Gold Line is still in environmental study and advanced conceptual engineering work. The environmental impact report is expected to be released for public review and comment in spring 2022.

“We will be working closely with Metro to increase ridership, reduce distance and time for travelers and provide more travel options at these sites,” said Hank Hsing, project manager for the county, during the one of three meetings held for Whittier station.

Three meetings were held in Whittier, with two community members walking around to investigate conditions for cyclists and pedestrians.

“By listening to the community, we can learn what improvements can make Whittier a more walkable, cycling and vibrant community,” David MacGregor, deputy director of the county’s public works department, said in an email.

“One of our goals is for community members to be able to get around easily without a car while reducing harmful greenhouse gases,” MacGregor wrote.

A draft of the Whittier plan is expected to be prepared by spring 2022, MacGregor said.

A virtual community meeting for the Santa Fe Springs station will take place from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, November 3. It will be hosted on Zoom. Community members can participate by logging in https://bit.ly/norwalktraincommunitymeeting and using the access code 730270.

In Whittier, community members walked two separate days on three different routes to explore the accessibility of the future Lambert Road metro station. A third virtual meeting also took place.

They came up with lots of ideas, including improvements to the nearby Five Points intersection, more lighting. Sidewalk improvements and connecting the Greenway trail to the other side of Whittier Boulevard, County consultant Brian Marchetti said at the Oct. 19 meeting.

Members of the community, who took part in the walks, came up with different ideas.

“PIH has been involved since we heard about it,” Debra Legan, vice president of marketing and consumer engagement, who participated in the October 13 walk.

“We just wanted to make sure that we are participating as a good neighbor in what could benefit our staff and our customers,” said Legan. I think they go to great lengths to make sure they have the right details.

After the walk, Legan said she believes some sidewalks need to be widened. Another concern is the traffic lights so that people can cross the streets safely, she added.

Crossing the Five Points intersection as a pedestrian is a concern for Don Mrla, a parks and recreation commissioner, who called it “dangerous.”

Sofia Roman from Whittier said she wanted to make sure the light rail line could be used by everyone. She thought the biggest problem was accessibility.

Former Whittier Planning Commissioner Luis Rodriguez said some sort of trail is needed to cross safely to the proposed station from the north side of Whittier Boulevard. A bicycle rack is also needed at the station, Rodriguez said.

He also said he wanted the station to be located on Washington Boulevard instead of Lambert Road, so there would be an option for the streetcar line to circle Five Points and back down to Whittier Boulevard.


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