Rail to River Rolls Forward

A greenbelt with walkways and bike lanes may be headed to the heart of South Los Angeles. A once bustling manufacturing corridor with train access fell into disrepair, and in the early 1990’s Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority purchased the abandoned land along the tracks. The area remained unused and desolate for many years. But last year, Los Angeles County Supervisors and Metro Board Members Mark Ridley-Thomas and Gloria Molina requested that Metro explore the feasibility of transforming the dirt and rails into an inspired vision for greenery and trails. The trail, being called Rail to River, would begin near the future light rail station in Inglewood and end just north of Washington Boulevard near the Los Angeles River.

On February 26, Metro will share draft concepts for the trail and present the second round of results from its ongoing feasibility study for the idea. Input from residents and community members is requested and welcome. If the project could have an impact on you, your business, or your family, this is an opportunity to let your voice be heard.

The draft concepts, released for discussion purposes only just before the meeting, continue to help visualize the possibilities for the landscape. They include walking and cycling paths, landscaping, lighting and security features necessary to make it a safe environment. One such early initial draft design concept is provided below:

IMAGE: Initial design concept for discussion purposes only. Image provided courtesy of Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority.

The study, which was initiated last July at the request of Supervisors Ridley-Thomas and Molina, will result in a report to the Metro Board in September 2014.

Rail to River is part of a larger plan by Supervisor Ridley-Thomas to revitalize the neighborhoods and businesses surrounding Slauson Avenue. West of the proposed Rail to River project, community members have long waited to give the area a facelift. In response, Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas spearheaded the Slauson Corridor Revitalization Project, an undertaking aimed at making the area more pedestrian friendly to help it become an attractive destination for local merchants and community residents. Community members have been working closely with Supervisor Ridley-Thomas’ office to shape the future of Slauson corridor. To incentivize local businesses to help in the revitalization efforts, Supervisor Ridley-Thomas’ office arranged grant funds for property owners along Slauson to enhance building facades and storefronts.

“We must continue to raise the standard in our community,” said Supervisor Ridley-Thomas. “And we think Rail to River has the potential to improve the quality of life along the Slauson corridor. But we need your input.”

What do you think of Rail to River? Would you like more green trails and bike paths in your neighborhood?