A Subway to Whittier Is Now a Very Real Possibility

The new plans could mean a much quicker ride to Santa Monica

Metro is busy carving subways underneath Miracle Mile, DTLA, and the Crenshaw District, but they’re already eyeing the next spot to dig: Whittier.

Metro is planning an eastward extension of the Gold Line light rail and recently-released alternatives include a lengthy underground tunnel through the suburb of Whittier, where the line will terminate. Measure M has enabled a two-pronged easterly extension of the Gold Line—one traveling along the 60 freeway to El Monte and the other to Whittier via the route currently being hammered out.

Three current proposals show trains turning south from the current Atlantic station, along either Arizona Avenue, Atlantic Boulevard, or Garfield Avenue via a subway tunnel; the first two options would make it possible to include a station at the Citadel outlets in Commerce. The train will then hit Washington Boulevard and transition to a line that runs partially at-grade and partially along an aerial structure before ending at Whittier’s Lambert Road. Should Metro go with the Atlantic Boulevard option, the current Atlantic at-grade station will be moved slightly south and placed underground.

It’s not clear when this project will start work, both because planning is still evolving and Measure M has made it more likely that the previous late 2020s groundbreaking can be advanced. Combined, the Whittier and El Monte lines will cost up to $6 billion and carry tens of thousands of new passengers. By the time the new extension opens, the Regional Connector will make it possible to have direct train service from Santa Monica to both Whittier and El Monte. Exciting times.

Map of the planned Gold Line extension

Image courtesy Metro