Metro Making Plans to Use Transit to Connect Communities with Parks

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The executive summary of the Parks and Needs Assessment results. Note the concentration of “very high” park needs in the downtown, south-central regions, and San Fernando Valley regions of the county. Source: Los Angeles Countywide Comprehensive Parks & Recreation Needs Assessment

Nearly two years ago, President Obama noted the need for greater and more equitable park accessibility while speaking at the San Gabriel Mountain national monument designation ceremony:

“This is an issue of social justice, because it’s not enough to have this awesome natural wonder within your sight – you have to be able to access it.”

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Over 50% of Los Angeles county’s population has a “very high” or “high” park need according to the county assessment. Source: Los Angeles Countywide Comprehensive Parks & Recreation Needs Assessment

Metro, the Los Angeles County Transportation Authority, appears to be taking President Obama’s concerns for park access and equity seriously.

In June, the Metro board of directors approved a “Transit to Open Spaces and Parks” motion. The motion was authored by directors Hilda Solis, Sheila Kuehl, and John Fasana. It directs the agency to create a comprehensive transit-to-open space parks overview of park access in Los Angeles’s local, state, and federal land parks, while prioritizing recommendations for low-income and park-poor communities.

Metro’s “Transit to Open Spaces and Parks” plans are expected to be completed by October and will detail opportunities for future transit access, identify funding sources, and provide recommendations for new transit service connecting to parks, such as active transportation bike lanes, greenways, and public transit shuttles.

The Metro motion follows the massive countywide Parks & Recreation Needs Assessment, a two-year inventory and analysis of park project and maintenance recommendations for each of L.A. County’s 86 cities, completed last May, 2016.

With research demonstrating the mental and physical benefits of parks, Metro’s call for a coordinated park-access analysis comes at a much-needed time for Los Angeles. The Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) 2008 Environmental Justice report found a complete lack of public transit services to national parks and “very limited” access to state parks.

The dearth in Los Angeles residents’ access to green space extends to local city parks as well.

This year, the city of Los Angeles was a disappointing 65th in the Trust for Public Land’s annual “park score” rankings, a park analysis of the U.S.’s largest 98 cities based off park size, investment, and access. According to the counties Park and Recreation Assessment, just 49% of Los Angeles County residents live within a half-mile of local parks.

With the Metro’s Measure M sales tax increase (also known as the Los Angeles Traffic Improvement Plan) approaching its November ballot date, the county could soon have sufficient resources to greatly expand park accessibility.

Fish Canyon Falls in Duarte. Duarte has run a free Saturday shuttle from the Gold Line station to the trailhead with local R returns. Source: Doug Lewis / Streetsblog LA

Cities in close proximity to the San Gabriel’s or Santa Monica mountain ranges might utilize light-rail connections and shuttle services financed from the apportioned 16 percent local return pool to expand park accessibility. Recently, the City of Duarte funded a free shuttle from the newly completed Duarte Gold Line Station to Fish Canyon falls with local R return – perhaps a glimpse of many more outdoor connections to come for L.A. County.



  • James

    I’d like to see some one the region’s countless golf courses turned into parks, ideally with significant native landscaping. Have a look at park poor LB on google earth. It seems like every significant piece of greenery is a golf course and those areas that aren’t golf courses were designed by golf course engineers. I was under the impression that there was a sort of municipal golf course arms race in the 50s-90s with each city competing to capture a share of a small and now shrinking market for hobby based on exquisitely maintained grass

  • Metro Brown Line

    Our Metro Brown Line light rail extension on the new phase tour from Los Angeles Union Station to Santa Clarita McBean Regional Transit Center is coming soon until September 7th, 2024 and also to free rides on Saturday September 7 & Sunday September 8, 2024 and also to start a beginning of the Brown Line train service from Union Station to Santa Clarita on September 9, 2024 Monday and also towards I-5 Golden State Freeway to $4 million to start a test train in December 2023, I-5 Freeway Bridge Overpass, Olvera Street, Dodgers Stadium, Elysian Park, Silver Lake, Los Angeles Zoo, Griffith Park, Crystal Springs Picnic Area, Burbank Metrolink Station, Burbank Bob Hope Airport, Mission Hills, Burbank Town Center, Westfield Valencia Town Center, College of the Canyons, Vista Canyon Regional Train Tour/McBean Regional Transit Center and Six Flags Magic Mountain/Hurricane Harbor will be Santa Clarita Transit votes to the L.A. Metro Brown Line to City Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

    Construction Starts: January 2017
    Construction Ends: Summer 2024

    Grand Opening with a ribbon cutting ceremony to open in August 2024 to brand new Metro Brown Line light rail service to Santa Clarita.

    New Metro Brown Line light rail phase tour will be proposed of 15 new stations:
    1. Los Angeles Union Station/Patsaouras Transit Center
    2. Chinatown(Gold Line)
    I-5 Freeway Bridge Overpass(Metro Brown Line)
    3. Dodgers Stadium/Elysian Park
    4. Atwater Village
    5. Alameda
    6. Burbank Transitway
    7. Hollywood Way
    8. Lankershim
    9. Pacoima
    10. Arleta
    11. Rindini
    12. San Fernando/North Valley
    13. Lyons
    14. College of the Canyons
    15. Santa Clarita/McBean Regional Transit Center


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