'Rail to River' Project Envisions Greenway Along Train Tracks | KCET
'Rail to River' Project Envisions Greenway Along Train Tracks
Industrial blight might soon give way to cyclists riding through an 8.3-mile park-like path, winding south from Santa Fe Avenue near the Los Angeles River downtown to Slauson near South Los Angeles, then heading west until it reaches its terminus on Florence Avenue and West Boulevard, near the future LAX/Crenshaw Metro line.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) has launched a feasibility study into what it's calling the "Rail to River" project. The agency is looking into the possibility of turning this section of the city into an active transportation zone that would host pedestrians and cyclists along a safe and well-lit path. If implemented, it would connect to the Los Angeles River to Metro's Blue Line, Silver Line, and future LAX/Crenshaw Metro line.
Metro initiated the study on the request of of Los Angeles County Supervisors (and Metro board members) Mark Ridley-Thomas and Gloria Molina, according to Metro's Transportation Planning Manager Alice Tolar. The path is part of a larger 26-mile long Harbor Subdivision Transit Corridor, through which the Metro owns the right of way. The Harbor Subdivision was purchased by Metro in the early 90s from the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railway, which still operates freight rail on the path.
On February 24, Metro hosted a community meeting to present some draft concepts for the pathway, which met with support from the fifty people that had attended, including City of Huntington Park Vice Mayor Rosa E. Perez; Councilmember Ofelia Hernandez; and representatives from the offices of Metro Board Director Mark Ridley-Thomas and Councilmember Curren Price, the Los Angeles County Department of Regional Planning, neighborhood councils, and various advocacy groups.
According to a report from Ridley-Thomas's office, residents see potential in the project.
"From what I can see of the vision, it looks like it could be a good thing for South Los Angeles," said Lynda Wilson, a Windsor Hills resident. "I can see biking from Western and Slauson and taking that eight mile ride to the river."
"I'm most excited about re-purposing the railroad tracks," said urban planner Bruce Chan, who compared this project to New York City's High Line project that re-envisioned the elevated railway tracks into a park perched above the city's streets. One of the promising draft concepts of Rail to River involves removal of the existing train tracks to make room for a two-way bike path and a walkway.
"These concepts will be refined as needed and included in the Final Feasibility Report that will be presented to the Metro Board in September of this year," said Tolar, who emphasized that many things could still change as the Metro progresses with its study.
Tolar further notes that though the concept is exciting, Metro still faces many challenges when working on this site. She explains that much of the Metro-owned right of way is between 30 to 40 feet, which is too narrow to accommodate an at-grade rail line or Bus Rapid Transit, as well as a continuous bike path. At the north-south portion from Santa Fe to Slauson Boulevard, the widths are as narrow as 12 feet. Not only will Metro have to find a way to fit other uses on this narrow path, it would also have to do it in a way that it would not hinder future transportation projects that might be done on the same path as required by Metro's Rights-of Way Preservation Guidelines.
A draft of the feasibility study will undergo internal review by May 1. A final report is due to be presented to Metro's Board in September 2014. Depending on the results, the Board will ultimately decide whether to progress with the project and also how to fund it.
What truly matters? Ali Behdad, professor of literature; Kristy Edmunds, artist and curator; and Michael Eselun, chaplain for the Simms-Mann/UCLA Center for Integrative Oncology discuss the important things in life.
‘Bombshell’ Exposes Media Mogul’s Toxic Sexual Harassment Culture at Fox News on Screen at the KCET Cinema Series
After the screening, KCET Cinema Series host Pete Hammond sat down with director Jay Roach.
The U.S. currently incarcerates more people per capita than any other nation in the world. Police forces and school systems are beginning to use diversion tactics to redirect young people away from criminal records.
'Richard Jewell' Brings an Explosive True Story from Clint Eastwood to the Winter KCET Cinema Series on December 10
A Q&A will immediately follow the screening with editor Joel Cox.
- 1 of 224
- next ›
The global demand for oil and gas has long-lasting impacts on the communities that supply it.
The global demand for avocados is having a devastating impact on a drought-stricken community in Chile.
Following groups like “Guardians of the Forest,” we explore illegal lumber poaching in the forests of Brazil and Oregon, where citizens and scientists are working together to combat the illegal lumber trade.
The realities of milk production are forcing dairy communities across the globe to rethink the dairy production process.
Solar power is changing lives in unexpected places. This episode visits with unique solar power training programs in Zanzibar and Los Angeles.
- 1 of 9
- next ›