By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
Long Beach, a city notably aggressive about the greenway, is identifying possible sites to restore along its entire 8-mile stretch. Already, the current projects and proposals create a string of parks and wetlands that connects the city's especially park-poor northern reaches to downtown and the harbor.
DeForest Park, the southernmost of the big, grassy '70s parks, has tennis and racquetball courts, ball fields, picnic areas, a community center -- and a wildly unexpected forested nature trail. A proposal to restore wetlands (see Watershed) would extend the belt of green here to Del Amo Boulevard.
If the Wrigley Heights parkhappens -- and it looks good -- it will be a major new park in South L.A. With the three parks downtown, it'll be New Big Park No. 4 on the river. The Trust for Public Land is mediating purchases of up to 40 acres, a former oil site included, straddling the 405 -- and the $5.85 million in the new state budget would pay for most of the acquisition and development. It's the sort of riverside site, just like Taylor Yard and the Cornfield, that once would have been sold for industrial development, but that is now getting commandeered for a public greenway and watershed management. (ETA start 2003)
The Wrigley Association -- neighborhood residents -- pioneered the greening of the river in South L.A. in 1996 with the Wrigley Landscape Project. A "see, it's possible" plot of native plants with a few benches, it's on a city right of way and former illegal dump site. The association built an extension last year, and plans to continue the project, piece by piece, north toward the 405.
The new 13-acre Cesar E. Chavez Park-- in a park-scarce area, and the first park in Long Beach since the mid-1970s -- sits right by the planned spur from the river bikeway to downtown. It's got picnic tables, playgrounds and basketball courts, with a community center, aquatics playground and outdoor amphitheater to come next year.
The county is testing a trash boomat the river's mouth, to stop all trash from heading into the ocean. The new technology collected 95,000 pounds of trash in an October storm . . . but got washed away in January . . . but got improved and re-installed in April. We await the rains.
In 1998, Long Beach brought us the Golden Shore Marine Biological Reserve-- a restored 6-acre tidal marsh, and a water-bird hangout -- as mitigation for dredging in Queensway Bay. You turn off here for the coastal bike path.
WALK AND BIKE THE RIVER The newly repaved bike paths — 17 miles of bikeway! — make this stretch of the L.A. River Bikeway continuously walkable from Maywood to the Pacific Ocean. These paths have undercrossings.
The Upper South: Atlantic Boulevard south to Imperial Highway, west bank. Cross to LARIO Trail at Imperial Highway.
The Lower South: LARIO Trail, on the Rio Hondo and L.A. River from Whittier Narrows south to the harbor, east bank. (Del Amo Boulevard to 34th Street, Rosecrans Avenue to Firestone Boulevard unfinished. ETA 2001)
To downtown Long Beach: The city plans a bike route that connects the bikeway to the Civic Center and transit station, via a tunnel under the Sixth Street offramp and a bike lane on Chestnut Street. (ETA 2002)
The big picture: The L.A. River Bikeway into downtown L.A. is in the future. For now, the LARIO Trail connects at two points to the 38-mile San Gabriel River Bikeway, which connects the eastern county from Seal Beach to Azusa: at its south end, via the Shoreline Trail, and at its north end, through the Whittier Narrows Dam Recreational Area.