In 2012, the Metro Board of Directors (Metro Board) requested staff to assess the feasibility of repurposing the Local North Section of the Metro-owned Harbor Subdivision rail right-of-way (ROW) as an active transportation corridor. The resulting Rail to River Intermediate Active Transportation Corridor Feasibility Study (Feasibility Study) in 2014 indicated that a bike and pedestrian path along the Project corridor would provide significant enhancements to the regional transportation network, while creating innovative environmental, economic, and mobility benefits for the surrounding communities. In October 2014, the Metro Board approved funding for environmental clearance, design, and outreach for Segment A as well as the Alternative Analysis for Segment B.
Currently, pedestrians and bicyclists travel along the Project corridor with very few no facilities to support their travel patterns. Safe, comfortable, and convenient access for existing bicycle and pedestrian volumes is significantly impeded by restricted amenities on the south side of Slauson Avenue, with narrow and over-crowded sidewalks. On the north side of Slauson Avenue (location of the Project ROW), sidewalks are non-existent, creating inadequate passage for all users, including bus rider access to multiple bus stops along the Project corridor.
The 2014 Feasibility Study generated a high level of interest from members of various communities and received attention from local and regional media news sources. The Project receives strong support from local jurisdictions, community organizations, and elected officials, because it promotes improved traveling conditions, encourages utilization of mass transit, and provides opportunities for upward mobility in underserved areas.
The improved connectivity of public transportation networks will provide local residents with more transportation choices by connecting to the Metro Blue Line, Silver Line (I-110 Harbor Freeway Transit Way), and the future Crenshaw/LAX LRT Line. The Harbor Subdivision rail right-of-way has been underutilized for many years, but this project will support many local and regional planning efforts (such as Metro’s First Mile Last Mile Strategic Plan, Complete Streets, and 2012-2035 Regional Transportation Plan and Sustainable Community Strategies) to improve the quality of life in Los Angeles County.