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After a decade of effort, the eight months-long construction of the pedestrian bridge over La Cienega Boulevard is now open. The 13 mile bridge dubbed “Park to Playa Trail” connects Kenneth Hahn State Park to the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook, directly connecting the heart of Los Angeles to the beach.
The trail has six segments: Stocker Corridor, Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area, Blair Hills – Segment C, Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook, Culver City Park, and Ballona Creek Bike Path. There are numerous access points to the Park to Playa Trail, including various locations along the Ballona Creek Bike Path, in Culver City Park, at Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook, Stoneview Nature Center, several staging areas in Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area, and Norman O. Houston Park.
Visitors including hikers, bikers, and bird watchers have been enjoying the completed trail since Oct. 29, when a socially distanced ribbon cutting ceremony took place.
In a partnership between Los Angeles County, the Baldwin Hills Conservancy, the Baldwin Hills Regional Conservation Authority, and the Mountains Recreation Conservation Authority, the Park to Playa Trail cost about $23 million to complete. The work included the construction of the Stoneview Nature Center in the Blair Hills Neighborhood of Culver City, as well as the restoration of a number of green spaces included in the trail.
Half of it goes through single lane trails and a bit of service roads in the two parks, and the other half is a section of a bike path next to the Ballona Creek. It is a very easy route to walk, pretty well marked, and features nice views of the city and the ocean. Moreover, there are restrooms and water points on the way.
Patch quoted Baldwin Hills Conservancy Executive Officer David McNeill, who speaking to those gathered at the inauguration said: “Not only will this connection provide a safe elevated crossing for pedestrians and bicycles, it creates an opportunity for wildlife to visit both ridgelines which increases the region’s biodiversity. While the ongoing expansion of Baldwin Hills Parklands has brought a lot of openings, the anticipation from the public for this bridge has been higher than I have seen in years. The Conservancy has been getting emails and calls for months leading up to this day. We’re just grateful the final piece of Park to Playa has come to fruition.”
The office of Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas reportedly said the trail’s completion is the latest step in a $23 million investment in outdoor recreation for the Baldwin Hills area. The county spent another $20 million to build new amenities along the trail, including: The Stoneview Nature Center, Milton Street Park, the Interpretive Center at Hahn Park into a state-of-the-art, the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Tree Grove, and other accessibility and recreational features.
A pedestrian bridge connecting different locations to the sea a is a great achievement for a city infamous for its pedestrian accidents. Los Angeles is the top worst city for pedestrian deaths in the country. Over 65% of all severe and fatal traffic collisions involving people walking occur on just 6% of our city streets, and it’s known as the High-Injury Network. Of the 86 traffic collision deaths in Los Angeles by May 2020, 50 victims — nearly 60% — were pedestrians killed by drivers.