downtown los angeles

Gold Line Right-Of-Way Becoming New Pedestrian Alleyway in Pasadena

The Gold Line ROW, seen here before construction started, will be converted to a pedestrian alleyway

The first sign of construction has started on the Gold Line right-of-way (ROW) that goes through Old Town Pasadena for what will be a major improvement for pedestrian connections in Pasadena, especially transit users who are either getting off the Memorial Park station or trying to get to it. Converting a once unused pathway, where the actual Gold Line trains run underneath as a subway, into a pedestrian alleyway is yet another clear indication of Pasadena’s commitment to enhancing the pedestrian experience.

In addition, there are talks of using the new alleyway to host outdoor festivals or even a new farmers market in Pasadena!

According to the Public Information Officer of Pasadena, Ann Erdman:

“The City of Pasadena has a temporary agreement with MTA to make improvements to the alleyways, except that we can’t excavate. The grade is steeper than it should be for a pedestrian walkway, so we’ll put in an asphalt overlay to get the ideal 2% grade. The fences will be removed. Also, we’ll place planters, benches and trash receptacles along the walkway. The timeline — you’ll see asphalt going down next week, and then hopefully by Thanksgiving the planters and other items will be put in place. We’re trying to encourage property owners in the area to put up lighting on their buildings that will shine down on the walkway at night since we’re not allowed to dig any holes for light poles.”

I asked if the asphalt would eventually be replaced by something more aesthetically pleasing geared toward pedestrians:

“Putting in a different surface material would be up to MTA in the future.”

The fencing has been removed and replaced with temporary posts

The Gold Line ROW runs through Old Town Pasadena and will become a convenient walkway for pedestrians

Restaurants that border the new alleyway, like Barney's Beanery, will be able to lease space along the new alleyway for added outdoor dining space


  1. Cindy says

    Wow, I had no idea this was going on! It sure will be an improvement, as long as they are able to finagle some lighting. Some off-street dining would be nice, too. Thanks for the update, Brigham!

    • I have a feeling that as time goes on, even if owners along the alleyway haven’t decided to already, they’ll eventually add on lighting to cater to the new setup in store for the alleyway, such as benches and planters.

  2. Lawrence says

    In the long run there will be too much profit to be made from added capacity for restaurants to not add lighting and potentially more dining space to the alley.

    This will be a great addition!

  3. Steve says

    How long is this? Is that the end in the first picture or does it keep going?

    • It starts at the entrance of the Memorial Park Gold Line station at Holly St. and it goes all the way to Green Street!

  4. douglas goldstein says

    I’m surprised the stores are letting them do that. You want people walking past the shops so they stop in for the occasional impulse purchase, not bypass all the retail on back-alley walkways. Better to have these areas as community gardens, playgrounds, sculpture gardens/outdoor art space, etc.

    • The great thing about Pasadena is, enhancing the pedestrian experience like upgrading this alleyway will produce some great indirect results such as even more people desiring to come to Old Town Pasadena because there are investments made to make the pedestrian experience a very enjoyable one.

      Another reason why it is very smart for Pasadena to upgrade this alleyway is because many residents do call Old Town Pasadena home. There are many, many condo and apartment buildings in Old Town and providing convenient access to them is very important.

      Plus, restaurant businesses that border the alleyway will be able to lease space to add more outdoor dining space, which will attract a lot of attention to those walking by!

  5. sopas ej says

    I have vague recollections of when there actually used to be railroad tracks there, before the Gold Line construction even started. Awesome that it’s going to be turned into something more useful and better-looking.

    • I still remember when they started construction on the Gold Line back in the day and how excited I was. As the network across the entire LA region continues to expand, the stations already in place in Pasadena will become even more attractive as it is able to connect transit users to more and more places throughout LA!

  6. peenee says

    i wonder how they would keep the homeless from sleeping in the park.
    the sole reason i hate century park is it’s darkness at night, it’s just sad that people arent able to use the park at night. it’s such a nice little green space

  7. I think if the owners of the buildings fronting the alley created larger windows and/or doorways on the sides of their buildings facing the new pedestrian walkway that would be great! It would create more “eyes on the street” and give the alley a more lively, people-centric atmosphere. I know it’s a historic district and the buildings are protected, but it could really make a huge difference in the pedestrian quality of the alley if done right.

    I was in New York over the summer and was able to visit the Highline, a linear urban park built into a former rail right of way. It was such an awesome urban experience – especially for promenading and people-watching. It would be great if some of those same design principles (an alternation of thresholds and urban rooms, each of which had a unique spatial quality) could one day be applied to this alley to give it a proper makeover, more than just asphalt, benches, and planters.

    • I agree Mike! Let’s hold Pasadena up to an even HIGHER standard than just comparing it to the rest of mediocrity.

  8. Who knows, we may start to see the buildings modified to have business stores along this walkway. What a great idea.

  9. Sameer says

    Fantastic news! I hope they can add some green in there, along with some tasteful lighting. Those are the little things that people remember about visiting a city for the first time.

  10. Lawrence says

    This alley would be ideal for a farmer’s market given it’s linear nature. It’s screaming for one! Part of what makes the farmer’s marketing in S. Pasadena so appealing to me is its great use of public space and its proximity to the gold line. Even if just part of the ROW is used – it could be a great use for an under utilized piece of land…

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