Skid Row infrastructure project gets nearly $40M in state funding

A bicycle connectivity and pedestrian safety program in Skid Row will benefit from $47.5 million in funding from a state grant, City Councilman Kevin de León announced Wednesday.

The funding is the largest infrastructure grant ever for Skid Row, according to de León's office.

The project includes over 2.4 miles of bicycle infrastructure, 500 street trees and over 540 pedestrian lights for the downtown Los Angeles neighborhood. It will also seek to widen sidewalks, create new bicycle connections and improve specific corridors.

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The program seeks to build a public plaza at Eighth and San Pedro streets and 27,000 square feet of reconstructed sidewalks.

The funding, via an Active Transportation Grant, includes more than $38 million from the state, and a matching grant of $9 million from the city.

"This investment will help transform not only the neighborhood, but it will create a better environment for those living on our streets and seeking to rebuild their own lives," said Troy Vaughn, president and CEO of the Los Angeles Mission.

De León, whose district includes Skid Row, is currently embroiled in a controversy over his refusal to resign for his participation in a 2021 leaked racist conversation, which included disparaging Black voters and attempts to manipulate redistricting.

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His statement in a news release from his office noted a commitment to improving conditions in Skid Row, which he called "the poorest and most overlooked community in all of Los Angeles" that is "ground zero for homelessness and poverty" and has "faced decades of broken promises."

De León was stripped of his council committee assignments — which included his post as chair of the homelessness and poverty committee — and was unanimously censured by his colleagues in October. He said the grant was "one of many ways I'm delivering for my constituents."