Compton Creek Bike Path
Years: 2009 to present
This project is part of RTC's Urban Pathways Initiative. Learn more about this work.
El Nido Family Centers; Hub City Teens (HCT); City of Compton; Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition; National Park Service RTCA; Compton Jr. Posse; Council for Watershed Health
Community Assessment; trail access evaluation; GIS-based trail maps; trail improvement plan, trail counts, formation of trail ambassadors, regular programming on trail.
The Compton Creek Bike Path and Multi0use Trail crosses the city of Compton along Compton Creek, providing precious open space access to urban neighborhoods along the way. Compton Creek itself is a tributary of the Los Angeles River and is channelized to provide flood control protection to the area. The first 3.3 miles of the bike path are a paved trail extending from El Segundo Boulevard south through the residential neighborhoods of Compton to Greenleaf Boulevard. This segment provides access to schools, the civic center, churches and the Metro light rail station. It has great potential for numerous greenway connections to schools and the development of pocket parks along the route. A Garden Park Master Plan has been created with the community taskforce to envision the length of the creek in this section filled with parks and open space amenities. An equestrian trail runs along the west bank of the creek and is used by several clubs and riders from adjacent neighborhoods.
Another two-mile section of paved trail exists farther south along the creek, but it is separated from the main trail by the light rail line, the Artesia Freeway and the east fork of Compton Creek. Access to this southern segment is limited to a few large streets, and the trail ends at the confluence of Compton Creek and the Los Angeles River. This section of the creek channel has a natural bottom, so during parts of the year the channel bottom is covered with vegetation, and path users can spot herons, egrets and other wildlife.
Increased use of the existing trail by improving safety, connectivity and access is the primary goal of RTC's work on the Compton Creek trail. As the path is one of the Urban Pathways Initiative projects funded by The Kresge Foundation, we seek to increase physical activity in the area to improve the opportunities of Compton residents for active transportation and healthy recreation. In 2009 and 2010, we worked with the community to assess the opportunities and constraints of the trail and develop a plan that builds on the Compton Creek Regional Garden Park Master Plan with recommendations and projects to improve the trail. We began implementing the plan with our partners at Hub City Teens in 2011 with recommendations for street crossings in our Across the Arterial report, Trail Ambassadors speaking to community groups, and events on the trail including BikeFest and 5K walks. In 2012 we are focusing on regular use of the trail by walking clubs and improving the physical appearance of the trail with regular clean-ups, beautification and possibly some community artwork.
With less than one acre of open space per 1,000 residents, Compton is well below the national recommendation of 10 acres per 1,000 residents, as outlined by the National Recreation and Parks Association. Compton Creek and its parallel paths have the potential to help increase availability of outdoor recreation for residents with new parkland and joint-use spaces along the creek, improved connections between the trail and the Los Angeles River Bikeway, and better community identification and ownership of the trail.