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Home / Neighborhood / Los Angeles / LA receives $500K grant for new project to reconnect MacArthur Park

LA receives $500K grant for new project to reconnect MacArthur Park

by City News Service
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The city of Los Angeles received a $500,000 grant Thursday to fund the first phase of a project that aims to reconnect MacArthur Park near downtown by permanently closing a section of Wilshire Boulevard.

The office of Councilwoman Eunisses Hernandez, the city’s Department of Transportation and the Central City Neighborhood Partners will be working together on the project. Funded by the Southern California Association of Governments, the grant will fund a traffic analysis to study the permanent closure of Wilshire between Parkview Street and Alvardo Street.

The study will be overseen by LADOT. Hernandez’s office and the CCNP will host community outreach and engagement efforts.

“Reconnecting MacArthur Park will bring L.A.’s first major pedestrianized street to one of our most densely populated neighborhoods,” Hernandez said. “This community-led project will restore the park to its original state before it was cut in two during the 1930s and will be a major step forward in addressing the historic inequities that impact the surrounding area.”

Margarita Alvarez Gomez, executive director for CCNP, said her organization has engaged with tens of thousands of community members around transportation and traffic safety projects for over a decade.

“This project is about so much more than transportation. This investment in the Westlake and Pico-Union communities says, `you matter, you are seen, and you are valued,’ and it’s truly about equity.”

Closing the section of Wilshire Boulevard will reconnect MacArthur Park — which is currently bisected by the stretch of road — and lay the groundwork for a “One-Park” plan that converts 1.7 acres of heavily trafficked roadway into a “high-quality park space” that supports bicycle, pedestrian and transit infrastructure in one of L.A.’s most densely populated neighborhoods, according to Hernandez’s office.

“This grant will help us identify community-driven solutions to improve safety and connectivity in MacArthur Park, a key city transportation hub and community destination,” LADOT General Manager Laura Rubio-Cornejo said in a statement.

According to Hernandez’s office, the Westlake and Pico Union neighborhoods that surround MacArthur Park represent some of the most historically disadvantaged in the city.

More than one-third of households are considered overcrowded, a figure that is 11 times higher than the national rate, and the area is park-poor and contains only 0.5 acres of open space per 1,000 residents, compared to the city average of 8.9 acres per 1,000 residents.

The plan aims to restore a stretch of land that is currently a “hotspot” on the city’s high-injury network. It also advances the city’s goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality in one of the most urbanized areas in Los Angeles, according to Hernandez’s office.

The first phase of the project — the traffic study — is expected to be completed by the end of 2025.

Hernandez’s office plans to temporarily close the section of Wilshire Boulevard and activate community programming on weekend days throughout 2024 and 2025 as LADOT completes the traffic analysis.

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