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2013 Was The First Year Of The Rest Of The LA River's Life

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It's the last week in December, when according to tradition we make up a bunch of awards and hand them out to all the best, worst, and shitshowiest of things that happened in Los Angeles real estate, architecture, and neighborhoods this year. These are your 2013 Curbed Awards.

Whatever neighborhood wins the 2013 Curbed Cup this year, it'll be a neighborhood that lies along the banks of the Los Angeles River, and really it was the 51-mile-long waterway that had the most exciting 2013 of all. As money and energy has flowed east- and Downtown-ward, and as LA has moved away from car-centricity to become a more walkable, bikeable, people-oriented city, the river has become a new focus—as public space, as wildlife habitat, as economic opportunity, and as the fussy but lovable heart of a city known for its complicated relationship with nature. Here, a recap of the LA River's amazing year:

January 1: Per State Bill 1201, the LA River abandoned its old life as a flood control channel and began anew as a navigable waterway, which means the county has to make it accessible to the public.

January 24: The city launched the Northeast Los Angeles Riverfront Collaborative to create an eight-mile-long Northeast Los Angeles Riverfront District.

April 27: The Los Angeles River Revitalization Corporation held its first bike-in movie night on the river's banks.

May 27: For the first time since the '30s, the river opened to the public for general recreation.

July 13: Brief setback when a tanker truck crashed and the river caught on fire. It rebounded pretty quickly.

July 23: Greenway 2020 launched with the goal of creating a continuous greenway and bike path along all 51 miles of the river by 2020.

July 24: An LA Times article on the river noted that "There is even increasing talk at City Hall and elsewhere that a bid from L.A. to host the 2024 Summer Olympics could include new facilities near or along the river."

August 15: Pause for a trip down memory lane: Photos of the Los Angeles River before it was paved in 1938 (and the story of that paving).

September 13: The Army Corps of Engineers, which paved the river back in the day, returned to announce a massive restoration plan for 11 miles of the river running between Griffith Park and Downtown. Still, it's the least ambitious and cheapest of three plans under consideration.

September 13: Councilmember Tom LaBonge introduced a City Council motion to look into bringing duck boat tours to the river.


September 17: We compared seven views of the river as it is now with the river as it'll look after the Army Corps's restoration plan.

September 17: The City Council approved the "iconic" La Kretz Crossing to bridge the river between Griffith Park and Atwater Village.

Late September: River advocates including the mayor began to lobby the feds to move ahead with the Army Corps's most ambitious and comprehensive restoration plan, Alternative 20.

December 10: The City Council moved to begin negotiations to buy the giant, riverside Taylor Yard parcel in Glassell and Cypress Parks so that it can be turned into public open space and wetlands.
· LA River Rising [Curbed LA]
· Curbed Awards 2013 [Curbed LA]