On Thursday, November 19, the West Angeles Community Development Corporation (WACDC) along with Metro, the mayor’s office, the Empowerment Congress West Area NDC and the Greater Leimert Park Village Crenshaw Corridor BID invited the community to the attend a Pedestrian Improvement Planning Meeting, where future plans for the Crenshaw District were the topic of discussion. Some the plans for the Crenshaw Corridor include implanting trees, bus shelters, sidewalk repair, landscaping, crosswalks, public art and street furniture. Attendees of the planning meeting got a chance to voice their opinions and concerns about what they wanted to see in their community.
The WACDC gathered a panel of city officials and public representatives to present the information and engage the community in dialogue about the plans for the Crenshaw area. The panel included city of Los Angeles Board of Public Works Commissioner Mike Davis, Metro Deputy Project Director Kimberly Ong, WACDC Noquomas Wilson, Empowerment Congress West Area NDC Johnnie Raines III and representative of Mayor Eric Garcetti’s office, Marcel Porras.
In 2009, the Community Redevelopment Agency of the City of Los Angeles (CRA/LA) Crenshaw/Mid-City Corridors project Areas was awarded $24,677,920 from the state of California Housing & Community Development Proposition 1C Program, which is now being managed by the Los Angeles Housing & Community Investment Department (HCID). This grant allows for improved walkable pathways and affordable housing developments. Also, in 2009, the CRA/LA submitted an application for Metro’s Call for Projects which received $1,390,203, combined with $434,438, which was received locally for a total of $1,824,641. The project area is on Crenshaw Blvd takes place between Stocker and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. which includes bus shelters, crosswalks, directional signage, medians and proper lighting within the area.
Davis spoke about Public Works involvement in the process and about the importance of the community’s input. He shared what he hopes will come from planning meetings with the community.
“I hope [the community] understands that the services that are provided for the city, in terms of Public Works, are going to be very clearly available,” said Davis.
“We have, for example, 9 million additional dollars for clean streets, this is in addition to our normal budget but when we have alleys that are in disrepair—we have that in the clean streets program. Additionally, we’re going to have an increase of construction in repairing sidewalks.
“All of these programs, we want the community to know that they are accessible and not only do we want to repair your sidewalks, we want to make sure when we employ individuals, that people from this community get an opportunity to work.”
“822 new trees in council districts 8 and 10,” according to Ong are planned for the Crenshaw District. Many of the attendees showed interests in what kind of trees were being considered for the area. The Catalina Ironwood, an evergreen tree, is one tree that is being considered among others.
“If there are community members that have species they would like [considered] we’re also open to that,” said Ong. “As far as the selection of species, that’s determined by the Bureau Street Services.
“All the input we get, we will give over to Bureau Street Services and it will be a process—we get the input, we give to them, they tell us.
“We do want to come back out to the community, get the input here, digest it, roll it back up and come back to the community about what we heard and between have some discussions.”
Damien Goodmon Executive Director at Crenshaw Subway Coalition had concerns about the planning process for the Crenshaw District not being transparent enough.
“Those of us who have been following this process very closely to no surprise have seen Metro is reneging on the simplest of things,” said Goodmon. “Even after them denying us a very affordable underground segment here in Hyde Park that they would be 100% committed toward making the street level portion project and station… beautiful as it can be.
“This was a scenic corridor before they came and cut down our trees and there are a lot of improvements that can be had.
“We as a community, the Crenshaw Subway Coaltion will be vigilant in making sure every opportunity to get in front of decision makers—we’ll make them aware of that and the demands and desires of the Crenshaw Corridor are heard.”
Wilson intends for these community meetings to serve that purpose in making sure residents of the Crenshaw District are aware and involved.
“I want to make sure that the community is actually heard,” said Wilson. “We’ve sat on a lot of boards and listened to a lot of higher-up, elevated people within Metro, the city and I think that this is an open opportunity for the community to actually have a voice and feel like they have a voice in what’s going to happen on Crenshaw Blvd.”
The West Angeles Community Development Corporation is located at 6028 Crenshaw Blvd in Los Angeles, CA 90043. For more info, please call (323) 751-3440 or email at [email protected]elescdc.org.