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Metro Wants You To Rename Its New Rail Line That Will Connect 10 Southeast L.A. Cities

Choose between "Tongva," Southeast," "Califa," "Los Rios" and eight other names. Voting ends on December 17. The new name will remain in place until construction is completed.

11:05 AM PST on November 15, 2023

Illustration via L.A. Metro

The name “West Santa Ana Branch” sounds more like a bank in Orange County than a new Metro rail line that will connect 10 Southeast Los Angeles County cities.

That’s why officials are asking the public to rename the highly-anticipated new light rail line project that will run through Artesia, Cerritos, Paramount, Bellflower, Downey, South Gate, Cudahy, Bell, Huntington Park, and Vernon to Union Station in Downtown Los Angeles. 

In March, Metro’s Board of Directors approved a motion to rebrand the rail line in an effort to increase awareness and excitement for the project, as well as clear up any confusion, since the project doesn’t pass through Santa Ana, nor is it on the westside of L.A. County. Today they opened up voting to the public to rename the line.

Metro called the “West Santa Ana Branch” name an “outdated and inaccurate description of the project itself,” despite the fact that the name carries historical significance.

The name comes from a rail corridor, formerly used by Pacific Electric, established during the very early 1900’s, that ran from Downtown Santa Ana through Watts and all the way to downtown Los Angeles.

You can still find small sections of the old line scattered in parts of L.A. County.

“This [new] rail line is going to make a huge difference in the lives of residents, from Artesia all the way to Huntington Park, but few people know about it because the name is so terrible,” Supervisor Janice Hahn said in a statement. “So, we’re picking a new name that people can get behind and connect with.”

The new name will remain in place until construction is completed, then it will receive a newly designated line letter and line color as the project prepares for service, according to Metro.

After collecting more than 1,200 suggestions from nearly a thousand community members, a panel of judges selected these 12 finalists. Here are a list of the names to choose from with descriptions courtesy of Supervisor Hahn’s office:

Calafia: The mythical queen after which California—first thought to be the “Island of California”—is named.

Esperanza: “Hope” in Spanish. This project represents the aspirations of 1.4 million residents for improved mobility, better opportunities, and an enhanced quality of life.

Gateway Cities: This line will serve most of the Gateway Cities, making these communities more accessible to the rest of L. .County and helping unify a regional identity.

Los Angeles Gateway: The Gateway Cities region will finally have a direct transit connection to the heart of Los Angeles.

Los Rios: This line will run along and cross our major rivers, including the San Gabriel River, the Los Angeles River, and its Rio Hondo tributary.

Pioneer: Pioneer Blvd. runs through the heart of Artesia, the line’s terminus. This project also represents a new frontier for the communities it will serve.

Pórtico: A portico is a door, a gateway to something new. This line will offer the Gateway Cities a portal to a brighter future.

Ruta Segura: “Safe Route” in Spanish. This project will give many new public transit users the confidence to travel on the Metro system.

Southeast: This line will serve not only Southeast Los Angeles, but also most of Southeast Los Angeles County. Check the compass at Union Station; this line goes due Southeast.

Southeast Gateway: The communities of SELA and the Southeast LA County region—also known as the Gateway Cities—will have a gateway to DTLA.

The Heartland Connection: This line will provide a connection to the heart of the Metro system for the millions of residents of the Southeast Los Angeles County communities.

Tongva: The Tongva—whose name means “People of the Earth"—are the original inhabitants of the land that today is Southeast Los Angeles County.

You can vote for your favorite name here, until December 17.

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