Will a New Rail Line Hurt or Help Crenshaw Boulevard?

In the latest entry in his "Boulevards" series, Christopher Hawthorne reports on the planned light rail line along Crenshaw Blvd in Los Angeles, and how it has caused a rift for some residents who are feeling left out of the revitalization process.

Crenshaw Boulevard in Los Angeles has a history as long and winding as its pathway through the city. Crenshaw's 23-mile route encompasses an array of districts, each with distinct personalities. The aerospace and car dealership companies along the boulevard that had provided many jobs after World War II have shut down over the years, causing a major shift in the District's livelihood. Nowadays, writes Hawthorne, "despite its central location, the street has been called the city's 'forgotten spine.'"

Writes Hawthorne, "the notion of the boulevard as a major transportation corridor -- a thriving center for planes, trains and automobiles -- has faded in recent years." Which is why the new $1.7 billion light rail Crenshaw Line is primed to revive the boulevard and bring the Crenshaw District back out of the shadows.

Area residents grew anxious, however, when they caught wind there may not be enough funding for a Leimert Park stop. Echoing resentment from when the Santa Monica Freeway was built right through Crenshaw Boulevard, dividing Leimert Park from affluent areas to the north, the community is urging Metro and Mayor Villaraigosa to reconsider and allow Leimert Park to be a part of the revitalization process.

Noting these pleas, Hawthorne takes a stand for a Leimert Park stop, claiming that "It is hard to think of an area better positioned to benefit from the new vitality and foot traffic that a light-rail stop would bring."

Full Story: Crenshaw Boulevard comes to a crossroads


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