Along the river itself, the City of L.A. has built pilot “green street” projects in the Elysian Valley to divert rainwater into soft-ground swales instead of the storm sewers. The County and a slew of public and nonprofit partners just unveiled their initial green street, Elmer Avenue, in their ambitious Sun Valley project: it’s designed to model large- scale sustainable water management in an L.A. River sub-watershed in the northeast San Fernando Valley. In the Valley farther west, the 2007 Tujunga Wash Greenway diverts water out of the wash into a new parallel stream. And in Long Beach, the County’s Dominguez Gap Wetland project diverts stormwater out of the river and the storm sewers to sustain a magnificent, blooming, duck-packed 37-acre wetland.
What Good Stuff has MRCA Been Doing?
A lot! In 1995, we built the very first new official L.A. River park—Elysian Valley Gateway Park, on the Glendale Narrows stretch at the foot of Elysian Park—and we’ve been active on the river and its tributaries ever since. We’ve built outdoor classrooms on the Studio City stretch and on Compton Creek. At our new “stormwater park,” Marsh Park, we funnel rainfall off the street into a slightly sunken meadow to capture it and keep it out of the river.
We partnered up with the County to make the mile-long Tujunga Wash Greenway happen. We’re converting three streets along the Glendale Narrows stretch into green streets. We’ve also helped fund greening projects in the South, including Maywood Riverfront Park, which more than doubles the park space in the city of Maywood. And we’re building or contributing funds to a second phase on Elmer Avenue, a 5-acre park by an elementary school on Compton Creek, and many other projects.
We see the river’s revitalization as a key initiative in our mission to provide park space for all Angelenos, and to make our watersheds green and healthy both in our urban neighborhoods and up in the mountains. Maybe one day soon, Angelenos won’t just know something big is afoot on the L.A. River. We’ll say, “Yes, L.A. has a river. In fact, we have a 51-mile L.A River Greenway and Bikeway. We know where it is. And it’s gorgeous.”
Tujunga Wash Greenway is a 1-mile stretch that includes walking paths, native landscaping, interpretive displays, and a meandering stream.
Marsh Park features a grassy meadow that acts to capture and clean local rainfall.
Summer 2011 7
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