Crenshaw Boulevard traffic detoured this weekend

Construction for the new metro rail line on Crenshaw blvd. (April 2014)

Construction for the new metro rail line on Crenshaw blvd. (April 2014)

Construction on an underground rail station for the Crenshaw light rail line will shut down Crenshaw Boulevard for 12 days, beginning Sunday at 9 p.m. until Mar. 27.

Crenshaw Blvd. will be inaccessible to motorists between Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Stocker Street, and from King Boulevard from 43rd Street to Vernon Avenue.

Vehicles can cross Crenshaw Boulevard at King, at Vernon Avenue, Stocker Street and 43rd.

Detours will direct south-bound drivers east on King Boulevard, south on Western Avenue and west on Vernon back to Crenshaw. Northbound commuters will detour along the same route in the opposite direction, according to Metro.

The Crenshaw light rail line will have eight stops, connecting South Los Angeles neighborhoods to a final stop near Los Angeles International Airport. The line is scheduled to be completed by 2019.

A hidden treasure in Crenshaw

imageListen to the audio story from Annenberg Radio News:

On busy Crenshaw Boulevard there lies peace and tranquility in the large orange house on the corner. With a Buddha statue and large paper lanterns on the porch, it is unlike all the other homes on the block.

This house is the Dharma Vijaya Buddhist Temple, where you can hear chanting everyday. The temple moved from Hollywood to Crenshaw in 1980 after facing religious and racial intolerance. The abbot and founder of the temple, Walpola Piyananda says he has never felt unwelcome in Crenshaw.

“There are beautiful houses, neighbors are wonderful not making any difficulties. Fortunately in this neighborhood we didn’t get any trouble,” said Piyananda.

Crenshaw Boulevard is the home of many other churches and denominations, however many residents in the area don’t know that the temple, or any practice of Buddhism even exists.

As a local Crenshaw reporter, said he’d never heard of any Buddhism in the area.

“I think most people from what I know in this area would probably be Christian, either Baptist, Methodist, mostly Protestant Christian within the area. I had no idea there were any Buddhist temples or anything Buddhist in Crenshaw period,” said Brian Carter.

There are over 400 Buddhist temples in the Los Angeles area, but only a few people practice and come to Piyananda from Cresnshaw.

“Here most of the people are coming in Sri Lankan communities, born Buddhist families, Tai people, sometimes other ethnicities,” said Piyananda.

The Dharma Vijaya temple offers spiritual advice, religious counseling, and meditation. They don’t advertise within the community and are open to all religions.

“Buddhism we are not trying to convert anyone to our religion. If anyone needs any assistance we help them,” said Piyananda.

After 32 years, the Dharma Vijaya temple has become a permanent fixture in Crenshaw and is helping give back to a community that knows little about its existence.

Crenshaw celebrates Taste of Soul Festival

The 5th Annual Taste of Soul Festival livened up Crenshaw Boulevard with soul food and soulful music. The event was presented by the Los Angeles Sentinel Newspaper and Mothers in Action, in conjunction with Radio Free 102.3 KJLH and the 94.7 The Wave.

An estimated 100,000 people attended the event, which monopolized Crenshaw Boulevard from Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to Rodeo Boulevard.

Food options included fried chicken, pulled pork, corn on the cob and pecan pie. Beyond the soul food, the festival boasted several performance acts and informational booths.