On Tuesday, August 8, U.S. Assistant Secretary for Transportation Policy Christopher A. Coes (U.S. DOT) met with the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA) executives, local authorities and community members to celebrate the recently awarded grant funding for the “RAISE Up Watts: Catalyzing Connectivity through Active Transportation” project in Los Angeles.
The group met at the Watts Towers Art Center for a brief walking tour where Coes had an up close and personal look at the Watts community and heard, first-hand, about the direct impact the funding will have on the community.
The walking tour concluded with a Community Fair at the Watts Towers Amphitheatre, featuring booths from community partners including LAUSD, Los Angeles Neighborhood Initiative, LA Neighborhood Land Trust, Eastside Riders, We Care Outreach and the Watts Rising Street Team. Coes took time to visit each partner booth.
Funded from the Biden-Harris Administration’s “Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity” (RAISE) grant program, under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the award, totaling $6,967,923, will be used to plan and construct improvements to the Wilmington Avenue Corridor and Rainbow Bridge, intersection improvements, traffic calming measures, landscaping, sidewalks, public art, wayfinding signage, bulb-outs, utility relocation, and ADA ramps.
Following the fair, a press conference was held with remarks by Senator Steven Bradford, Lynn Von Kock-Liebert, executive director of Strategic Growth Council for the State of California, and Hamilton Cloud, special projects director for Congresswoman Maxine Waters.
Yumi Kawasaki, principal of Markham Middle School, was also joined by local parents to emphasize the importance of these pending infrastructural changes and the positive impact they will have on the students as they transport to and from school daily. The event concluded with a check presentation from Coes.
“The Watts Rising Collaborative has provided us with significant feedback from local community organizations that will allow us to address very specific needs in the Watts community,” said HACLA President/CEO Doug Guthrie.
“RAISE Up Watts is a continuation of our commitment in Watts to link arms and work together to achieve what this community has long deserved – better jobs, safer streets, clean air, and long, healthy lives.”
“President Biden’s Investing in America agenda is delivering safe, reliable and sustainable infrastructure improvements, and this grant will help enhance mobility, safety and the quality of life for residents of the Watts neighborhood in Los Angeles,” said Coes.
“The $6.9 million RAISE grant for improvements along the Wilmington Avenue Corridor, which includes the replacement of the Rainbow Bridge connecting to the Watts Cultural Trail, will increase access to employment, education, shopping, healthcare and other services while making it easier for residents to walk or bike to their destinations.”