Marina Central Park:
A Vision to Transform The 90 Marina Freeway into a Green Oasis
Repurposing the Past for a Sustainable Future
In the vibrant landscape of Southern California, traces of abandoned freeway projects silently remind us of roads not taken. These remnants of never-built freeways hold stories of ambitious plans and untapped potential. Among these intriguing relics is the Marina Freeway, known as Route 90, which was originally envisioned as the start of the expansive Slauson Freeway. However, only a mere three-mile segment was ever constructed, serving primarily as a glorified on-ramp for motorists heading towards the 405.
Now, forward-thinking visionaries are proposing a groundbreaking transformation for this underutilized corridor - one that could reshape the local landscape and benefit the community in remarkable ways. This visionary concept, unveiled recently as "Marina Central Park," seeks to repurpose the Marina Freeway into a sprawling public park, offering a fresh perspective on urban development and sustainability.
Unearthing the Marina Freeway's Potential
Marina Central Park, a brainchild of the transportation advocacy organization Streets For All in collaboration with landscape architecture firm SWA Group, envisions the conversion of the roughly 128-acre right-of-way that currently lines the Marina Freeway. The plan goes beyond creating green spaces; it proposes nearly 4,000 new homes, integrated roadways for vehicles, bus rapid transit lanes, and expansive bikeways. Renderings of this visionary project depict low-rise structures, standing at a modest five stories in height, with commercial spaces on the ground floor.
One of the most remarkable aspects of this proposal is its commitment to environmental harmony. Marina Central Park intends to reconnect the freeway corridor with nearby ecological treasures like the Ballona Wetlands and Centinela Creek. This transformation includes innovative additions such as new terrace decks lining the concrete channel, harmoniously blending urban development with nature.
Support and Momentum Grows
The proposal has garnered significant support from influential local figures and organizations. Notable endorsements include State Assemblymember Isaac Bryan, State Senator Lola Smallwood-Cuevas, and L.A. County Supervisor Holly Mitchell. The Del Rey Neighborhood Council has also thrown its weight behind this visionary endeavor.
At present, the project's champions are actively seeking funding to conduct a feasibility study for Marina Central Park—a process estimated to take around one year. The full realization of this ambitious vision could take up to a decade, subject to the availability of funding, an ever-essential component in projects of this scale.
Paving the Way for Transformation
In an era where the demand for new open spaces often exceeds available funding, innovative sources of financing have emerged. The Reconnecting Communities Pilot Program, authorized by the $1-trillion infrastructure bill of 2021, offers a glimmer of hope. Recently, the City of Long Beach secured $30 million in funding through this program for the realignment of Shoreline Drive, illustrating the potential of such funding sources for transformative projects.
Streets For All, the driving force behind Marina Central Park, has also demonstrated a knack for securing local funding for its initiatives. A notable example includes Culver City's commitment to funding a feasibility study for the proposed extension of the Ballona Creek Bike Path.
Marina Central Park represents an audacious vision for repurposing a forgotten freeway into a green oasis—a testament to the power of innovative urban planning and sustainable development. While the journey to realize this dream may be long and challenging, the project's proponents remain steadfast in their commitment to transforming this once-neglected corridor into a vibrant, environmentally-friendly community space.
As discussions continue, and funding opportunities arise, Marina Central Park is poised to become a symbol of Southern California's dedication to reshaping its urban environment for a more sustainable, livable future. Stay tuned for updates on this exciting project that could redefine the way we look at urban development and green spaces in the heart of Los Angeles.