Metrolink Extension to Perris Could Open by October


map-clickable-september-26-2011.originalAs we wait impatiently for the Expo and Gold Line extensions to open, commuters a bit farther out will get a break this fall. Metrolink—the commuter railroad that operates over 500 miles of track through L.A., Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, and Ventura counties—may open its newest extension in October, two months sooner than expected.

Work has moved swiftly on the project, which will extend the 91 line by 24 miles to Perris and connect it to DTLA’s Union Station. The $248 million project will add four new stations; Riverside/Hunter Park, Moreno Valley/March Field, Downtown Perris, and South Perris. Construction only began two years ago, though groundbreaking was delayed—partially because of an environmental lawsuit brought by a Riverside group, the L.A. Times reports.

The concessions that came out of the lawsuit may make the line an even better project: Metrolink agreed to add more soundwalls near UC Riverside, preserve wildlife habitats, and fund hiking trails near the Box Springs Mountain Reserve.

Drivers will be able to take the train to stops throughout SoCal, including job-rich centers like Fullerton. All four stations come with hundreds of parking spots and local bus lines are being rerouted so folks can leave the car at home if they choose. The entire extension is expected to attract nearly 5,000 daily riders; that will hopefully pull some traffic off the 15 (yaaas), 215, 60, and, of course, the 91.

The next place that Metrolink could reach? A train spokesman tells the Times people are clamoring for service to Coachella Valley. A hipster can dream.