Taking part in the groundbreaking were (from left): Alfred Mata, deputy city engineer, Bureau of Engineering; Yukio Kawaratani, Little Tokyo Community Council Transportation Committee; City Councilmember Jose Huizar; Carlos Rios, principal transportation engineer, L.A. Department of Transportation; Kerney Marine, assistant director, Bureau of Street Services; Chris Komai, chair, Little Tokyo Community Council. (Sheri Mandel/City of Los Angeles)

Ground was broken April 12 on $5.3 million in street improvements coming to Little Tokyo.

Taking part in the ceremony were Los Angeles City Councilmember Jose Huizar, Little Tokyo Community Council Chairman Chris Komai, the Bureau of Engineering, the City’s Department of Transportation, the Bureau of Street Lighting, and community members.

The improvements are part of Huizar’s DTLA Forward initiative and include extending the pedestrian plaza by the Japanese American National Museum and connecting it to the Go For Broke Monument. Additional enhancements will close the slip lane at Second Street and Alameda Street for public art.

The scope of the project encircles Little Tokyo, from Alameda on the east, Third Street and San Pedro to Fourth on the south, to Main Street and Judge John Aliso Street on the west, and First Street and Temple Street on the north.

Once completed, the project will bring 50 curb ramps, 56 pedestrian lights, 104 planted trees, continental crosswalks at six intersections, two new traffic signals, and more than 22,000 square feet of sidewalk repairs.

“Little Tokyo is a historic neighborhood, rich in tradition and Japanese culture,” said Huizar. “For generations, it has been one of the City of Los Angeles’ and DTLA’s premier destinations. These upgrades will vastly improve the pedestrian experience so that locals and visitors can continue to enjoy Little Tokyo, a true Los Angeles treasure.”

Funding for the improvements comes from about $3.1 million in Active Transportation Program funds and $2.2 million in Prop. C funds. The city’s Bureau of Engineering estimates the improvements will be completed by early 2020.

The project is one of several in the area, including improvements in the Arts District and Metro’s Regional Connector, that will dramatically transform the space between City Hall and the new Sixth Street Bridge. Trees that have damaged sidewalks and cannot be safely trimmed back at the roots will be replaced at a two-to-one margin.

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