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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Transit-Oriented Development Without Displacement: Strategies to Help Pacoima Businesses Thrive

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Bounded by mountains and freeways, the culturally-rich, working-class community of Pacoima faces a legacy of environmental degradation and historical injustice. Power plants, landfills, toxic release sites, lead contamination, freeways, and a municipal airport create a powerful cocktail of airborne and ground soil pollution, causing substantial impacts to community public health. Through the State’s Transformative Climate Communities Program (TCC), Pacoima received a historically significant amount of capital for green infrastructure investments. The Green Together Collaborative secured a $23 million TCC grant in 2018 to implement urban greening and streetscape improvement projects in Pacoima and Sun Valley. At the same time, Pacoima is anticipating an at-grade light rail transit line through the San Fernando Valley. Considering the risks of displacement, gentrification, and cultural erasure associated with transit expansion, this research focuses on commercial anti displacement strategies that can support the predominantly immigrant-owned small business community in the corridor. Our findings will support Pacoima Beautiful, the only environmental justice organization in the neighborhood and part of the Green Together Collaborative, in completing a Displacement Avoidance Plan to mitigate the potential impacts of the TCC investments, particularly the East San Fernando Rail Line extension. This research answers two questions: (1)What are the concerns, experiences, and priorities of Pacoima small businesses facing transit-related displacement pressures? (2) How can community groups respond to displacement pressures from rail transit expansion to ensure thriving community businesses?

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