LA Port, Housing Authority look to add play activities to stretch of San Pedro’s waterfront promenade
A drab section of San Pedro’s waterfront promenade that’s used for walking — and not much else — will get some new life, with plans in the works to bring a children’s one-way bike loop, a play area and other more active features to the green stretch.
Los Angeles harbor commissioners this week unanimously approved joining with the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles to create the new parkway, on Harbor Boulevard from First to Third streets.
The touchup on that stretch of the promenade could be finished by the end of 2022, officials said.
And if so, the timing would be fortuitous.
Farther south, work continues on a $36 million town square and promenade, which could be finished by July. And that project, in turn, is tied to the West Harbor development, which aims to transform the site that once housed Ports O’ Call Village into a bustling entertain hub — filled with restaurants, a 6,200-seat amphitheater, a brewery and beer garden, and possibly a beach. West Harbor, which could also end up with the Battleship Iowa as its backdrop (if proposals to move the ship there win approval), is scheduled to open in late 2022.
Taken together, the three projects could combine to form one connected, walkable, entirely redefined waterfront promenade that will appeal to everyone: People who want to stroll along the water, families looking for kid-friendly fun and couples enjoying a date night
The project to redo the promenade’s more passive stretch, would especially serve families in what will be a redeveloped Rancho San Pedro low-cost housing development across the street. Phased construction of the new housing development is expected to begin in 2024 and end in 2037.
The Housing Authority, which is creating the new project with development group One San Pedro, will fund most of the parkway’s cost — paying the $1.4 million for construction. The Port of Los Angeles will be responsible for taking out the fencing and rails where the old Red Car line ran. But the right-of-way, port officials said, will remain for a possible future light rail connection.
While the decorative promenade water fountains to the north and the overall ambiance of the promenade have been popular, surveys have shown that people think there needs to be more to do.
“This is a very conceptual idea,” said Jenny Scanlin, the Housing Authority’s chief strategy development officer.
Residents of the housing development across the street, she said, probably use the area the most.
“One complaint is there isn’t much to do on the promenade except go for a walk,” she told harbor commissioners during a virtual presentation Thursday, April 15, “so people really liked the idea of activating the promenade with small activities along the way.”
The San Pedro Chamber of Commerce also supports the idea, President and CEO Elise Swanson told commissioners.
Harbor Commissioner Anthony Pirozzi said removing the fencing and tracks would go a long way in helping families access the parkway. He also recommended a hard stop light — rather than a flashing yellow warning system — be put in at the planned Second Street crosswalk. He also suggested protective street bollards or setbacks be considered, since Harbor Boulevard is a busy street.
Those more detailed plans, Scanlin said, will be considered moving forward.
Other plans, meanwhile, call for shade trees, landscaping and a possible kiosk.
“I’m in favor of this, it seems like a relatively simple concept,” said Commissioner Diane Middleton.
While some community members said the public was not included in the planning process, the commissioners largely disagreed.
“This process seems to be unbelievably transparent,” Commissioner Edward Renwick said of the handle of complaints.
A representative from the Central Neighborhood Council, in fact, had a designated seat on the planning discussion group — though it was never filled. There also were several community meetings, planners said, that were open to the public.
“I particularly appreciate the respect being given to the people who live directly across the street,” said Commissioner Lucia Moreno-Linares. “While I’m trying to understand the concerns of those not in support of this, I think a lot of weight has to be given to the people who already live there.”