Sustainable Living Los Angeles

Fall 2014

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ADVERTISING SUPPLEMENT TO THE LOS ANGELES TIMES PUBLISHED BY CIVIC PUBLICATIONS INC. Greening the Los Angeles River Los Angeles River Greenway Trail Project Underway SUSTAINABLE LIVING S O U T H E R N C A L I F O R N I A Fall 2014 A half block away from Ventura Boulevard in one of the busiest areas of the San Fernando Valley lies a hidden treasure in the making – a respite from urban life and restoration of a river and native habitat. A groundbreaking ceremony in early November marked the start of a restoration project along a half-mile section of the Los Angeles River that will do much to restore the health and well being of the river bank, native habitat and people of Los Angeles, says Esther Feldman, president of Community Conservation Solutions. Feldman's organization has spearheaded the $2 million-plus Zev Yaroslavsky Los Angeles River Greenway Trail and Native Habitat Restoration project, which is expected to open to the public in the spring of 2016. "My hope is that people will come down to the river, look up and see the sky, see the birds and butterflies, take a deep breath and say 'wow, the Los Angeles River is a great place to be,' " says Feldman. The project will connect the half-mile section of the river in Studio City, from Coldwater Canyon to Whitsett Avenue, to two existing trails. This will create five miles of continuous river trail – the largest section of trail along the 22 miles of the Los Angeles River that runs through the San Fernando Valley. "We're calling this a bridge-the-gap project. It is the missing link," says Feldman. "It will be absolutely beautiful." For the past two decades, there have been efforts to restore the Los Angeles River from where the river begins in the western end of the San Fernando Valley all along its 51-mile length to where it flows into the Pacific Ocean in Long Beach. This latest project will be one link of many that ultimately results in a continuous trail that follows the length of the river, connecting 14 cities and dozens of neighborhoods with approximately 9 million people. The trail project is the first of its kind along the Los Angeles River. Although the concrete channel will remain, the banks of the river and the earth surrounding it will be transformed into what the area may have looked like before colonization. More than 4,000 native trees, bushes and plants will be planted in an ecosystem-based model, recreating native habitats for a variety of birds, butterflies and bugs. When completed, the primary public access entrance will be via a river-themed, handcrafted metal entry gate off Whitsett Avenue. And, very importantly, says Feldman, the trail is a few hundred yards away from the only public parking garage anywhere along the Los Angeles River in the San Fernando Valley. It currently has about 400 parking spots – providing access to visitors who want to drive in, take a break from urban life to enjoy nature, and then go home. The trail is also nestled in an area slotted for the city's comprehensive bike path – making the parking garage a perfect site for a future bicycle hub, says Feldman. Another environmental benefit of the project is that it will include a bioswale, a ditch lined with rocks and native grasses that naturally captures and cleans urban runoff and rainwater, allowing it to infiltrate into the groundwater basin and improve water quality in the Los Angeles River. Organizers say that the completed trail will add to what makes Los Angeles a great place to live. "One of the criteria for having a good quality of life is having beautiful places where you can go, catch your breath, walk in nature, and be close to home," says Feldman. "This L.A. River GreenwayTrail project does that." Artistic renderings (top and above) of the proposed $2 million-plus Zev Yaroslavsky Los Angeles River Greenway Trail and Native Habitat Restoration project. The project will connect the half-mile section of the river in Studio City, from Coldwater Canyon to Whitsett Avenue. This will create five miles of continuous river trail — the largest section of trail along the 22 miles of the Los Angeles River that runs through the San Fernando Valley. By Michelle Nava "We're calling this a bridge-the-gap project. It is the missing link. It will be absolutely beautiful." Esther Feldman — President, Community Conservation Solutions Photo of the Gulf Fritillary Butterfly by Dave Collins

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