Since the year is still fresh, I figure now is a great time to take a look at upcoming investments in South LA. With that, let’s see what new things we can expect in the region in 2022 and onward.
New Light Rails
Like many of you, I’ve been waiting for the new Crenshaw line–now renamed the K line–to open in late 2019, but the COVID-19 pandemic happened—and Metro wasn’t quite ready either. Anyway, at the end of this past January, LA Metro held a virtual meeting on the progress of the K Line, reporting the light rail line is about 99.5 percent complete. The board also shared that the line will open in phases, with the first phase opening in Summer of 2022.
This summer, the line will operate 7 stops between the Expo Line and the Westchester/Veterans Stations near LAX. Metro says its phased opening is in response to the highly anticipated Automated People Mover construction that’s happening now near the airport. There’s no word on when the final portion of the K line will open, but Street Blog LA forecasted a November 2022 completion date, which will likely hold true. When it’s fully operational, the K Line will extend to Aviation and Century at LAX.
Speaking of light rails, Metro just announced approval for a new $8.5 billion light rail that will run through several Southeast Los Angeles County cities, including Cerritos, Southgate, and Huntington Park. It will also run adjacent to the blue line train. The full route is still being studied by Metro, but it’s neat to know that another light rail is running near South LA.
Rail to River
Slauson Avenue has an exciting update planned and it’s honestly not coming along fast enough. Last year I published a video on the state of the Rail to River Active Transportation Corridor Project that seemed to pause in mid 2021.
The project is divided into two segments: Segment A is between Long Beach Avenue and Crenshaw Boulevard, and Segment B will extend the trail from Long Beach Avenue to the Los Angeles River.
After the project broke ground in early 2021, no new construction has happened on Segment A or B. However, last September the Los Angeles Metro board found discrepancies between other projects happening near the Segment B of the Rail to River corridor , so it paused the project in the meantime, and promised it would come back with a new alternative for the segment in early 2022. While there hasn’t been any movement yet, we’ll probably hear more about construction progress once the plans for Segment B have been secured.
If you’ve been near Exposition Park, you’ve probably seen the buildout of the towering Lucas Museum of Narrative Arts. The Los Angeles Times reported that George Lucas’ $1 billion museum broke ground in March of 2018, but in mid 2021, the museum pushed its opening date into 2023.
Lucas’ Museum will feature a set of two theaters and 80,000 square feet of gallery space that will include over 100,000 objects on display. Sandra Jackson-Dumont, the Lucas Museum Director, said this museum won’t be dedicated to just film, but all forms of narrative art, from photography to sculptures, to newspapers and magazines.
Keep an eye out for a finished museum exterior later this year.
Other things to keep an eye out for
New trains, the River to Rail project, and the Lucas Museum are likely among the largest investments that will be made in South LA this year, but there are a few honorable mentions.
For starters, Magic Johnson Park just finished Phase 1B of its improvement plan this past January, which includes an extended fitness walking trail, an off-leash dog park, educational California native habitat gardens, and an informal natural amphitheater. I’ve yet to make my way back out there, but lookout for an update from me soon.
According to the master plan for the park, there’s a lot more in store for the green space over the next decade, including a skate park, aquatics center, paddle boats, and an equestrian center.
Other quick new developments include the The Kaiser Permanente Watts Pavilion, which is a planned 60,000-square-foot-three-story building, including medical offices and an expansion of the current Watts Counseling and Learning Center and Preschool. While this investment has already broken ground, the new Watts Center is not expected to open until 2023.
Beyond parks and medical services, there’s a slew of new supporting housing developments, most notably in the Florence Firestone, Broadway-Manchester, Chesterfield Square, and Willowbrook neighborhoods–among so many other areas in South LA. These projects are popping up on every corner, and politicians believe these developments are the answer to our city’s rising housing issue, despite them being disproportionately built in this region. Let me know what you think about these in the comment section below.
Long story short, South LA has some promising developments on the way. Which one of these are your favorite? Let me know in the comment section below