How the Port of Los Angeles is repurposing, renewing & reconnecting the LA waterfront

In Los Angeles, California, big things are happening along a stretch of decrepit waterfront, thanks to the Port of Los Angeles (America’s busiest port). The site is currently dominated by old industrial buildings, plus some storage tanks owned by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.

Two new public green spaces are being created: the 9-acre Wilmington Waterfront Promenade and the Avalon Promenade and Gateway. The projects total $24-million, and are designed to repurpose, renew and reconnect the area, in a good example of the 3Re Strategy in action. A 4-acre event space and a playground will be among those new purposes.

I am laser-focused on bringing investment dollars to the LA Waterfront and am ultimately grateful to the Port of Los Angeles for continuing its commitment to building a beautiful new promenade for our community in Wilmington,” said 15th District Los Angeles Councilman Joe Buscaino back in 2015. “Along with the Wilmington Waterfront Park and our efforts to revitalize Avalon Boulevard, Wilmington is on its way to a bright future.

Wilmington Waterfront Promenade

This project includes a waterfront promenade, pedestrian plaza, parking lot, realignment of Water Street adjacent to the railroad tracks and parking.

This will create a “window on the waterfront” for the Wilmington community, with the promenade measuring approximately 1,300 feet in length and 30 feet wide, and providing spacious public access to the water’s edge adjacent to the Banning’s Landing Community Center.

Project improvements to the eight-acre site will include landscaping, irrigation, signage, lighting, and site furnishings such as public seating, bike racks and public drinking fountains. Design of the project will entail realignment of Water Street to a northeast/southeast direction to parallel existing railroad tracks. A freight facility currently on the property will be demolished. Project improvements will also entail landscaping, irrigation, signage, lighting, as well as site furnishing like public seating, bike racks and public drinking fountains.

In 2015, the Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners approved a contract with Boston-based Sasaki Associates, Inc. to design the Wilmington Waterfront Promenade. Landscape architecture services are being provided by Los Angeles-based Studio MLA.

In 2017, the Port of Los Angeles held a public meeting to present the community with the updated design for the Wilmington Waterfront Promenade, which evolved from the original Environmental Impact Report and Port Master Plan renderings to its current detailed design based on community feedback.

Now in 2018, the Port is finalizing the design phase before readying the project for construction, which is expected to begin in 2019 at a total project cost of $52.7 million, paid by the Port of Los Angeles. The final project should be completed in 2021.

Avalon Promenade and Gateway Project

This project involves the construction of a pedestrian bridge along Avalon Boulevard to provide pedestrian access to the future Wilmington Waterfront Promenade.

In 2017, the Los Angeles Harbor Commission approved a contract with engineering firm T.Y. Lin International to design the 1,300-foot-long walkway. In 2017 and 2018, the Port of Los Angeles held three design workshops to garner public input on the design.

Now in 2018, the Port is starting the design phase, which should take about one year. Construction is expected to begin in 2019 or 2020 at a total project cost of $23.8 million, which is also being paid by the Port of Los Angeles. The final phase should be completed in 2021.

The Wilmington Waterfront Promenade is among six public improvement projects—three in Wilmington and three in San Pedro—that were approved last February as part of the Port’s Public Access Investment Plan. The Wilmington Waterfront Development Project Environmental Impact Report (EIR) was certified back in June of 2009. The engineering, architectural and landscaping design phase of the promenade project is projected to cost about $3.19 million, and should be completed by mid-2018.

These two projects are just a small part of a much larger effort by the Port of Los Angeles to enhance the city’s valuable waterfront. On March 20, 2018, the Port of Los Angeles held a community town hall to provide an update on the progress and development along the LA Waterfront.

Guided by three principles (build/activate/attract), the Port of Los Angeles has invested over $600 million in public access enhancement (reconnecting) and waterfront redevelopment (repurposing and renewing) projects to date.

They plan to invest an additional $400 million in the coming decade to provide additional open space and enhance the ease of public access, all of it using a sustainable approach to landscape design, planning, and urban architecture.

All images are courtesy of the Port of Los Angeles.

See Port of Los Angeles website.

See Sasaki website.

See Studio MLA website.

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