Azusa Street Improvements
Sustainable Little Tokyo is equally invested in sustaining the history and culture of those who came before and lived alongside the Japanese American community in Little Tokyo. Azusa Street is just one example of the many historical intersections between Japanese American, African American, Latinx, Chicanx, and Native American communities—all here in Little Tokyo. Through community-driven efforts, Azusa is on its way to receiving permanent improvements to help meet our community's need for more open space and public art!
The Azusa Street is a historically and culturally significant street located north of the JACCC Noguchi Plaza. Azusa street serves as a critical link in the community's pedestrian network and is part of the Cultural Pathway, a community-identified pedestrian path where people can experience many of Little Tokyo's cultural and historical treasures.
Biddy Mason, a former slave and one of the first African American women to own property in Los Angeles, purchased land on Azusa Street and later founded and constructed the First African Methodist Episcopal Church on this land in 1888. In 1906, William Seymour founded the Apostolic Faith Mission at this same location, marking the beginning of the Azusa Street Revival, which would later grow into the Pentacostal Movement. During a time of racial segregation, Seymour's followers were multi-racial and multi-ethnic. The Azusa Street Mission was here in Little Tokyo from 1906–1931
Community members identified and prioritized Azusa Street as a space where improvements would improve the daily life for residents and the experience for visitors. SLT hosted two Pop-ups in 2016 and reimagined the alley as a functional public space. At these events, we installed temporary murals, trees, street furniture, activities, and design improvements. We also invited the community to write their thoughts on what they envisioned for the alley, which will be incorporated in the upcoming vision for permanent improvements.
Through these community efforts, LTSC is now in the early design processes for permanent improvements to Azusa Street. The community's needs and input collected during the two Pop-ups will be incorporated and approved by our community, making this a truly community-driven development! The improvements may be partially funded by the Metro TIGER grant, in connection to the Regional Connector. Check back for updates and the Azusa Street Improvement Plan draft, or sign up for our mailing list!