City officials on Tuesday morning marked the beginning of construction for the first of four street enhancements projects along the Metro Gold Line in Boyle Heights, where Los Angeles Councilman Jose Huizar (CD-14) also announced he would ask the city council later that day to dedicate a street in the area in honor of a famed Mexican singer.
Huizar made the announcement during the groundbreaking ceremony for improvement to be made on Bailey Street near White Memorial Medical Center, part of the $12 million Eastside Access Improvements project.
Huizar wants the city council to approve signage dedicating Bailey Street as “Avenida de Lucha Reyes,” though the street will not be renamed, according to Huizar spokesperson Rick Coca.
“Ranchera” singer “Lucha Reyes,” whose full name is Maria de Luz Flores Aceves, is already a fixture in the area, with a statue nearby at Mariachi Plaza.
“Lucha Reyes is an icon to the Mexican community,” Huizar said in a press release. “Dedicating a street in her honor adjacent to Mariachi Plaza will complement the improvements currently underway.”
Eastside Access projects, funded by voter-approved Measure R, aim to encourage residents to use the Gold Line Eastside Extension that opened in 2006 by making local streets safer and more attractive.
The Bailey Street project will include extended curbs and sidewalks to make the pedestrian crossing distance shorter on Bailey at 1st Street and Pennsylvania. Dual curb ramps, enhanced crosswalks, permeable paving, a hearty landscape with shade trees and new seating and lighting will beautify the corner. The highlight will be two small gardens at the corner of Bailey and Pennsylvania where there will be colorful native drought-tolerant plants, seating areas and Mayan-influenced elements to enhance the streetscape, according to the city.
The project adjacent to Mariachi Plaza is expected to be complete by fall 2013 at a cost of about $600,000. The City of Los Angeles is overseeing the construction, while Metro did the initial planning and design.
“Today we begin a transformation project that will benefit the Eastside community,” said Metro Deputy CEO Paul Taylor. “Because Metro is not just about moving people but enhancing neighborhoods, the revitalization process that is taking place here at Boyle Heights and also in Little Tokyo and East Los Angeles along the Metro Gold Line will be far more meaningful than just pushing trains along tracks.”
The other projects along Boyle Heights’ stretch of the Gold Line include: a plaza at 1st Street and Cummings Plaza that will connect Soto Street and Mariachi Plaza station through landscape, seating, art and shade elements; an Arts and Civic Streetscape between Mariachi Plaza and Soto Street stations with new sidewalks, trees and lighting; a bike-friendly streetscape on Mott St.; and new safety surface and exercise equipment at the Evergreen Jogging Path.
A Bicycle Network on 1st and Echandia Streets have already been implemented. Sharrows (or shared lane markings) have been added to adjacent streets to improve safety for cyclists.
In unincorporated East LA, the Gold Line’s Indiana, Maravilla, East LA Civic Center and Atlantic Boulevard stations will also receive improvements, but those projects are being handled by the County.
For more on Eastside Access visit http://www.metro.net/projects/eastside/goldline_eastside_access/