Earlier this year,
First proposed by Los Angeles Metro Board members Mark Ridley-Thomas and Gloria Molina in 2012, The Rail-to-River project has been discussed as one of several ways to transform industrial blight into usable transportation space.
With the Slauson rail corridor abandoned, community advocates imagined a plan to convert 8 miles of the underused rail way into a recreational walking and bike path, stemming from the Los Angeles River to the forthcoming Crenshaw Line, now known as the K Line—hence why this project is called Rail-to-River. This project is thought to be a pedestrian and bike connecting point that would allow transit rides to easily shift between the blue line, now known as the A-Line, the Silver Line, now known as the J-Line, and the K Line—which is slated to open in 2022.
In 2014, the Metro Board of Directors allocated $2.8 million to begin studying and designing the project, mainly to look at unique concepts and how the bike and walking path would impact traffic and the South LA neighborhoods it would run across. That same year, KPCC reported that the project could cost as much as $35 million and take up to 10 years to complete.
Currently the project is divided into two segments – Segment A, which is the path between Long Beach Avenue and Crenshaw Boulevard, and Segment B, which would later connect the path from Long Beach Avenue to the LA River. For now, Segment A, the part of the Rail-to-River development that would connect the A Line to the K Line, is “under construction.”
By 2015, the Los Angeles Metro Board was hard at work securing funds for this development, and it secured a United States Department of Transportation awarded Metro a $15 million grant to start the project. And in 2017, the LA Streets Blog reported that the project would be ready to break ground in the middle of 2018, and was planned to be finished by 2019, just in time with the K Line.
But this is LA, you don’t actually expect construction to finish on time, right?
Well, two years went by and the tracks were still sitting on Slauson Avenue, despite securing some funding. So what happened?
Well, it turns out that the Metro Board was ready to commence the project, but it’s three proposals were rejected for being over budget.
There’s very little information on what actually happened after this, but according to the Metro’s website, construction of Segment A of the Rail to River project began in February 2021, and was scheduled through the first half of 2021. I haven’t been able to find anything else about this bike path and its plans moving forward.
I did, however, find that City Councilman Curren Price, however, plans to have a sustainable recreation center along the pathway by 2022, but if it’s anything like this project, it could be a while longer.