In the heart of the West Athens-Westmont neighborhood, the County of Los Angeles will implement an audacious plan called Connect Southwest LA to develop the community between Los Angeles Southwest College and Metro’s Green Line Vermont/Athens Station. Unanimously approved by the Board of Supervisors, this highly anticipated plan creates a vision to improve access to transit, connect the communities within the West Athens-Westmont corridor to Southwest Community College, identify locations to potentially build more than 1,000 additional multi-family housing units, increase commercial space for more retail and jobs, as well as create a healthier, safer environment for walking and biking.
“This plan lays the footprint for a brighter future for the West Athens-Westmont community,” Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said. “It is an exciting and thoughtful plan that is filled with opportunities to create more affordable housing sites, improve mobility connections, and foster a thriving academic environment at Los Angeles Southwest College. We are uplifting the assets of the community to benefits all who live, work, study, play and pray here. ”
“Connect Southwest LA is the product of a community seeing change on the horizon and proactively embracing the opportunity to direct how it will affect them”, said regional planner Leon D. Freeman, AICP. “In doing so, the West Athens-Westmont community showed they could preserve their best assets while still providing 1.7 million sq. ft. for new businesses as well as 1,000 new homes. These new businesses will provide economic opportunities and community benefits to the students of Los Angeles Southwest College and the local residents that they will serve.”
The Connect Southwest LA plan is part of a larger vision to create a town center around Southwest College, and it combines the most important elements of the best Transit Oriented Developments. It highlights the multiple forms of public transit that already serve the area, such as Metro’s Green Line Vermont/Athens Station which currently connects to buses, as well as the Link, which provides shuttle service to the local schools, parks, and community centers for just 25 cents a ride. Connect Southwest LA will also ensure that new development complements the area and supports a healthier and safer environment for walking and biking. Additionally, it ensures the neighborhoods’ historically significant single family residential areas, busy commercial corridors, and multi-family housing are within close range of job centers, amenities and attractions in the region.
“We are appreciative that the boundaries of this Plan were expanded to incorporate Southwest College, what residents view as one of the major epicenters of this community,” said Henry Porter from the Southwest Community Association. “This effort will provide opportunities for better circulation and transportation access for students and community members alike, which in turn leads to a better quality of life for us all.”