Downtown Company Has a Dream for Revitalizing Four Miles of the L.A. River


If all goes according to plan, in coming decades some of the various proposals for the Los Angeles River could come alive over a four-mile stretch that runs through Downtown. If it all works as intended, the waterway would be invigorated with a coordinated series of mixed-use and residential projects, along with 300 acres of new parks in Downtown, Lincoln Heights, Boyle Heights and adjacent areas.

“If” is the key word.

On Wednesday, Oct. 4, the Downtown office of the engineering, consulting and construction firm AECOM presented a vision for what it labeled the “L.A. River Gateway” project. Nancy Michali, associate vice president of AECOM, said the project aims to create a coordinated implementation framework for various proposals, and avoid a patchwork of developments along the river’s path.

AECOM developed the framework on its own; it was not done at the behest of the city or LARiverWorks, the formal body overseeing the river’s overall, multi-billion dollar upgrade, Michali said. AECOM’s team has been discussing the idea with Mayor Eric Garcetti’s office for more than a year.

“Private sector partners like AECOM are helping to bring decades of planning and design work to life, attract creative partnerships, and show Angelenos what the river’s future could be,” Garcetti spokesman Alex Comisar said in a prepared statement. “The Mayor appreciates the L.A. River Gateway vision and AECOM’s approach in consulting our office during its development.”

AECOM’s plan calls on different public entities that own property along the banks between the Lincoln Heights Jail on the north and Seventh Street on the south — the city, the Army Corps of Engineers, the county and the state — to work together. Those entities collectively own more than 600 acres of land. AECOM suggests they form a joint-powers authority to coordinate and raise funds for new housing, streets and public spaces such as parks. They could also partner with private developers who are working near the river to create more mixed-use projects.


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