05 Jan FoLAR responds to Draft Lower LA River Revitalization Plan
FoLAR Responds to the Draft Lower LA River Revitalization Plan
The Draft Plan for the Lower LA River is out and we need you to comment!
For nearly two years, FoLAR has participated in shaping the revitalization plan for the lower nineteen miles of the Los Angeles River as a member of Lower LA River Working Group – a coalition of forty nonprofit partners, community stakeholders, elected offices, and agency representatives. The effort was kicked off by the passage of AB 530 authored by Speaker Rendon that brought needed coordination and planning resources to the small cities south of Los Angeles. This coalition was tasked with creating a plan that addresses the unique and diverse needs of the Lower LA River communities and delivers the a bright and inclusive future for the Lower River.
FoLAR and our fellow participants emphasized the need for ecological restoration and public access, and ensuring that historically under-served communities have equitable opportunity and economic security to access new resources in their neighborhood. Several opportunities to include anti-displacement policies, environmental justice recommendations, and equitable community participation were identified.
However the rush to deliver the Lower River Working Group Draft Report has truncated the space for community to voice their vision, and sidelined some of the most important breakthroughs. FoLAR calls for the public comment window to be extended, and acknowledges this draft report as an important first step in a journey we have just begun. While the plan highlights 146 different projects that can bring much needed parks, river access, and trail connectivity to the region, as a whole it fails to activate the cultural, economic, and environmental equity the Working Group spent so much time developing.
Submit your public comments before the 11 Jan 2018 deadline.
Take a look below at some of important takeaways we have from this experience. You can read FoLAR’s full comments here: FoLAR comments Draft LLARRP – FINAL
Here’s what the plan gets right:
- Opportunities for new park and recreational amenities, turning former brownfields into new publicly accessible spaces.
- Increased neighborhood connectivity through additional multi-modal trails and bridge crossings along the River.
- Opportunities to highlight community character, fostering community pride, through programmable public spaces, and additional opportunities for public art.
- Preliminary planning resources to Lower River municipalities that individually lack the resources or authority to develop a river revitalization plan.
- A Watershed Education Plan that makes environmental education and programming opportunities more accessible to Lower River communities.
Here are seven areas of improvement:
- The River’s health is not being meaningfully improved from an environmental, ecological, or public health perspective.
- Safeguards for anti-displacement or definition of equitable growth policies are relatively weak (recommendations, not requirements).
- Insufficient public input from local community members.
- Strayed from the original iterative framework that would ensure public voice was helping shape projects.
- Water quality/flood control are left largely unaddressed.
- Goals and Objectives are excluded from the main content of the Plan.
- Insufficient time to bring comment and gain more public feedback.
Friends of the Los Angeles River is a 501c3 nonprofit whose mission since 1986 has been to ensure a publicly accessible and ecologically sustainable Los Angeles River by inspiring River stewardship through community engagement, education, advocacy, and thought leadership. FOLAR is a leading powerful force guiding policy and connecting communities to the River, nationally respected as a leader in urban river revitalization with a membership of 35,000.