How Do You Envision a Riverfront District?: Alberto Lopez

The NELA River Collaborative project builds upon the growing momentum of efforts already underway to transform the Los Angeles River into a "riverfront district" and to create a focal point of community revitalization. For more information visit

KCET Departures is the media partner of the Northeast Los Angeles Riverfront Collaborative.

On April 27, 2013, the Northeast L.A. Riverfront Collaborative hosted the River Bike + Walk Spectacular at Marsh Park in Elysian Valley. During the festivities, community members and visitors shared their stories and experiences of the river as part of the KCET Departures StoryShare event. Here are their stories.

Name: Alberto Lopez
Occupation: Local Resident

What has been your experience with the L.A. River?

I've lived here my whole life. I've been in Echo Park, MacArthur Park for a while, and when I was a kid we used to come here. We used to fish with my dad - it's the few memories I have of my dad - that we used to come here. We used to run. Running with him, my tio, they had these big dreams of always running the L.A. Marathon, so this is one of the areas we would practice at. They never ran the L.A. Marathon, but I did. I was the only one in my family that ran the L.A. Marathon. Sometimes I run in the water -- if its' very very very thin, I'll run in the water. It's a good workout - you feel that the water is really pushing you, and you feel connected to the nature. You smell the trees, the plants, you hear the animals - you hear a little bit of the cars. But nothing bothers you. You're usually here by yourself.

How would you envision a Riverfront District in Northeast L.A.?

Playgrounds along the sides, I see that. Stores perhas, trucks, food vendors - just more people. You don't see that many people around here. They probably don't know. As close as we are to the freeways and they see it all the time, they just don't see it. I think they want something spectacular. So we need make maybe a big giant carnival, a party - get people to notice more often.

How do you think these changes in the L.A. River will affect the community?

It's gonna be all good, it's gonna be positive. The river represents water, they say that water represents power, but I think it represents nature. Whenever you're connected to nature - you're gonna be connected to Griffith Park, you're gonna be connected to the hills, you're gonna probably do more workouts, more walking, less car. So there's gonna be more of a connected spirit with everybody.

Fill in the blank: "I want my L.A. River to be..."

I want my LA River to be shared.

Tell us your vision for a Riverfront District using the form below. Click here to see more interviews.

How would you envision a Riverfront District?


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