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Huntington Park approves plans for Rails to River Trail

HUNTINGTON PARK — Bicycles and vehicles would share a trail with possibly two operating railroads along a 4.5-mile stretch of Randolph Street through the city and parts of adjoining Bell, Maywood and Vernon, as well as unincorporated Los Angeles County territory under a concept approved by the City Council March 21.

The action came in a resolution following a presentation by officials of a consulting firm, Fehr and Peers of Los Angeles, hired in June 2014 to get resident input and study proposals for the Rails To River Trail shared use route, running from the Blue Line Station on Slauson Avenue near Alameda Street, east to a bike trail along the Los Angeles River.

Adoption of a plan could qualify the project for transit grants, City Manager Edgar Cisneros said.

The trail would include two-way vehicular traffic with parking on both the north and south sides of the street, a lane for bicycles and tracks down the middle for continued operation of the Union Pacific and the planned Eco Rapid Transit light rail commuter system. The latter is not expected to go into operation until 2023 or later. However, the Union Pacific freight track might be removed.

The council has options, said Miguel Nuñes of the Fehr and Peers firm.

He said the plan was generally supported by residents in a series of workshops, written surveys and personal interviews at civic events and the weekly farmers market, advertised with fliers and promoted online at social media sites including Facebook.

Funding came from a $400,000 grant from the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), to the four cities. The study itself cost about $230,000, Cisneros said.

Nuñes said the concept was discussed with representatives from the four cities, Los Angeles County and Caltrans, plus landscapers.

Many residents walk or ride bikes. Most did not like the way Randolph is now, he added.

Nuñes said Randolph is an unusual street with tracks in the median, two lanes (one lane in each direction on the south side and one lane in each direction on the north side. However, it narrows to two lanes in the middle of the four-mile stretch.

It is one of the few streets which dead ends on both the west and east sides, thus is not a route for traffic through the area.

Mayor Graciela Ortiz said the concept of parking is important as the city needs more parking spaces.

Councilman Valentin P. Amezquita said he was happy that the landscape planned would not be destroyed should the Eco Rapid line become a reality.

Councilwoman Karina Macias said the Randolph plan would fit into other transit projects nearby, such as the Crenshaw line subway now under construction.

In other actions March 21, the council:

• Approved a request from Leticia Martinez, executive director of the Greater Huntington Park Chamber of Commerce, to conduct its annual Carnaval Primavera (spring festival) from April 7 to 9 on Pacific Boulevard between Gage and Slauson avenues. Martinez presented a list from affected merchants saying they would not object to the three-day street closure. The chamber will reimburse the city for police and public works services totaling about $36,900, Cisneros said.

•Contracted with Citywide Engineering of Los Angeles to upgrade commercial buildings at 6425 to 6429 Pacific Blvd. and 6433 to 6437 Pacific Blvd. for a total of $100,000. Funds will come from federal community development block grants. Work includes installing ramps as required by the American Disabilities Act to accommodate the physically handicapped, new awnings, roll-up steel entry gates and signs. The buildings are owned by the Kim Family Trust in Beverly Hills.

 

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