Groundbreaking held for Rail to Rail path for walkers, cyclists and rollers in Inglewood and South Los Angeles

Metro today held a groundbreaking for the Rail to Rail project, a new 5.5-mile path for pedestrians, cyclists and rollers that will transform a blighted, unused rail corridor in Inglewood and South Los Angeles and connect to several Metro bus and rail lines.The $143-million project is a significant investment in the Inglewood and South L.A. community and will inject new life and vibrancy into a historically disadvantaged area. The path is expected to be completed in 2024.The path will connect the future K Line’s (Crenshaw/LAX) Fairview Heights Station, the Metro J Line’s (Silver) Slauson Station and the A Line (Blue) Slauson Station. Path amenities will include extensive landscaping, including several hundred shade trees, lights, security cameras, street furniture and wayfinding signage, among other features.The path will be constructed along the former Harbor Subdivision — the route of an old freight railroad — and will improve access to the neighborhood communities of Hyde Park, Chesterfield Square, Harvard Park, Vermont-Slauson, South Park and Central-Alameda.

Metro is now studying a second phase of the project called “Rail to River” that will extend the path eastward to the Los Angeles River.

The latest census data shows that this corridor has some of L.A. County’s highest percentages of people who rely on transit, biking and walking to commute. Nearly 19 percent of households in the area do not have access to a car. Census data also indicates that nearly 4,300 pedestrians and 2,500 cyclists use the corridor each day. Rail to Rail will provide a significant safety benefit for bicyclists and pedestrians because the new path will be mostly separated from busy local streets.

The old freight tracks at the intersection of Slauson and Denker. The new path will be built atop the old tracks.

Adding to new transit options in the area, Metro anticipates opening the 8.5-mile K Line light rail project later this year. The K Line will extend from E Line (Expo) at Expo/Crenshaw Station and merge with C Line (Green) at Aviation/LAX Station, connecting the Crenshaw Corridor, Inglewood and El Segundo.

Rail to Rail was funded through a variety of local, state and federal sources, including a federal TIGER grant, Transportation Development Act funds, proceeds from Metro’s 2008 Measure R sales tax, L.A. County’s Measure W Safe and Clean Water Grant, L.A. County Repurposed Earmark, the State Active Transportation Program Grant, and a CalSTA Soil Mitigation Grant.The city of Los Angeles also requested significant public right-of-way improvements be completed in conjunction with the project and contributed $30 million to pay for these improvements. The city’s funding will bring ADA and pedestrian accessibility improvements to 22 intersections along the Rail to Rail route and will increase pedestrian visibility and reduce vehicle/pedestrian interactions.For additional information on the project, please visit https://www.metro.net/projects/railtorivera/. For additional information on Metro’s Active Transportation Plan, click here.

QUOTES

“This marvelous active transportation project will improve multimodal connectivity, enhance access to key destinations and provide a safer travel path for our South L.A. pedestrians and bicyclists,” said Metro Board Chair and Glendale City Council Member Ara Najarian. “I’m sure it will be a treasured recreational asset for many nearby neighborhoods and contribute to the community’s enjoyment.”

“Today, decades of work are made real as we invest and transform these old rail tracks into a corridor that the Slauson community can be proud of,” said Metro Board Member and L.A. County Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell. “Thank you to City, County, and Metro leadership who stand united behind this investment. And to all of our neighbors, our work won’t stop here. We are focused on strategies to ensure these investments help lift our most vulnerable communities and preserve the fabric of communities who live here today.”

“This project perfectly encapsulates Metro’s vision and commitment to mobility that goes beyond buses and trains,” said Eric Garcetti, Los Angeles Mayor and Metro Board Member. “By converting an abandoned and blighted railway into a world class bike and pedestrian path, we are providing significant quality of life and mobility improvements to some of Los Angeles’ most under-served neighborhoods — providing safe options for the student who bikes to school, or the family setting out for a walk.”

“I could not be happier to see this important active transportation project break ground,” said Metro CEO Stephanie Wiggins. “The Rail to Rail project will improve on a well-worn path thousands of people in the community used every day, improving access to transit and adding beautiful amenities to the community in the process. Thank you to the Metro Board, the City of L.A., our federal and state partners, and everyone else who worked so hard to bring this project to the people of South L.A.”

“I led the City’s effort to provide these funds to Metro because I wanted to ensure that the agency’s contractor had all the funding it needed to expedite completion of both the city right-of-way and Metro-of-way improvements at the same time,” said Curren Price, Los Angeles City Councilmember representing District 9, which includes South Los Angeles. “By combining this work into a single project, we can best ensure that, on Day One of its opening, we deliver a comprehensive package of improvements that will immediately benefit everyone who accesses this new community amenity.”

“Before I became a council member, this project was envisioned by some of our most committed public servants, and with input from over a dozen social justice organizations,” said L.A. City Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson. “This project can be used as a model for safety and environmental equity.”

RENDERINGS

 

9 replies

  1. I live near the intersection of Vermont and Sepulveda. Would be helpful to have a bus line to the blue line at Willow. In our area there is nothing good coming our way. A couple of months ago we took Metro (A line & Expo line) from Willow to Santa Monica. It took 2.5 hours including time needed to drive our car from home to Willow. We love the concept of public transit and use it whenever feasible, but the current connections we have to utilize buses and rail really suck. Regarding this subject, what future improvements are Metro planning for our area?

    • Only thing I see on the table is a POSSIBLE Vermont BRT South Bay Extension all the way to Harbor College. . . Which will likely not even happen and only being studied because people won’t leave Metro alone about it. That and the Green Line Extension to Torrance

      The funny thing is, the harbor subdivision actually runs through this area, so had Metro actually built rail on the entire corridor and not just stubs to Torrance and a bike trail through south central, this conversation would be a LOT more different.

      This is yet another example on why the Harbor subdivision being entirely rail was important and Metro decided to ruin it just cause the money isn’t there now. The sad thing is, if the money is there in the future to actually build an entire rail line from LA to San Pedro via South Bay, this bike trail would have to be destroyed and partially rebuild, hence a waste of taxpayer money.

  2. A waste of a Metro ROW that should have been rail. Could have been the extension of the line from Redondo Beach (which is a poor stub line) through LAX- Inglewood and on to the Blue Line at Slauson with intermediate stops at Western, Vermont (connection to hopefully north/south rail line), Harbor Busway, Avalon and then the stop at Slauson that would connect with the BLUE and future WSAB lines. Would have created another rail line feeding LAX. I am afraid this path will be hard to keep clean and clear of all the debris/trash , tents etc…

    • The bike/pedestrian bath is an excellent choice for this particular corridor, most of which is only wide enough for a single set of tracks.

      The Crenshaw/LAX line will use a large portion of the Harbor Subdivision ROW as it curves west adjacent to Florence. The Expo and Green Lines decently cover East/West rail needs in this corridor. The more pressing need for additional rail is a north/south route on Vermont.

    • This!! At $30 million a mile, and considering how industrial areas are a haven for the homeless, and drug dealers, plus not to mention this section of LA is still known as gangland, and you can probably expect what the faith of this project will be even before it opens. Instead of building a critical rail line that could have help the community, they are likely to get a bike path they might not even be able to use safely.

    • Hi,

      FWIW, there is a considerable amount of environmental cleanup required on this project — the tracks run through a very old industrial corridor and thus there’s soil contamination issues that need to be dealt with.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

    • I agree it’s far too expensive but I believe this price includes a new-construction building not mentioned in the article

  3. hi steve extension new bike path to la river good news new 6th street bridge now open in downtown l a arts district and extension of metro red and purple line to arts district 6th street station with west santa ana branch line.