Projects Progress in Lincoln Heights and Santa Monica

January 29, 2012 § 2 Comments

Demolition underway at the 6.3-acre Albion Dairy site in Lincoln Heights. Photos taken looking downstream from the North Spring Street Bridge. The existing Downey Recreation Center park (with green lawn) is visible on the far left. The Los Angeles River is on the right, with the North Main Street Bridge visible.

I recently spotted a couple of projects that L.A. Creek Freak has reported on that are now making on-the-ground progress. In Lincoln Heights (photo above) the Albion Dairy site industrial buildings and parking lot are well on their way to being completely demolished. Information on that planned L.A. River park here. In Santa Monica (photo below) the Ocean Park Boulevard green street project is under construction. Information on that complete street project (including its green bike lanes) here.

Construction underway on the city of Santa Monica's Ocean Park Boulevard complete green street project

Driving the Verdugo Wash

January 27, 2012 § 4 Comments

Driver's trajectory through the Arroyo Verdugo - Photo from Tropico Station - click to go to larger images at Tropico Station

A unfortunate story about how our local creeks don’t look all that different from our freeways: Yesterday a woman drove her car down an access ramp and into the concrete Verdugo Wash. The Verdugo Wash (or Arroyo Verdugo) runs through the city of Glendale and enters the L.A. River across from Griffith Park.  « Read the rest of this entry »

News and Events – 25 January 2012

January 25, 2012 § Leave a comment

SOME CREEKLY FREAKLY NEWS:

> Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar visited the L.A. River this month. Will plentiful federal funding for river revitalization soon follow?

> Will Campbell discovers a sweet new city of Burbank bike path along the Burbank Western Wash.

> Here’s a blog about recycled concrete rain gardens I’ve been working on with Koreatown Youth Community Center.

Sidewalk cyclist next to the new Avenue 19 bike lanes in Lincoln Heights

> The L.A. River Bike path bike lane bikeway takes a detour onto the streets of Lincoln Heights. I really really like bike lanes and I like the idea of getting them in first, then moving on to more expensive bike paths… but I fear the massive parking removal on this one here will trigger a backlash… potentially leading to future city reluctance to remove any parking anywhere ever. Even if  it’s not quite the L.A. River bikeway, it is a new precedent: the city of Los Angeles’ first completed asymmetric one-way bike lanes couplet… a treatment that I think works better on actual one-way streets. How about Cypress and Avenue 18 next?

SOME UPCOMING EVENTS:

> Elysian Valley neighbors have been experiencing some pollution issues due to Metrolink operations right across the river at Taylor Yard. Metrolink, So Cal Air Quality Management District, elected officials and the public will meet and discuss how to make the situation better. The meeting takes place TONIGHT – Wednesday January 25, 2012 at 6:30pm at the L.A. River Center, 570 W Avenue 26, L.A. 90065. More information here.

> Creek Freak’s Joe Linton will be speaking as part of the environmental media panel at the Council for Watershed Health forum on Tuesday January 31st 2012. More information at CWH website under events.

> CicLAvia returns Sunday April 15th 2012, starring the 4th Street Bridge over the L.A. River.

Ballona’s historical ecology – and new awesome map site

January 23, 2012 § 7 Comments

As many of you probably already heard, last week the Coastal Conservancy approved up to $6.5 million to complete studies and permitting for the Ballona Wetlands.  If that price tag for planning is giving you sticker shock, I have two words:  Army Corps.  Actually more than two words – you see, one alternative proposes removing and relocating the levees that currently contain Ballona Creek’s flows from spreading over the wetlands.  (You know, the way in undisturbed situations fresh water from a stream or river normally spreads over wetlands, making the land, you know, wet.)  And removing and relocating levees is sensitive business, and an involved regulatory process that has to be paid for and that can rapidly add up to a big chunk of the $6.5m.

That’s just the regulatory/cost barrier.  Some people are concerned about the potential flood risk to humans, while others are concerned about the flood risk to…the wetlands.  This has been an ongoing debate, and while it’s not the point of today’s post, I think we’ve got new information that can help us all consider the alternatives – as well as create new projects.  Back when I was watershed coordinator, I felt the conversation about the watersheds could be elevated if we had a better handle on the historical ecology of the watershed.  Agreed-upon, documented sense of what natural processes shaped the habitats of the watershed, and what had actually been here.  I drafted a proposal for this study, as well as an assessment of the watershed’s springs/water budget, both of which got funded and managed by others later.

Look at all those wetlands! (click to redirect to the Ballona Historical Ecology website).

And the historical ecology report is done, and is beautiful!  Props to the team comprised of CSUN, SCCWRP, SFEI and UCLA researchers!  « Read the rest of this entry »

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