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Los Angeles is finally joining the transportation friendly cities of New York, Chicago and Washington, D.C. and getting serious about commuter trains. The New Gold Line, which will run every 12 minutes on weekdays until 1 a.m. and on weekends until 3 a.m., will likely change the urban landscape of the City of Angeles. Streetcars currently take about 72 minutes to travel from Azusa to downtown; the Gold Line will cut that to 46 minutes.

The Gold Line’s presence at the new Foothill Extension station has led to new development plans for residential housing and a market to be built at the Monrovia station. At Duarte, which is where the City of Hope station is located, the city approved an impressive development of 475 residential dwellings, 250 hotel rooms, and plenty of commercial space across 19 acres. This move to develop the city around the train system will mean that the 6.6 million business travelers who visit Los Angeles every year will be able to avoid the clogged freeways.

Public transportation is not just good news for business. Mass transit contributes to public safety as well, because people who leave a bar drunk will have an alternate means to get home besides getting behind the wheel of a car. Likewise, commuters who have early or late work schedules can sleep on the train on the way to and from work instead of driving bleary-eyed. People who just can’t resist trying to get a little extra work done on the commute can text, make phone calls, and surf the web while sitting comfortably on the train instead of becoming another road hazard. It goes without saying that having a mass transit option will reduce the number of cars on the road, and in Los Angeles that’s a huge blessing.

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