Images of Future Compton Creek Park

November 11, 2010 § 1 Comment

Aerial showing location of future Compton Creek Park. The initial 4-acre park site is in light green, shaped like a U with wings. The darker green parcels on the right are planned future phases. North is to the upper left. Compton Creek flows from left to right through the middle of the image - and is unfortunately lidded in mid-frame. The light blue on the right is the more natural earthen bottom creekbed. The Metro Blue Line runs diagonally from upper left to bottom right, with Artesia Station at the bottom middle of the image. The 91 Artesia Freeway or Gardena Freeway is diagonal on the right.

When the Environmental Protection Agency’s Lisa Jackson announced the L.A. River’s navigability determination in July 2010, that big announcement overshadowed the day’s other great news: the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority’s (MRCA) purchase of 4 acres along and in Compton Creek. Creek Freak’s Jessica Hall wrote about the Compton Creek park project earlier here – including  showing the property map and discussing some possible cross-sections for restoration projects. Today, creek freak brings you some images: what the site looks like today, where the acquisition parcels are, and renderings of what the inital phase of the park could look like. Images are courtesy of Mia Lehrer + Associates and the MRCA.

The future park site is in the city of Compton on the city’s south edge, adjacent to immediately north of Artesia Boulevard and the 91 Freeway. It’s next to the Metro Blue Line Artesia Station, and just west of Alameda Street and Compton Community College. For folks familiar with the area, it’s alongside the casino and the new retail mall on the former auto mall site.

At the park site, Compton Creek, a tributary of the Los Angeles River, goes from concrete bottom to a more-natural earthen bottom with sloped concrete sides. Here are images of what the Compton Creek looks like there today:

View of existing soft-bottom Compton Creek. Photo taken from Artesia Boulevard Bridge looking upstream-north. Building on left is the casino; retail mall has now been built on portion of vacant area on right. Initial phase of future park will include area at top of channel wall on the right of this photo.

View of existing Compton Creek downstream-south of Artesia Blvd. Soft bottom creek passes below the 91 Freeway.

The 4-acre park site, shown in light green on the aerial photo at the top of this post, is irregularly shaped. It looks like a U with wings, or the cross-section of an upside down hat.

The upstream portion of the park site is along the east bank of the end of the concrete box-channel stretch of Compton Creek. It’s surrounded by the Metro Blue Line train tracks, the creek, the parking lot creek lid, and the new retail mall.

Upstream parcel shown in green. The view is looking upstream/north. The nearest bridge is the Metro Blue Line, second bridge is Greenleaf Blvd. The vacant dirt area to the right is now a retail mall.

Here’s a rendering of what the park is expected to look like on this parcel:

Rendering of north portion of future Compton Creek park

The elongated narrow park site then jogs over to the west bank of the creek, runs along the parking lot over the creek, then jogs back to the east bank of the creek where the soft-bottom creekbed begins. Below is a rendering showing the lower end of the future creek park. Phase one will be on the right-east bank, and subsequent phases will include land on the west bank adjacent to the casino.

Rendering of lower portion of future Compton Creek park, as seen looking upstream from Artesia Blvd. First phase of park is on right of this image. Later phase on the left. Casino building visible on the left.

Here’s a rendering looking east from the casino:

Rendering of future Compton Creek park, looking east from casino. Downstream is to the right; Artesia Blvd and the 91 Freeway are on the right edge of the image.

With one of the relatively few soft-bottom creek stretches in urbanized Southern California (left unpaved due to artesian waters upwelling there), this degraded site has quite a bit of habitat already and great restoration potential. The soft-bottom stretch has plenty of plant growth, including cattail and willow.  It’s home to plenty of birds, including egrets and herons; it’s not uncommon to spot hawks looking over the creek from perches atop adjacent parking lot light poles. Though I don’t have a great photo down in the creek, the photos above and this one below give some sense of the existing complexion. Here’s Urban SemillasMiguel Luna hosting a water quality monitoring event in the soft-bottom creek channel:

Miguel Luna in Compton Creek. Green cattails visible growing behind him - and, trust us, there are willows, too, just outside the frame. The future park will include the area atop the sloped wall in the background. Photo by Joe Linton.

The area is quite degraded, with some serious pollution issues – especially visible are plastic and styrofoam trash. The future park will likely need to include some sort of trash capture devices – even better, the trash issues should be solved further upstream… but that will probably take longer than creating this park.

As Jessica’s earlier post explores, with acquisition of adjacent upland area, it becomes feasible to reconfigure the sloped concrete walls in this area. Retooled channel walls aren’t cheap, but could better support plenty of desired watershed goals: increased habitat, increased flood protection, more groundwater recharge (maybe – it’s possible that upwelling wouldn’t allow this?) and better access for us humans. Here’s an image exploring a possible channel wall greening:

Cutaway view of possible landscaped terraced sloping channel walls at a future Compton Creek park.

Creek Freak looks forward to the new Compton Creek park. Keep your RSS tuned here and we’ll let you know when construction gets underway, and when it opens to the public.

[ Click on images for larger and additional images arranged on display boards – pdf files – or click here: 1 – Location Map and Conceptual Diagrams, 2 – Structure Massing Model, 3 – Creek Bottom Analysis, 4 – Site Perspectives, 5 – North Property A, 6 – North Property B ]


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§ One Response to Images of Future Compton Creek Park

  • Jessica Hall says:

    Our blog roll on the right hand column links to some of our favorite, environmentally-themed blogs. Check ’em out!

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