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Regional Connector Update: Less Connections, More Connections*

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Metro briefed the media yesterday on the status of the Regional Connector, a light-rail connection in downtown that would link up the Blue and Expo lines with the Gold, and eliminate some transfers--riders will be able to travel directly from Pasadena to Long Beach and East LA to Culver City. Hoping to pacify the Little Tokyo community, the transit agency recently included a new option that would bring the entire line underground including where the connector links up with the Gold Line in Little Tokyo. When asked what that would mean to the current Little Tokyo Gold Line station on 1st and Alameda, RC project director Dolores Roybal-Saltarelli replied that regardless of what option Metro chooses this summer for the RC, the current station would be demolished and relocated to the Office Depot site a block away. No biggie, right? Well, Roybal-Saltarelli said that would mean someone traveling from East LA to Pasadena or vice versa would now have to transfer in Little Tokyo, whereas now they don't. When the reporters started questioning that, Roybal-Saltarelli said that their studies found most people in East LA don't necessarily want to travel to Pasadena, but to jobs on the Westside in Culver City (and eventually to Santa Monica). The same holds true for people from Pasadena, she said, who generally want to go to central downtown and Long Beach more than the Eastside. So, the Gold Line will basically be broken up into two separate lines, and Roybal-Saltarelli said Metro is aware of that and that the Eastside Gold Line will probably need a new color designation. *Not so fast. Metro tells us the only option that would require demolishing the Little Tokyo station would be the fully-underground option. And Roybal-Saltarelli's first name was listed previously as Gloria. It's Dolores Roybal-Saltarelli.

Some more bullet points:

----Metro will make their pick for the line this summer; it sounds like they're leaning toward the $1.1 billion fully-underground option which would have four stations: Fifth and Flower, Second and Hope, Second and Broadway, and Second and Central.

-----Metro's research finds that the RC would reduce 73,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions, a ton of oil and freeway miles traveled (they went too fast for us to get the exact number), and improve traffic at 11 intersections.

----Metro also says the RC would attract 17,000 new riders and boost ridership on many light-rail lines (Eastside Gold Line: 18 percent, Pasadena Gold: 10 percent, Blue: 10 percent, and Expo: 5 percent).

----Trips from East LA to USC would go from 44 minutes, without the RC, to 31 minutes with the RC. Traveling from the Pico Blue Line stop downtown to Memorial Park in Pasadena would go from 39 minutes to 32.

----Engineering should begin this winter.

· Underground Option Added [Curbed LA]
· Meet the Guy Who Fixed the Little Tokyo Station [Curbed LA]
· Regional Connector [Official Site]