Healing Community Scars
After more than 50 years of disinvestment, this once vibrant commercial district in South Los Angeles had become blighted with vacant lots and crumbling infrastructure. Car-centric street design didn’t serve a community where residents use walking, biking and transit to get around, due to economics and need. The conditions led to traffic fatalities and detrimental impacts on public health, such as high rates of asthma.
But now, with the help of the community, this “T” stretch of Broadway and Avenues will be transformed into a safe and vibrant neighborhood street, healing the scars of so many years of neglect.
Working with community partners, the first step was to establish a shared community vision through a grassroots-based outreach campaign. It was important to reach people in places that are part of their daily lives, such as child-care centers, churches, schools, and local grocery and liquor stores. Community partners included the local business improvement districts, walking and biking coalitions, homeowners’ associations and surrounding local businesses. Over 260 community members then participated in 8 different forums that included design charrettes, open houses, farmers markets, turkey giveaways, and tree planting workshops. Finally, a “pop-up” demonstration lab allowed the community to experience their new street design in a temporarily transformed section of Broadway.
The transformed streets will include protected bike lanes, improved sidewalks and crosswalks and a redesigned large median that will include park space, community gardens, art and stormwater planters— over 450 trees will be planted! This planning helped the City get nearly $46 million in Active Transportation Program grants to implement streetscape improvements.
As part of the City of Los Angeles Great Streets Challenge Grant, we are also worked to transform nine other LA streets, including: Fourth Street in Boyle Heights, Wilmington Avenue in Watts, Hollywood Boulevard in Thai Town, and South Robertson Avenue in the SoRo Neighborhood.