BALDWWIN HILLS — County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, leaders from the Los Angeles County Parks and Recreation Department and partnering agencies, and local dignitaries marked the groundbreaking of the transformative pedestrian bridge that will span across La Cienega Boulevard with a celebratory breakfast and speaking program Feb. 19.
This is the last phase of development of the Park to Playa Trail that connects the Baldwin Hills Parklands to the Pacific Ocean.
“The Park to Playa Trail started out as a vision,” Ridley-Thomas said. “A vision that we could connect the Pacific Ocean to this incredible space we know as the Baldwin Hills Park Lands. This will be the first seamless walking and biking trail created that will connect the communities of South Los Angeles directly to the beach.”
“Today, because of Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas’ vision to connect people and parks, Park to Playa is over 13 miles long linking Kenneth Hahn Regional County Park to a string of parks, open spaces and many communities,” said John Wicker, director of the county Parks and Recreation Department. “We are proud to unite joggers, cyclist, hikers, and residents of all walks of life from Park to Playa, through a world class bridge development.”
It was 10 years ago, that the work began to make this vision a reality, and since then, the county Departments of Parks and Recreation and Public Works, the Baldwin Hills Conservancy, and the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority along with local jurisdictions and community organizations have been working together to complete the trail, which spans multiple jurisdictions, including the cities of Culver City, Los Angeles and state park property.
“When I think about Park to Playa I’m going to be thinking about building bridges, building bridges among people,” said Mujeres de la Tierra President Irma Muñoz. “Thanks to the efforts and leadership of Supervisor Ridley-Thomas we will finally have access to our great beaches, access that we didn’t have before.”
“The Baldwin Hills Conservancy has been working in lock step with the county to implement the vision of a regional trail that traverses the parklands and ends up at the coast,” said Baldwin Hills Conservancy Executive Vice President David McNeill. “Putting a pedestrian, bicycle and wildlife bridge over La Cienega marks the final piece of the Park to Playa Trail.
“From the inception of the Park to Playa everything has been done exceptionally well, on target and on time,” said Blair Hills Association member Annie Wilson. “The input of the Baldwin Hills Association has been well received by the county.”
“My husband and I frequently walk the “Park to Playa Trails,” added Blair Hills resident Bobbi Gold. “We especially enjoyed the Scenic Overlook and Stoneview Nature Center as well as the hikes and views in Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area.”
Over the past seven years the six other segments of the trail were completed:
• In 2013, a direct connection was created into Hahn Park for the View Park and Windsor Hills communities with the Eastern Ridgeline Trail.
• In 2016, a trailhead at the Stocker Corridor was created which links the trail to Rueben Ingold Park.
• In 2016, one seamless trail was created through Hahn Park which allows users to walk from La Brea Avenue to La Cienega Boulevard.
• In 2017, a trail was constructed that runs parallel to Hetzler Road to avoid conflicts between pedestrians and drivers.
• In 2018, on the west side of La Cienega, a trail was completed connecting the Stoneview Nature center to the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook.
• And in 2018 the connection from the trail to Ballona Creek at Jefferson Boulevard was improved.
This last phase of construction will connect the Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area to the Stoneview Nature Center and on to the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook. The connection over La Cienega Boulevard will be achieved by the construction of a pedestrian bridge that will also serve as a wildlife corridor. This final link is expected to be completed and open to the public this fall.
Wave Staff Report