When the Army Corps of Engineers releases its proposals for the LA River next month it will cap off the waterway's most exciting summer since, well, any summer in recorded history. The Corps--which covered much of the river channel in concrete in the 1930s--has been studying the feasibility of improving access to and restoring an 11-mile stretch of river between Downtown and Griffith Park since 2006. According to the LA Times, on August 30 they're expected to choose among three plans they've been studying since 2006:
-- Alternative 13 "calls for concrete removal and ecological restoration at several key sites." Estimated cost: $444 million.
-- Alternative 16 includes redevelopment of the 125-acre Piggyback Yard site across from Union Station and would also "widen the river to accommodate terracing on much of its eastern bank" from Los Feliz Boulevard south to Fletcher Drive. Estimated cost: $774 million.
-- Alternative 20 would do all of that, restore the river ecosystem near the Verdugo Walsh (near the border with Glendale), and provide new connections to the LA State Historic Park near Chinatown. Estimated cost: $1.06 billion.
The Army Corps office in LA had been betting on the most ambitious of these plans to come out on top, but the Times's sources say the least ambitious (13), which would also have the smallest percentage funded by the federal government, is most likely to win the day. But river boosters are still fighting the good fight. Mayor Eric Garcetti says he told the White House and Senator Barbara Boxer "that we would hope that we wouldn't just get the cheapest version." Others are making the case that this LA River restoration is a not-to-be-missed opportunity to complement nearby infrastructure projects like the high-speed rail coming to Union Station, the new Sixth Street bridge, and the Greenway 2020 plan announced yesterday that aims to put bike paths, walkways, kayak rentals, and cafes along the full 51-mile length of the river. So how about it, Army Corps; are you going to give us back our river?
· L.A. River advocates wait for watershed Army Corps study [LAT]
· LA River Rising Archives [Curbed LA]