By now, you’ve probably heard about Metro’s board giving the new Eastside Gold Line extension two different names. One in English: Edward R. Roybal Metro Gold Line Eastside Extension. The other in Spanish: La Linea de Oro, Edward R. Roybal. Both of which will prove to be a useless political move, as normal human beings will revert to the shorter, easier “Gold Line.”
The fact that Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina has forced this down our throats without any public input from the actual citizens who will have to pay for all of that new signage – twice – has already been hotly debated on sites like Curbed. And while the stupidity of some out-of-touch policitian making such a move will cost us millions in wasteful spending, there is a bigger issue here.
Instead of unifying the unique ethnic enclaves that make up this great city, Los Angeles is segregating them. Isolating them further into their own little pockets by the ever-growing language barrier. And for what purpose?
Sure, the Eastside extension runs through a part of the city that is 95% Spanish-speaking. Maybe this serves to ensure quality of life for citizens who only know Spanish. What will they do when the train arrives at Union Station and the signs are in English? Turn around?
Maybe this is more of a symbolic gesture. Maybe Molina feels like she is paying tribute to those who call the Eastside home. If that’s the case, let’s pay tribute to everybody.
The Orange Line runs through a large Jewish community.
The Red Line tunnels the way to Russian and Armenian delis.
The Purple Line winds its way through many Korean establishments.
Maybe Molina is onto something. Maybe this is the economic stimulus we need. Maybe this is our “shovel-ready project.” Let’s rename every segment of every Metro Rail line in honor of that intersection’s ethnic roots. New signs in different languages means more jobs for translators and sign-makers. More graphic artists will be needed to center bilingual titles in Photoshop. More tour guides will be required to keep tourists from far away places like Arkansas from getting lost.
Actually, this seems like a lot of work. And a lot of money that we do not have. Money that could be better spent on… well, more rail lines. If only there were a language that we could use to keep things consistent…