After several years in planning, Metro and City officials came together last week to break ground on the $143 million “Rail-to-Rail” project.
Initially proposed in 2012 by Mark Ridley-Thomas, the “Rail-to-Rail” is a 5.5-mile path that will transform a blighted, unused rail corridor along Slauson Avenue into for a path for pedestrians and cyclists in South Los Angeles.
“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.
Expected to be completed in 2024, the redevelopment project represents a significant investment in the Inglewood and South L.A. community and will inject new life and vibrancy into historically undercapitalized neighborhoods.
Constructed along an old freight railroad, the public works project will eventually connect several Metro bus and rail lines stretching from South LA to Inglewood.
Path amenities will include extensive landscaping, including several hundred shade trees, lights, security cameras, street furniture and wayfinding signage, among other features.
While the Rail to Rail was funded through a variety of local, state and federal sources, the city of Los Angeles provided $30-million specifically to complete public right-of-way improvements. That funding will bring ADA and pedestrian accessibility improvements to 22 intersections along the route, increase pedestrian visibility and reduce vehicle/pedestrian interactions.
“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.”
Metro is currently studying a second phase of the project called “Rail to River” that will extend the path eastward to the Los Angeles River.