In November of 2009, I took a bike ride with Carlos Morales and other members of the Eastside Bike Club, not to be confused with the Eastside Riders, and Browne Molyneux of the Bus Bench to explore the bicycle and pedestrian access to the Gold Line’s about-to-be-opened Eastside Extension.
During the ride, we ran into City Council Member Jose Huizar who was not yet a member of the Metro Board of Directors. Huizar listened to the concerns of some of the riders, and engaged with us about what kind of fixes we would like to see.
Today, the first round of those are much closer to reality. Earlier today, Huizar the Department of Public Works and Metro joined with community members Tuesday for a groundbreaking ceremony in Boyle Heights for the first part of the Eastside Access project. This project would turn Bailey Street into an extension of the Mariachi Plaza station, creating a pedestrian connection from the plaza to Pennsylvania Avenue and Bailey Street.
“Since the Metro Gold Line Eastside Extension route opened in 2009, our goal all along was to enhance and transform the areas around the light-rail stations to improve pedestrian and bicycle access and traffic, as well as support business, community and art-related projects,” said Councilmember José Huizar. “The Garden Street on Bailey Project is an important part of a multi-million dollar, multi-agency commitment to do just that.”
The Eastside Access project is a $12 million pedestrian improvement project in and around four stations of the Metro Gold Line Eastside Extension along First Street. A graphic showing all of the remaining projects can be found at the bottom of this story.
On Bailey Street, the city will construct a series of small improvements along the one block between Mariachi Plaza and Bailey Street. These improvements include:
- Extend curbs and sidewalk to make pedestrian crossing distances shorter at Bailey and Pennsylvania
- Dual curb ramps and enhanced crosswalks
- Create small garden areas at Bailey and Pennsylvania
- Add permeable paving, a hearty landscape with shade trees & provide seating, trash receptacles
- Add stone benches to the street to provide permanent seating areas
- Add street trees and new lighting on Bailey St.
- Garden Street on Bailey will be an extension of Mariachi Plaza through sidewalk and lighting improvements in addition to landscaping – there will also be two small gardens at corner of Bailey and Pennsylvania. Seating areas framed by colorful native and drought-tolerant plants will include Mayan-influenced elements to enhance the streetscape.
- 1st and Cummings Plaza: will connect Soto Street and Mariachi Plaza station through landscape, seating, art and shade elements.
- 1st St Arts and Civic Streetscape: project will transform the walking environment between Mariachi Plaza and Soto Street stations, through new sidewalks, trees and lighting.
- Bike friendly streetscape on Mott St.: Create LA’s 1st bike friendly street that will benefit residents through calmer traffic and a safer pedestrian environment.
- Healthy Streets at Evergreen Jogging Path: Encourage walking and promote a healthier community. Install new safety surface and exercise equipment.
Councilmember Huizar also announced that he is submitting a motion in City Council Tuesday to dedicate Bailey Street “Avenida de Lucha Reyes,” in honor of famed Mexican ranchera singer Lucha Reyes, whose statue adorns adjacent Mariachi Plaza.
“Lucha Reyes is an icon to the Mexican community,” said Huizar. “Dedicating a street in her honor adjacent to Mariachi Plaza will complement the improvements currently underway.”