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Port of LA reveals draft connectivity plan for waterfront redevelopment

Construction is underway on West Harbor, the redevelopment of Port O' Call Village, in San Pedro, Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2023.

Posted on September 18, 2023

The reimagining of the Los Angeles Waterfront has been in the works since the turn of the century. With construction on the redevelopment well underway, the Port of Los Angeles last week released the first draft of its plan to better connect the area to other San Pedro neighborhoods and the region at large.

The plan includes a host of recommendations to improve access to the waterfront as well as promote mobility once visitors are there. The report examined roadways and traffic flow, public transit, pedestrian and bicycle access, and creating “points of interest” through space activation, art and more.

Connectivity is crucial to encourage tourism in the area after the more than $1 billion overhaul is complete.

“The Port of Los Angeles has made significant investments over the last two decades focused on deindustrializing the LA Waterfront and transforming it into a visitor and recreational destination,” Mike Galvin, director of waterfront and commercial real estate at the Port of Los Angeles, said in a statement. “Community input has been a critical component throughout the process.”

The port, in conjunction with landscape architecture, planning and urban design firm SWA Group, hosted six public workshops the first half of the year. Nearly 300 people attended the meetings to provide feedback on the connectivity plan, according to the port.

The draft plan was presented to the LA Harbor Commission during its Sept. 7 meeting. Another public meeting is slated for Sept. 28, during which port staff will provide a more detailed presentation and accept additional public feedback.

During the commission meeting, SWA co-CEO Gerdo Aquino said nine comments “rose to the top”:

  • Walkability and bikeability are important;
  • Public transit improvements;
  • Trolley and water taxis should be used to attract visitors;
  • Visitors like a good view and historic landmarks;
  • Improved signage;
  • More amenities with better connection;
  • More lighting, open space, seating and art;
  • Sustainability and climate resiliency;
  • Access to the waterfront is limited mostly to personal cars or walking.

“Now more than ever, people are seeking a reconnection with themselves, each other, and the natural environment around them,” Aquino read from his presentation. “San Pedro’s Waterfront Connectivity Plan is the catalyst that will allow this to happen.”

Public transit will play a major role in the area’s connectivity, according to the report. The plan proposes a transit hub at Seventh Street and Pacific Avenue to link services to the waterfront as well as expanded rubber tire trolley service and the return of the historic Waterfront Red Car trolley—modified from its last iteration that ran from 2003 to 2015.

The additions would connect to existing transit, including Metro bus routes 205 and 246, PVTA Line 225, DASH San Pedro Route, Commuter Express 142 and the Metro J Line (Silver).

Other recommendations include connecting and extending the two existing promenades along the water to create a single, miles-long path with ample space for pedestrians and cyclists, open space, seating, lighting and more. The plan also calls for “smart parking” signage that would direct visitors to different parking lots and show how many available spaces each has in real time.

The waterfront encompasses more than 400 acres, 15 marinas, and 3,736 recreational vessel slips and dry docks, and serves two million visitors per year. The redevelopment and connectivity plan will “take this waterfront to the next level,” Galvin said.

Fourteen projects have been completed as part of the waterfront redevelopment, including the 22nd Street Park, the Los Angeles cruise ship promenade and phase one of the waterfront promenade at the former Ports O’ Call Village among them. Six other projects are “in progress” or under construction, including the 22-acre West Harbor site, which will fully revamp the Ports O’ Call area with new shops and dining.

Another 12 projects are listed as potential developments, including 67 acres of parking, the Cabrillo Beach Youth Waterfront Sports Center, a marina, a warehouse and a new cruise terminal.

The public comment period for the final connectivity plan closes on Nov. 6. The finalized project will then be presented to the harbor commission on Dec. 7.


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