Compton residents expand on their position on the Wilmington Port Access Corridor
We hate game playing and sleight of hand. Residents do not want to know when Wilmington Avenue became a truck route; we want to know when Wilmington Avenue became part of a Port Access Connector Plan to run from downtown Los Angeles to the Los Angeles Port with heavier-ton trucks as part of an expanded regional strategy.Those who grew up along Wilmington Avenue already know it was an old designated “truck route,” then the signage was removed and or changed when the bridges fell into disrepair. However, and this is a big however, no one who lives in the area–and we moved here in the 1960’s–remembers a large concentration of trucks running continuously on Wilmington Avenue Trucks were and have always been infrequent along the “truck route” and complained about immediately when they became intrusive. And while the bridges are increasingly structurally unsound and do require addressing for residents’ safety, it is the intent to raise bridge weight capacity and open the Wilmington Avenue residential adjacent areas to today’s incursion of an elevated frequency and capacity of trucks running to the Los Angeles Port and the industrial area which is in question. No one in Beverly Hills or Malibu is being asked to compromise their residential living like this. Residents have a say in the decision, today.
But to be specific, it is not the “truck route” but the creation and the expansion into a major “truck corridor” running from downtown Los Angeles, hence the name Port Access Connector, which is troubling. If you look at the map submitted with the grant, an expanded Wilmington Avenue is planned to run from downtown Los Angeles through Watts to Compton to Carson to the Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro. However, Wilmington narrows immediately north of the 105-freeway, expands near Century Boulevard, and begins at 92nd Street. It then changes name and continues into downtown as Elm Street before becoming Wilmington again at some other point. It looks from the map submitted with the grant that the good people of Watts might also need be expect a makeover to make Wilmington Avenue run through to downtown. Either this or the map is wrong in what it depicts and Mayor Aja Brown intentionally misled the federal government when applying for the grant, or the map reveals the very real future that is to come. Place your bets and take your pick.
The entire argument about CMP (Congestion Management Program) and CEQA is therefore facetious and leads you off the path. We are talking about TIGER, The Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery, or TIGER Discretionary Grant. By saying it is not the Mayor’s fault Wilmington was once a truck route, you switch the argument to something of which no one even accused her. It is the same type of switch in argument that was used to deflect Brickyard complaints. Namely that trucks already go in and out and, in this case, over the bridges anyway, so what is the problem?
First, the problem is the very real intent to create an expanded Port Connector through Compton that will ramp up truck traffic, increase both the frequency and number of trucks, oblige a greater weight capacity, add pollution and fumes, create serious safety issues, increase overall activity, and result in greater incursion into the residential community. Wilmington Avenue improved and bridges fixed, the citizens wanted; an expanded truck port corridor, they did not. Second, since the TIGER Grant obviously was not approved, the citizens of Compton will now be paying for bridges.
And I quote: “During the May 24, 2016 council meeting a public hearing was held to certify this years CMP and was approved 3-0. The money that follows the designation will go into the building of the new bridges along Wilmington. Because the annual amount has a significant portion going towards the rebuilding of the bridges, the mayor put Measure P to the voters to ensure additional monies would be available to shore up the difference.”
Really? Does anyone remember the Mayor discussing during her campaign how Measure P would be used to build bridges? Exactly. If you were not privy to this or its budget, it makes you wonder what other pleasantries are hidden away in Measure P. A 20 Million Dollar Youth Performance Art Center maybe? And what do the trucks need on Wilmington right now? Bridges.
That is why the Brickyard is relevant and the Mayor’s connection to transportation.
Our awareness may be dawning now, but regional planning is two decades along. How long have you been hearing stories in Compton about what the county and others have planned for Compton? And so now the good citizens of Compton through Measure P will also be paying to enhance the road and bridge capacity for trucks. And you thought it was for the pothole around the corner from you. We don’t mean to say it again but “You been hoodwinked, bamboozled, led astray.”
As for the documents that tell you this is the intent and there is nothing you can do, anyone want to ask Omar Bradley about the Port Access Plan or CMP since he was the sitting Mayor in 1993 when this was enacted?. A plan and intent of this nature is not just due to a report that needs to be filed by the Mayor for its funding. Otherwise, every prior administration would be obligated. TIGER was a written request for a federal grant from the United States Department of Transportation that outlines a new transportation corridor on Wilmington to meet “national objectives.” It is a major departure from what the citizens of Compton desire without first alerting them to the change and inviting them to the discussion. It is a fundamental alteration in the landscape and flow of Compton, and while some may, not all in Compton are willing to fall asleep to blessed reassurance.
Daughters of Compton since the 1960’s
About TIGER Grants
The Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery, or TIGER Discretionary Grant program, provides a unique opportunity for the DOT to invest in road, rail, transit and port projects that promise to achieve national objectives. Since 2009, Congress has dedicated nearly $4.6 billion for seven rounds of TIGER to fund projects that have a significant impact on the Nation, a region or a metropolitan area.