Until recently, the LA River has largely been a concrete canal that is virtually inaccessible to most residents. But a giant master plan completed in 2007 is now guiding efforts to restore the river and turn it into one of the longest recreational zones in the US. A section of the newly redeveloped river has opened to the public with recreational trails—and it will be open to boating this summer. Phase I of the Glendale Narrows Riverwalk is now operational, and more sections are expected soon.
The LA River begins in the San Fernando Valley and moves east and then south through LA county. Flooding in the early part of the 19th century led to the river being walled up in a concrete canal to protect residents and property. The revitalization is a large scale effort involving many state and local groups as well as non-profits to convert the river back to a more natural state while still maintaining flood control. A series of dams, lakes and flood protection strategies will ensure that no property is damaged, while improving access for residents and creating a variety of recreational opportunities like boating, kayaking, hiking, biking, horse riding and more public open space. There are also many benefits of converting the river back to a natural state to create new animal habitats, improve water and air quality and decrease urban heat island effect.
There are over 240 projects proposed along a 32 mile stretch. The master plan created by Mia Lehrer + Associates is guiding many of the projects and overall vision. Already miles of biking and walking trails have been created and now a new park is open to the public. The Glendale Narrows Riverwalk, a 4.6 mile portion between Griffith Park and Elysian Park, opened to the public in December. Phase I completed two small parks, an equestrian facility, public art, and a half-mile of recreational trail. Next up in Phase II and III will be to expand the trails and create a new bridge connecting the Riverwalk to Griffith Park.
Via A|N Blog
Images ©Mia Lehrer + Associates and LA River