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A Map Guide to the Glorious Future of the Los Angeles River

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Last year was a huge one for the long-neglected LA River: after decades as a flood control channel, it officially restarted life as a "navigable waterway" and was opened for public recreation for the first time since it was encased in concrete back in the 1930s. But that was only the first year on a very long journey to recovery. In May, the Army Corps of Engineers decided to push an ambitious plan for restoration and greening along 11 miles of the river stretching from the northern side of Griffith Park through Downtown (concrete will be removed!); meanwhile, LA County and the cities that line the river all have dozens of their own big plans for parks, paths, bridges, art projects, and more. For Outdoors Week, we've attempted to map every future project (and some that have recently opened already)—they're not all guaranteed to happen, but they are all serious proposals from groups prepared to make them happen.

Besides the individual points on the map, there's also Greenway 2020, a plan to close every last gap in the bike path along the river's 51 miles, and the newly-created River Improvement Overlay District (RIO) and Los Angeles River Improvement Overlay Zone (LA-RIO), which will help govern development along the river in Northeast LA.

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LA River Headwaters

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This very new project created a 2.5-mile round-trip greenway in Canoga Park where the river officially begins. (Image via Los Angeles County]

West Valley River Greenway

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This greening project between Hartland Street and Vanalden Avenue had its phase one groundbreaking in 2011. [Image via LA Creek Freak]

Aliso Creek Confluence Project

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This project will add a small park, bike and walking paths, a greenway, and a big mural on an empty lot where the Aliso Creek meets the LA River.

Duck boat tours

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Two City Councilmembers have proposed that Los Angeles look into contracting with a duck boat operator for tours along the river.

Bull Creek Channel Ecosystem Restoration Project in Beilenson Park

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27.9 acres of "aquatic, riparian and native" habitat that supports tons of wildlife in the Bull Creek Channel, located in the Sepulveda Flood Basin.

LA Riverfront Park

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A new little park and bike path in Sherman Oaks.

North Valleyheart Riverwalk

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This half-mile pedestrian and bike path opened in June, providing new access along the northern bank of the river from Studio City to Sherman Oaks. [Image by Carren Jao via KCET]

Los Angeles Riverfront Park, Phase II

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Under this project, "Sepulveda and Koster Avenues (South bank), Coldwater Canyon and Whisett Avenues (North bank), and Van Nuys Boulevard to Cedros Avenue (South Bank)" would receive some greening-up via planting, signage, and irrigation (to keep it green).

NBCUniversal bike path

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As part of its big Universal City overhaul, NBCUni will add a bike path and park to a section of the river between Griffith Park and Studio City.

LA River Headworks

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This massive project includes two underground reservoirs and a power plant, which will be topped with a park after all the underground work is done. The construction on the first, eastern reservoir was planned to wrap late this year, and the whole thing was expected to finish sometime in 2017, at which point the park would start taking shape. The park phase is expected to take about two years.

Glendale Narrows Riverwalk

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Phase one of the three-part project at the riverwalk area is currently open. Part two will extend the path and include a pedestrian bridge; phase three is the bridge phase (see next point).

Glendale-Griffith Park bridge(s)

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Glendale is considering adding two bridges from the Riverwalk to Griffith Park. [Photo by Elizabeth Daniels]

North Atwater Park addition

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North Atwater Park opened in 2012; now the city is looking into expanding it onto the 25-acre site of the Recreation and Parks Department Central Service Yard.

La Kretz Bridge

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This foot/bike/horse bridge is set to span from northern Atwater Village into Griffith Park; its suspension design is meant to be "iconic."

Vanowen Street Bridge

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A wider bridge is in the works and it'll come with two miles of bike path, plus a bike underpass.

Sunnynook River Park

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This park by the Glendale-Hyperion Bridge on the river's western bank incorporates native plants, picnic space, and a filtration system for runoff. It was completed in the summer of 2013. [Image via Atwater Village Newbie]

LA River Recreation Zone

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A stretch of the river north of Downtown opened for public recreation for the first time in 2013 and became a permanent summer rec zone this year.

Taylor Yard park

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In late 2013, the city finally started inching toward buying the long-sought-after Taylor Yard property, next to the existing Rio de Los Angeles State Park. The plan has been to turn the more-than-40-acre Yard into a huge public space with wetlands that'll improve water quality of the river overall.

Bowtie Parcel

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Currently in use as a home for giant, outdoor art piece "The Unfinished," this Glassell Park riverfront space recently hosted the river's first public campout, complete with tents and s'mores. [Photo by Alexis Chanes]

Marsh Park

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The $3.2-million Marsh Park should be finished any day now. It will have a huge new picnic shelter, a meadow, an outdoor classroom, and, yes, parking.

Frog Spot

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Newly opened, this space functions as a pit stop for those along the River Path (bike repair supplies, popsicles, free water, restrooms), but also as a neighborhood hangout place with plenty of street parking. They've got coffee! [Photo by Grove Pashley]

Taylor Yard bridge

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Studio Pali Fekete Architects have designed this very orange pedestrian/bike bridge to span the river between Cypress Park and Elysian Valley at the Rio de Los Angeles State Park.

Dorris Place Park

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A public park is on the way to the grounds of this LAUSD school that sits on the river in Elysian Valley.

LA River Bike Path, Phase III

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This phase would keep the bike path going from its current terminus in Elysian Valley all the way to Union Station. The plan is to have the bikeway cross the Riverside Bridge to San Fernando Road, then become dedicated bike lanes from Avenue 19 and 18 to the Spring Street Bridge.

Floating bike path

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This plan to bridge the bike path gap between Riverside Drive and Downtown would put a path right down in the middle of the river. The LA City Council recently voted to have city engineers look into the possible route further.

Lincoln Heights Jail

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The LA River Revitalization Corporation is working with architecture firm Perkins + Will on a rehab of the old Lincoln Heights Jail (plans at one point included a huge outdoor climbing wall).

Ed P. Reyes River Greenway

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This one-acre greenway in Cypress is now open to the public from 7 am to 7 pm daily, but don't forget: it's not technically a park; it's run by the Department of Sanitation as a water treatment facility. (There's a lot of river-water cleaning that happens here.) It has a little waterfall and a footbridge. [Image via Eastsider LA]

La Noria/The Delta of Mt. Whitney

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Artist/Annenberg heiress Lauren Bon and her Metabolic Studio have a plan to install a 70-foot-tall steel and aluminum water wheel, an inflatable dam, and a shady grove by their HQ in Chinatown.

Albion Dairy Project

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This site was planned as a public park and water treatment center, but money was scarce. Last we heard about the project in 2013, money was shifted from then up-in-the-air Taylor Yard to fund another phase of the park.

Los Angeles State Historic Park

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The river-adjacent Cornfield is getting a big makeover right now; the $1-billion revitalization plan recommended by the Army Corps of Engineers includes a terraced connection between the park and the river. The park's wetlands will be supported with water recycled from the river.

Sixth Street Viaduct

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Planning has wrapped up for the Sixth Street Viaduct, and the latest HNTB/Michael Maltzandesign for the bridge includes 60-foot climbable arches and pedestrian ramps down into the river bottom, plus lots of open space.

Hansen Dam

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The Army Corps is discussing ways to expand the flood capacity of the dam, as well as increase recreational features.

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LA River Headwaters

This very new project created a 2.5-mile round-trip greenway in Canoga Park where the river officially begins. (Image via Los Angeles County]

West Valley River Greenway

This greening project between Hartland Street and Vanalden Avenue had its phase one groundbreaking in 2011. [Image via LA Creek Freak]

Aliso Creek Confluence Project

This project will add a small park, bike and walking paths, a greenway, and a big mural on an empty lot where the Aliso Creek meets the LA River.

Duck boat tours

Two City Councilmembers have proposed that Los Angeles look into contracting with a duck boat operator for tours along the river.

Bull Creek Channel Ecosystem Restoration Project in Beilenson Park

27.9 acres of "aquatic, riparian and native" habitat that supports tons of wildlife in the Bull Creek Channel, located in the Sepulveda Flood Basin.

LA Riverfront Park

A new little park and bike path in Sherman Oaks.

North Valleyheart Riverwalk

This half-mile pedestrian and bike path opened in June, providing new access along the northern bank of the river from Studio City to Sherman Oaks. [Image by Carren Jao via KCET]

Los Angeles Riverfront Park, Phase II

Under this project, "Sepulveda and Koster Avenues (South bank), Coldwater Canyon and Whisett Avenues (North bank), and Van Nuys Boulevard to Cedros Avenue (South Bank)" would receive some greening-up via planting, signage, and irrigation (to keep it green).

NBCUniversal bike path

As part of its big Universal City overhaul, NBCUni will add a bike path and park to a section of the river between Griffith Park and Studio City.

LA River Headworks

This massive project includes two underground reservoirs and a power plant, which will be topped with a park after all the underground work is done. The construction on the first, eastern reservoir was planned to wrap late this year, and the whole thing was expected to finish sometime in 2017, at which point the park would start taking shape. The park phase is expected to take about two years.

Glendale Narrows Riverwalk

Phase one of the three-part project at the riverwalk area is currently open. Part two will extend the path and include a pedestrian bridge; phase three is the bridge phase (see next point).

Glendale-Griffith Park bridge(s)

Glendale is considering adding two bridges from the Riverwalk to Griffith Park. [Photo by Elizabeth Daniels]

North Atwater Park addition

North Atwater Park opened in 2012; now the city is looking into expanding it onto the 25-acre site of the Recreation and Parks Department Central Service Yard.

La Kretz Bridge

This foot/bike/horse bridge is set to span from northern Atwater Village into Griffith Park; its suspension design is meant to be "iconic."

Vanowen Street Bridge

A wider bridge is in the works and it'll come with two miles of bike path, plus a bike underpass.

Sunnynook River Park

This park by the Glendale-Hyperion Bridge on the river's western bank incorporates native plants, picnic space, and a filtration system for runoff. It was completed in the summer of 2013. [Image via Atwater Village Newbie]

LA River Recreation Zone

A stretch of the river north of Downtown opened for public recreation for the first time in 2013 and became a permanent summer rec zone this year.

Taylor Yard park

In late 2013, the city finally started inching toward buying the long-sought-after Taylor Yard property, next to the existing Rio de Los Angeles State Park. The plan has been to turn the more-than-40-acre Yard into a huge public space with wetlands that'll improve water quality of the river overall.

Bowtie Parcel

Currently in use as a home for giant, outdoor art piece "The Unfinished," this Glassell Park riverfront space recently hosted the river's first public campout, complete with tents and s'mores. [Photo by Alexis Chanes]

Marsh Park

The $3.2-million Marsh Park should be finished any day now. It will have a huge new picnic shelter, a meadow, an outdoor classroom, and, yes, parking.

Frog Spot

Newly opened, this space functions as a pit stop for those along the River Path (bike repair supplies, popsicles, free water, restrooms), but also as a neighborhood hangout place with plenty of street parking. They've got coffee! [Photo by Grove Pashley]

Taylor Yard bridge

Studio Pali Fekete Architects have designed this very orange pedestrian/bike bridge to span the river between Cypress Park and Elysian Valley at the Rio de Los Angeles State Park.

Dorris Place Park

A public park is on the way to the grounds of this LAUSD school that sits on the river in Elysian Valley.

LA River Bike Path, Phase III

This phase would keep the bike path going from its current terminus in Elysian Valley all the way to Union Station. The plan is to have the bikeway cross the Riverside Bridge to San Fernando Road, then become dedicated bike lanes from Avenue 19 and 18 to the Spring Street Bridge.

Floating bike path

This plan to bridge the bike path gap between Riverside Drive and Downtown would put a path right down in the middle of the river. The LA City Council recently voted to have city engineers look into the possible route further.

Lincoln Heights Jail

The LA River Revitalization Corporation is working with architecture firm Perkins + Will on a rehab of the old Lincoln Heights Jail (plans at one point included a huge outdoor climbing wall).

Ed P. Reyes River Greenway

This one-acre greenway in Cypress is now open to the public from 7 am to 7 pm daily, but don't forget: it's not technically a park; it's run by the Department of Sanitation as a water treatment facility. (There's a lot of river-water cleaning that happens here.) It has a little waterfall and a footbridge. [Image via Eastsider LA]

La Noria/The Delta of Mt. Whitney

Artist/Annenberg heiress Lauren Bon and her Metabolic Studio have a plan to install a 70-foot-tall steel and aluminum water wheel, an inflatable dam, and a shady grove by their HQ in Chinatown.

Albion Dairy Project

This site was planned as a public park and water treatment center, but money was scarce. Last we heard about the project in 2013, money was shifted from then up-in-the-air Taylor Yard to fund another phase of the park.

Los Angeles State Historic Park

The river-adjacent Cornfield is getting a big makeover right now; the $1-billion revitalization plan recommended by the Army Corps of Engineers includes a terraced connection between the park and the river. The park's wetlands will be supported with water recycled from the river.

Sixth Street Viaduct

Planning has wrapped up for the Sixth Street Viaduct, and the latest HNTB/Michael Maltzandesign for the bridge includes 60-foot climbable arches and pedestrian ramps down into the river bottom, plus lots of open space.

Hansen Dam

The Army Corps is discussing ways to expand the flood capacity of the dam, as well as increase recreational features.