Mendez Wellness Center. Photo by Kate Valdez.

In the last year, the community of Boyle Heights was stripped with its first bike lanes as part of the Los Angeles Bike Plan, approved in 2010 and funded Measure R.

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But cycling and pedestrian-friendly improvements for Boyle Heights don’t stop there. Last week, an update on plans for the Metro Gold Line Eastside Access Project, which affects Boyle Heights and East Los Angeles, was presented by Metro.

As Boyle Heights Beat youth reporters Alejandro Rojas and Franklin Granados reported last October:

“The Eastside Access Project works to improve safety for bicyclists and pedestrians going to schools, businesses, and recreational centers around four Eastside Metro stations: Pico/Aliso, Mariachi Plaza, Soto, and Indiana.

Major improvements will include street striping, repaving of sidewalks, and repainting of crosswalks. Landscaping improvements to make streets more appealing include lighting, trash cans, tree plantings, and the addition of public art to reflect the local culture.”

Images from Metro Gold Line Eastside Access Project courtesy of Metropolitan Transportation Authority

During the design stage of the project, community members attended meetings and shared input on what they felt needed improvements. For street beautification, Metro hired artists Paul Botello, Linda Arreola, L.T. Mustardseed and Joseph “NUKE” Montalvo to join the design team. The artists who were either born, lived, or have lived in Boyle Heights were hired to develop concepts for transit-related enhancements that reflected the local community in a unique form and style. Although the artists are now done with their contribution, several future designs will need an artist’s hand, including a mural on the freeway underpass on 1st and Cummings streets.

Currently, the City of Los Angeles is finalizing all designs for implementation. According to MTA Project Manager Laura Cornejo, the goal is to have the project’s next groundbreaking in January 2013 and have all Eastside Access enhancements completed by 2015.

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