Innovative Stormwater Park Under Construction on the Pacoima Wash
October 14, 2008 § 1 Comment
The Pacoima Wash is hopping these days. You may recall Creek Freak’s recent post on Pacoima Beautiful’s efforts there, but that’s not all! The 8th Street Park Project is an excellent innovative multi-benefit park project that’s under construction right now. It’s located on the west bank of the wash extending from 8th Street to Foothill Boulevard in the city of San Fernando in the north end of the San Fernando Valley. The park is a joint project of the city and the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority (the MRCA is a state agency, responsible for most of the small parks developed along the Los Angeles River in recent years – they’re a joint powers authority that’s linked to the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy.)
The project was designed by BlueGreen – an environmental design firm consisting of Lynne Dwyer and Martin Kammerer. Dwyer is a landscape architect who’s responsible for most of North East Trees‘ early pocket parks along the Los Angeles River. I like to credit her with the look and feel of river revitalization in Los Angeles – native landscape, permeable surfaces, river rock, public art, etc. Kammerer is a fluvial geomorphologist who was formerly with the MRCA’s watershed division. Creek freak sat down with Dwyer and Kammerer to bring you information on this very cool new park project.
Like many concreted streams in the San Fernando Valley, the Pacoima Wash has a fair amount of undeveloped right-of-way along it. That creekside land is ripe to become a greenway to connect residents with mountains upstream and the ocean downstream. 8th Street park is being developed on a 3-acre vacant parcel, combined with additional county right-of-way to form an approximately 5-acre park. Streets there, including Bromont Avenue, which dead-end into the Pacoima Wash have often been a nuisance and an eyesore due to illegal trash dumping.
The park will feature native landscape with walking trails and areas for picnicing and seating. In an innovative watershed management feature, the park is designed to detain and treat stormwater run-off from the surrounding 33-acre residential and commercial neighborhood. The formerly flat site has been extensively re-graded to construct a large central creekbed running parallel to the wash. Stormwater enters the site via two small circular plazas (placitas) with large central native sycamore trees. These placitas feature what are essentially underground filters to settle and remove trash and other solid pollution before the water enters the creekbed. Water collects in the vegetated creekbed, soaking into the ground, sustaining native vegetation and removing additional pollutants. In large storm events, waters from the park overflow into the wash.
Implementing these multi-benefit watershed management parks will incrementally solve problems with water quality (pollution) and quantity (flooding.) This results in healthier rivers and oceans downstream – while also providing much-needed green-space in park-poor neighborhoods. Creek freak is looking forward to the grand opening of the Pacoima Wash’s new 8th Street Park, expected in May 2009.
(All images in this blog entry courtesy BlueGreen.)