As the need for safe outdoor space is more pressing than ever, the Bradley Plaza Green Alley project has opened a new community park in an old industrial neighborhood of Los Angeles. What was once an alley surrounded by factories in Pacoima is now a vibrant space that features shade trees, ADA-accessible amenities and a stormwater management system.
Project partners included LA Sanitation and Environment (LASAN), the Department of Public Works, Pacoima Beautiful, The Trust for Public Land and Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez. “I’m proud of our collaboration to deliver much-needed green space in Pacoima,” Rodriguez said. “This project showcases how we can design with both the community and environment in mind. Bradley Plaza and Green Alley brings together beautiful community gathering spaces, and engineering that will improve water quality and reduce local flooding during rainstorms. This effort will have long-term impacts and improve the quality of life in Pacoima.”
Planners expect Bradley Plaza Green Alley to improve the lives of many of the 8,500 residents who live within a 10-minute walk of the space. The alley is now a shared street that slows vehicles down while making room for walking and other outdoor activities. Bradley Plaza is a smaller part of the alley that is closed to vehicular traffic. The plaza features a shade structure, reclaimed wooden seating, a nature classroom and outdoor fitness equipment. Planners hope that all residents, especially children and families, will make use of this space.
Builders emphasized the importance of giving community members a say in the finished space. “From the beginning of the project, local community members were engaged in the design process,” said Veronica Padilla, executive director of Pacoima Beautiful, “providing feedback on the plants and trees that now line the alleyway to the fitness equipment and benches installed in the Plaza.” They especially sought input from the Fernandeño Tataviam tribe, the former owners of this land, and incorporated the tribe’s language and art into the final project.
In addition to once being an unsightly industrial alley, the site has had a problem with dirty stormwater, which often flooded the neighborhood. Now, thanks in part to landscape architects Rios Clementi Hale Studios, stormwater will drain into a series of planters, eventually releasing it into a subsurface infiltration trench. Drought-tolerant, low-water vegetation will filter the water enough so that it will replenish, rather than harm, the groundwater aquifer. The project relied on the expertise of the engineering firm Arup for stormwater management, as well as lighting design, sustainability consulting and other important aspects.
“This is exactly the type of project LASAN loves to pursue and has cultivated a unique expertise in,” said Enrique C. Zaldivar, director and general manager of LASAN. “The important and often unseen work that stormwater infrastructure does in our communities, reclaiming water and preventing flooding, can and should be paired whenever possible with other complete street projects that beautify neighborhoods and provide green space for residents.”
Images via the Trust for Public Land