Land Banking to Prevent Transit-Oriented Displacement in Los Angeles

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) will implement a new land banking program to mitigate gentrification and displacement around future transit lines.

2 minute read

June 28, 2022, 10:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

A Gold Line AnsaldoBreda P2550 train enters Mission Station in South Pasadena on February 25, 2012.

Digital Media Pro / Shutterstock

“The LA Metro Board of Directors voted on Thursday, June 23 to pursue land-banking as a tool to prevent gentrification near its future transit projects,” reports Steve Scauzillo for the Los Angeles Daily News.

Scauzillo explains the land banking concept, less common in Southern California than in other parts of the country, as follows: “By buying up land early in its planning process, the mega transit agency can “bank” the property, then sell it to affordable housing developers — but with requirements that guarantee low-rents and prohibit speculation.”

As the reasoning behind the new anti-gentrification measure, Scauzillo lists two examples of transit-induced gentrification from around the Metro service, around the L Line (formerly the Gold Line) in the Highland Park neighborhood in Los Angeles and in Pasadena. With the K Line (Crenshaw/LAX) nearing completion, the concerns about transit-induced gentrification shift to historically Black and Brown neighborhoods in South L.A., prompting Metro’s new program.

“Metro is also concerned about gentrification along a planned light-rail line that would connect downtown Los Angeles to southeast L.A. County, known as the West Santa Ana Branch (named after an old Pacific Electric Line’s Santa Ana route in L.A. County),” according to Scauzillo. “It would serve the cities and communities of downtown Los Angeles, unincorporated Florence-Graham, Vernon, Huntington Park, Bell, Cudahy, South Gate, Downey, Paramount, Bellflower, Cerritos and Artesia.”

Interestingly, the Metro Board isn’t the only countywide power to launch land banking efforts in recent days. While approving a new Los Angeles River Master Plan earlier this month, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors allocated $50 million for land banking and identified  22 potential project sites along the 51-mile-long Los Angeles River, reports Scauzillo.

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