A new coalition has formed to oppose freeway expansion in Southeast L.A. County. The Happy City Coalition is opposing freeway widening and its harm effects on communities, health, environment, and traffic.
In September, Downey resident Alexandria Contreras was one of the first people to raise major concerns about Metro plans to demolish hundreds of homes in order to widen the 605 and 5 Freeways. Metro announced its 605 Freeway Corridor Improvement Project (605CIP) planned to impact more than 1,200 properties – with the lion’s share of home demolition in the cities of Downey and Santa Fe Springs.
Contreras made opposition to freeway widening a key tenet of her campaign to unseat Downey Mayor Blanca Pacheco. While Contreras lost the election, she was successful in shifting the public debate over freeway expansion. Downey elected officials – who had previously been supportive or quiet about the widening – came out against it. The Metro board responded to demolition concerns by delaying project approval while Metro staff study less harmful alternatives.
Downey area neighbors recently formed The Happy City Coalition, which held its first meeting last Saturday. The “No More Lanes” slideshow from that meeting is available online.
The Coalition’s mission and goals include stopping the 605CIP freeway expansion, and supporting a more walkable, bikeable, transit-oriented future for Downey its Southeast L.A. County neighbors.
Mission: We are a coalition of neighbors who believe that in advocating for a happier tomorrow, we must fight for each other’s dignity & well being in all things. We are fighting to stop the I-605 & I-5 freeway interchange expansion, to protect people’s homes & generational wealth, to save our environment from further pollution, and to ensure the racist practice of bulldozing communities of color in California ends.
Goal: To build a strong, anti-racist community-oriented network throughout Southeast LA County that will focus on bringing housing to our cities, clean water, transit-oriented networks, and pedestrian- and biking-friendly infrastructure to the region.