The Whittier Greenway Trail, a 4.5-mile commuter and recreational bikeway, pedestrian path, and greenbelt, opened in 2009 and has had an impressively positive impact on the community by promoting active transportation, outdoor recreation, fitness, and education. Over a half million trail users enjoy the trail annually. Residents and visitors appreciate the safe space to walk, run, and ride bikes with their families and pets. A 2.8-mile eastern extension will reach the east City limit line in 2019.
The Whittier Greenway Trail is part of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority Southeast Area Bicycle Master Plan and will connect the LA County trail network to Orange County trails when the east extension is completed. The Greenway passes through residential, commercial, industrial and institutional land uses, connecting the community and allowing people to safely bike or hike through town. Benefits of the Greenway include alleviating traffic congestion and improving air quality through encouraging active transportation; improving health and community connections by providing outdoor recreation and fitness space; demonstrating water conservation with drought tolerant plants, bioswale and water recapture, and educational panels; and replacing a blighted abandoned railroad corridor with a scenic greenbelt. The Greenway connects with local and regional bus systems, including Foothill Transit, Metro, Montebello Bus Lines, and Norwalk Transit.
- Whittier Greenway Trail Information Pack
- Whittier Greenway Trail Plant Brochure
- Whittier Greenway Trail Bike Map
- Whittier Greenway Trail Station Map
The Greenway includes six “stations" reminiscent of the corridor’s railroad past, each highlighting a facet of Whittier’s history, growth, and development, along with four fitness stations.
Whittier Greenway Trail Stations
South of Penn Street, Citrus Station highlights Whittier’s early agricultural history of citrus growing and shipping. Exhibit panels use Whittier citrus packing crate labels and interpret the importance of railroad shipping to keep the small agricultural town’s economy thriving. The station is located in the community’s original industrialized area, which also included meat packing plants and a Catalina Swimwear factory, a company that, before leaving Whittier, had been in business for more than 100 years on Penn Street at Pickering Avenue. Citrus Station also includes the history of the former Sunkist packing house, now King Richard’s Antique Mall. Citrus Station is funded in part by Central Basin Water District and Metropolitan Water District.
North of Lambert Road and west of Calmada Avenue, Laurel Station features a large demonstration garden with native and low water use plants and information on water conservation in landscaping, as well as information on the flora and fauna of the Whittier Hills. The station is across the street from Laurel Elementary School and contains Narrow Leaf Milkweed; White, Purple and Montana Sages; California Buckwheat; Monkeyflowers; Bush Sunflowers; Common Yarrow; Grape Soda Lupin (which really smells like grape soda); and Scarlet Bugler, a big favorite of hummingbirds. State Parks funded the installation through its Nature Education Facilities Program, supplemented by a grant from Central Basin Water District. The California Native Plant Society sponsors free workshops on native plants and is a good source of information.
Several links to nurseries specializing in native California plants, many in the Southern California area are:
North of Lambert Road and both east and west of Mills Avenue, Oak Station describes Whittier’s founding as a Quaker colony and traces the community’s growth from a small agricultural-based community to the thriving urban/suburban community it is today. Figures from Whittier history are profiled, including Whittier’s namesake, Quaker abolitionist poet John Greenleaf Whittier, and the last Governor of Alta California (now the State of California) under Mexican rule, Pio de Jesus Pico, whose homestead is now a California State Park near the corner of Whittier and Pioneer Boulevards. Exhibits also interpret the area’s early ranch industry and water delivery history. Free off-road public parking is available. Oak Station is the current eastern terminus of the Greenway Trail and the beginning point for the east extension coming in 2019.
Located at Palm Park, Palm Station pays tribute to Whittier’s varied architectural history, predominantly Spanish, Victorian and Craftsman, represented by a series of bird houses showing home styles in miniature. Rescued columns from the former Fred C. Nelles School site and the former Theisen Building from Uptown Whittier now support an arbor shading the rest area. As you walk along the Greenway Trail, you can see these styles in the surrounding neighborhoods, or you can leave the Trail and explore the Whittier Historic Residential District to see these styles that give Whittier its unique architectural identity, and see how styles evolved with the times to adapt to California’s coastal desert climate and changing economics. Funding for the Palm Station pergola was provided by a grant from Southern California Edison Company through the Whittier Conservancy.
Near the Five Points intersection, Sycamore Station recognizes native California Sycamore trees and describes the history of surface transportation in Whittier, from wagons and trains to the railroad and the early automobiles that traveled along the path of a pre-Whittier Boulevard and the Camino Real. The old railroad "Salt Lake Route" logo is displayed and the unique mid-20th century teenage phenomenon of "cruising Whittier Boulevard" on Friday and Saturday nights is memorialized. "Thee Midniters," one of the first Chicano cross-over bands in the 20th century, immortalized cruising in the song, "Let’s Take a Trip Down Whittier Boulevard". The station ties into the Pickering Avenue and Whittier Boulevard railroad bridges, now a unique viewing point over Whittier Boulevard. Los Angeles County Fourth District Supervisor Don Knabe provided the funding.
Along Whittier Boulevard at Pacific Place, Walnut Station honors Whittier’s once thriving nut industry and includes a bioswale to manage urban run-off, along with a description of its water conservation benefits. The station tells the story of Whittier’s best-known tree, a Paradox Hybrid Walnut Tree planted in 1907, all that is left of what was once a major agricultural industry. The City cares for the tree to ensure that it will continue to grace Whittier Boulevard for as long as possible with annual inspections, special fertilizer, and careful pest control. Seedlings from the old tree have been cultivated by City staff for planting at Walnut Station to ensure the Paradox Hybrid Walnut will remain, even after the original tree is gone. Free off-road public parking is available. State Parks provided funding for the station from its Nature Education Facilities Program.
Whittier Greenway Trail Art
Kinetic wind sculptures by New Mexico artist Lyman Whitaker are installed at Oak Station (west), Five Points, and by Whittier Dog Park. Designed to resemble actual trees and flowers, the sculptures twirl and rotate at different speeds as a result of their individual construction. The copper and stainless steel sculptures will develop an organic patina over the years, making them even more part of the natural environment of the Greenway. Funding for the sculptures was provided by the City’s Art in Public Places program.
Whittier Greenway Trail Fitness Stations
Trail users can increase the physical fitness and wellness benefits of walking and biking the Greenway by using the exercise stations—all with different equipment—at Palm Station, Walnut Station, Laurel Station and Oak Station. The outdoor equipment uses a person’s body weight to provide the resistance and is intended to be used by ages 14 and older. Whittier Community Foundation and Kaiser Permanente Downey Medical Center funded the fitness equipment, with minor assistance from Southern California Edison. The nonprofit Whittier Community Foundation supports programs to benefit the Whittier community through fundraising events such as Dancing with the Whittier Stars, Paws 4 A Cause, and the Spooktacular 5K Run
For more information on the Whittier Greenway Trail fitness project or the Whittier Community Foundation and its activities, contact Greg Alaniz at firstname.lastname@example.org or the Whittier Community Foundation website.
Whittier Greenway Trail Awards
Several organizations have recognized the Whittier Greenway Trail for its design, operation, and community benefits. The City Council was pleased to accept these awards and is thankful that the trail was purchased, designed and constructed with regional, state, and federal funds, leaving our limited City funds to be used on other community priorities.
- California Park and Recreation Society
Park Planning - Specialty Park Award of Excellence, 2010
- State of California Parks
California Trails and Greenways Merit Award, 2010
- League of California Cities
Helen Putnam Award of Excellence, 2010