Early plans for LA River-adjacent site include new walkways and kayaking spots

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The city of Los Angeles is inching forward with ambitious plans to revitalize 11 miles of waterfront along the LA River, and new documents from the Bureau of Engineering reveal what some of the most immediate changes might be.

The documents (spotted by Urbanize LA) were presented to consulting firms interested in assisting with the redesign of the 41-acre riverside parcel in Cypress Park that the city purchased earlier this year. Known as Taylor Yard, the tract once served as a freight train switching facility for Union Pacific Railroad and has been hailed by Mayor Eric Garcetti as the “crown jewel” of the river’s revitalization.

But converting the industrial parcel into a vital public space, as the city aims to do, won’t be as easy as planting a few trees. Much of the soil at the project site has been contaminated with toxic metals and could take years to fully clean up. Constructing longterm facilities at the site will only add more time to the development process.

In the meantime, though, the Bureau of Engineering is planning a number of interim uses for Taylor Yard that will allow members of the public to enjoy the space in the near term.

Possible features of an interim design could include elevated walkways, paths for bicyclists and runners, a picnic area, an outdoor amphitheater, rows of plants meant to help with soil remediation, a dog park, farmers market, and a new launch spot for river kayakers. There could also be space for art classes and smaller live performances.

Concept drawing of interim uses for Taylor YardVia Bureau of Engineering
Sketch of Taylor Yard conceptSketch of Taylor Yard conceptVia Bureau of Engineering

The Bureau of Engineering is asking consultants to come up with three interim concepts for the parcel and three long-term plans. Applications will be due in August.

Meanwhile, last week a bill providing nearly $100 million in funding for projects on both the upper and lower portions of the 51-mile river cleared the state legislature—though it’s not clear yet which specific projects that money would fund.

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