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Weighing In on L.A. River ARBOR Study [Final Installment]; Last Week for Public Comment

If you have not yet sent in your comments, this is your last chance to weigh in on the Los Angeles River Ecosystem Feasibility Study, or ARBOR Study. The public comment period closes next Monday, November 18. As you ponder what else our ecosystem in Los Angeles needs, we asked a few people to help close our series.

The four alternatives that are currently being considered are:

Alternative 10, or ART (ARBOR Riparian Transitions), is the minimally acceptable alternative that costs $346 million. It would result in a 93 percent increase in habitat. Work includes: minimal restoration at Taylor Yard, but not at the other confluences, widening of Taylor Yard by 80 feet with a small terraced area by the Bowtie parcel, restoration at Piggyback Yard.

Alternative 13, or ACE (ARBOR Corridor Extension) is a $453-million project that include all the features of Alternative 10, and will increase habitat by 104 percent. Work includes adding a side channel behind Ferraro Fields, widening of over 300 feet in Taylor Yard, and tributary restoration on the east side of the Arroyo Seco watershed. The Army Corps currently supports this alternative.

Alternative 16, or AND (ARBOR Narrows to Downtown), is a $757-million project that includes the features of both Alternative 10 and 13 with extensive work on the Piggyback Yard. It would increase habitat by 114 percent.

Alternative 20, or RIVER (Riparian Integration via Varied Ecological Introduction), includes all the elements of previous alternatives with the restoration of the Verdugo Wash and the wetlands of the Los Angeles State Historic Park. Habitat would increase by 119 percent at the cost of $1.04 billion.

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This week, we hear from Congressman Adam Schiff, whose district would be heavily affected by the proposals outlined in the study; Benjamin Feldmann, who works to enhance living environments with Mia Lehrer + Associates; and City Councilman Gil Cedillo, who represents District 1, an area at the center of many proposed changes in the study.

Here's what they had to say:


Adam Schiff, Congressman for the 28the District

Alternative 20 is the most aggressive restoration plan as it includes all of the elements of Alternatives 10, 13, and 16, and also includes naturalization and ecological restoration in all reaches of the river and inclusion of two major confluences.

Specifically, Alternative 20 includes the restoration and beautification of the Verdugo Wash, bordering the City of Glendale, and the connection of the L.A. River to the Los Angeles State Historic Park (Cornfields). The residents of my congressional district, which includes the cities of Burbank, Glendale, and many Los Angeles City neighborhoods adjacent to the river, will have greater access to the river for recreation and an improved quality of life.

What would you say to the Army Corps backing Alternative 13 (ACE) option?

On September 24, I met with the Colonel Kim Colloton, Commander of the Los Angeles District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and her staff in my district office to discuss the Integrated Feasibility Report. She discussed the Corp's reasoning and methodology in deciding on Alternative 13 as the Tentatively Selected Plan. While I appreciate the Corp's concern with the most cost-effective option, I support Alternative 20 because it contains the greatest amount of habitat restoration and recreation opportunity.

Is there an issue you think the Army Corps should have focused more on in the study?

I have read the Integrated Feasibility Report and I believe the Army Corps of Engineers study is very thorough and complete. I encourage all of my constituents and fellow Angelenos to weigh in with their comments and express their support for the alternative that maximizes both restoration and recreation of the L.A. River.


Benjamin Feldmann, Senior Associate at Mia Lehrer + Associates

I support Alternative 20. It's the most comprehensive. It provides access, connectivity and generates urban vibrancy as a result. This alternative includes all the confluences in the reach, and in addition includes the Piggyback Yards, Cornfields, and in general modifies the channel the most. Alternative 20 removes the most concrete, and this piece of infrastructure that was intended to be solely for flood protection needs to be recalibrated. Instead of a gash between east and west, it needs to bridge the communities along its path socially, economically, and environmentally. Los Angeles deserves the support of the federal government.


Gil Cedillo, Councilman for District 1

I, and the City of Los Angeles, are supporting Alternative 20. We finally have an opportunity to move forward with the River's revitalization and Alternative 20 is the most comprehensive option to restore the River to its original state.

How would the Alternative you've chosen affect your neighborhood?

Alternative 20 includes four projects in Council District 1. It has the potential to transform the communities around the River.

Anything else we should do?

I welcome all community members to add their voice to the large coalition of people advocating for Alternative 20!

Submit your comments via email at comments.lariverstudy@usace.army.mil. They will be accepted until November 18.

About the Author

Carren is an art, architecture and design writer and an avid explorer of Los Angeles. Her work has been spotted on Core77, Dwell, Surface Asia, and Fast Co.Design. You can find her online and on Twitter. 
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