There’s a party of sorts going on in Boyle Heights, a heavily Latino portion of Los Angeles a few miles east of downtown. The place has received nearly $1.5 billion in public improvements in the past two years, including the Metro Gold Line East Side Extension.
Friday, Metro’s CEO and LA City Council member Jose Huizar kicked off a $12 million project to improve the infrastructure surrounding the new rail line.
“This is a long-lasting commitment to improve, not only the transportation benefits that come with a new rail line, but also to improve the local businesses and to allow residents and pedestrians more access to the rail line that opened about a year ago,” Huizar said.
Running from East LA through Boyle Heights into Chinatown and then onto Pasadena, the Gold Line is “opening up the world” for many Boyle Heights residents, said Huizar.
Part of the improvement funding will go towards supporting a grassroots artist movement in the First Street corridor that runs parallel to the rail line.
“We saw that emerging artist community coming about so we wanted to support it,” said Huizar. “One way of supporting it is to improve some of the very old infrastructure on that street, to improve the pedestrian access to the local shops to improve the facades on the buildings.”
The long-term aim of the project is to not only improve access for residents, but to also attract tourists to an area famous for its mariachis — and now a younger set of artists.