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A Plan To Remake The L.A. River Was Approved This Week

An artist's rendering of what the Arroyo Seco Tributary may look like if the L.A. River Revitalization Plan is implemented. (Photo courtesy of
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The L.A. City Council voted unanimously on Wednesday in favor of a decades-long plan to restore and redevelop 11 miles of the Los Angeles River between the San Fernando Valley and downtown L.A. As Curbed LA points out, the plan-option selected is the most comprehensive of three submitted by the Army Corps of Engineers.

In the coming decade, the city will spend nearly $1 billion on improvements and land along the riverfront. This will be broken up on a project-by-project basis meaning L.A.'s taxpayers won't be on the hook all at once. The federal government will also be chipping in a healthy amount of funding to make the river project a reality.

"We've approached this in a way to get the low hanging fruit," said councilman Mitch O'Farrell, according to Curbed LA, referring to the strategy the city will approach to redeveloping the river.

The plan itself is boringly titled "Alternative 20," and lays out the the groundwork for building both public access green-space along the river, as well as conducting ecosystem restoration in certain areas as well. The end goal is to transform the brutalist concrete channel from an enormous storm-drain, into something that actually resembles a river both visually and ecologically. The challenge will be doing this while ensuring the river is still able to speed storm-runoff away to the ocean.

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What will actually happen from here forward, however, seems to be somewhat in flux. The approval, by the city council, of Alternative 20 plan (at least kind of) marries Los Angeles to the provisions outlined in the 505-page L.A. River Ecosystem Restoration Feasibility Report. At the same time, city leaders have controversially courted architect Frank Gehry for outside consultation on how to make the river into a true public asset.

How Gehry's vision and the Army Corps of Engineers' vision will be married to each other in the coming decade is, shall we say, yet to be seen. Regardless, Wednesday's vote marks some meaningful progress to a future where the L.A. river is more than just a blank concrete canvass for car chases and graffiti.

Everything You Always Wanted To Know About The L.A. River, All On One Site