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Eunisses Hernandez

City Leaders Kick Off Planning For Reconnecting MacArthur Park

Reconnecting MacArthur Park is a multi-year planning effort laying the groundwork for closing Wilshire Boulevard between Alvarado Street and Carondelet Street

L.A. City Councilmember Eunisses Hernandez kicks off the Reconnecting MacArthur Park project. Photos by Joe Linton/Streetsblog

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This morning, Mayor Karen Bass, City Councilmember Eunisses Hernandez and other city, governmental, and community leaders gathered to kick off Reconnecting MacArthur Park - a multi-year planning effort laying the groundwork for closing Wilshire Boulevard between Alvarado Street and Carondelet Street. The project aims to expand park space, enhance pedestrian mobility and safety, improve health, and advance equitable economic development.

“Reconnecting MacArthur Park is not just about closing a street to traffic" Hernandez emphasized, "it’s about opening up this neighborhood to the possibilities that come when we center people’s needs over the needs of cars.”

One of the city's oldest parks, MacArthur Park dates to the late 1800s, then named Westlake Park. In 1934, the site was split in half when the city extended Wilshire Boulevard through the center of the park.

Westlake Park, later renamed MacArthur Park; aerial photograph from 1923 (north 6th Street is on the left) - via Wikimedia
In 1934, Wilshire Boulevard was extended through the middle of what would soon be named MacArthur Park - via L.A. Conservancy

Hernandez, who campaigned on closing off major streets to build walking plazas, led city efforts to secured grant funding for the current planning process.

Reconnecting MacArthur Park is funded through a $2 million federal Reconnecting Communities (RCN) grant and a $500,000 Civic Engagement, Equity and Environmental Justice (CEEEJ) grant from the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG).

Mayor Bass speaking at this morning's Reconnecting MacArthur Park kick-off

Mayor Bass acknowledged that the park experiences "a lot of issues related to the unhoused community" but praised the planning process that she expects will support "MacArthur Park get[ting] back to being what MacArthur Park was - certainly when I was a young person and spent many, many, many hours here many different days."

Several speakers emphasized the importance of engaging the local community to steer the planning process. Expected next summer, the city will host a series of day-long temporary closures of Wilshire Boulevard, to temporarily reclaim the roadway space for park activities while analyzing traffic impacts.

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