Making LA River Revitalization a Reality

City of Los Angeles, Bureau of Engineering

What is Happening Now?

The site is currently closed to public access. Those that have joined us for Community Tour Days can attest that upon visiting the G2 Parcel, you step into something that feels right for reinvention. The adjacent river is filled with tall willows and in constant flow to the west, and remnant artifacts of industry and development sprinkle the site and excite the imagination. After all the years of neglect, vegetation has persisted on site; and is what one might refer to as “the urban wild” —a mixture of native, non-native and invasive plants all coexisting. Wildlife, mostly birds, are also plentiful on site.

However, due to its historic use as a rail yard for over 80 years, the soil at the G2 Parcel is contaminated - a designated "brownfield". Defined as a former industrial or commercial site, future use is affected by real or perceived environmental contamination. This contamination is being dealt with through a robust remediation strategy. Environmental site assessments at the site will identify the type and concentration of contaminants present at the site, and will characterize the extent of any such contamination. Contaminants identified from these analyses will be mitigated to comply with the California Health and Safety Code and deemed safe by the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) before the site or portions of the site are opened to the public.

During the environmental assessment process, the City is moving forward with planning of the Taylor Yard G2 River Park and the exciting process of restoration and rehabilitation.

Studies

A robust environmental assessment is currently underway to characterize the extent of site contamination.

Drawing from studies already completed, it is important to consider what we have learned —and to understand what elements from those studies remain relevant —and what needs to be thought about in different ways. The AIA study Taylor Yard, a Catalyst for Community Change is one of the oldest studies which dates back 25 years, and was followed by other studies leading up to the Los Angeles River Revitalization Master Plan which was produced by the City and was adopted by the LA City Council in 2007. The most recent study, Los Angeles River Ecosystem Restoration Feasibility Study (ARBOR) study involves restoration of the aquatic riparian ecosystem along 11 miles of the River from approximately Griffith Park to downtown Los Angeles, while maintaining existing levels of flood risk management. Some additional resources studies are listed below:

  • The River Through Downtown, FOLAR, The Sierra Club, The Urban Resources Partnership (1998)
  • Taylor Yard and Los Angeles River Preliminary Groundwater and Surface Water Study (2002)
  • Taylor Yard Feasibility Study, CA Coastal Conservancy (2002)
  • Los Angeles River Revitalization Master Plan, City of Los Angeles (2007)

The Taylor Yard G2 River Park is within a globally scarce Mediterranean ecosystem which covers only 2 percent of the Earth’s land surface but accounts for 20 percent of all known plant species. The California "Floristic Province" is one of the top 25 global hotspots of rapid biodiversity loss and over 90 percent of Southern California’s riparian habitat has been lost along with 95 percent of California wetlands.

Restoration measures and objectives considered in previous studies include creation and reestablishment of riparian strand and freshwater marsh habitat to support increased populations of wildlife and enhance habitat connectivity within the study area, as well as to provide opportunities for connectivity to ecological zones, such as the Santa Monica Mountains, Verdugo Hills, Elysian Hills, and San Gabriel Mountains. Restoration includes the reintroduction of ecological and physical processes, such as a more natural hydro-logic and hydraulic regime that reconnects the river to historic floodplains and tributaries, reduced flow velocities, increased infiltration, improved natural sediment processes, and improved water quality. Previous studies also included opportunities for passive recreation that is compatible with the restored environment.

Project Goals

It is a primary goal of the City to provide public access to the River as soon as possible by cleaning up and opening parts of the G2 Parcel in phases.

The design goal is to create a park and open space that can not only be used by the local River-adjacent communities via walking and biking, but also a landscape that can serve as a regional destination for a larger array of Angelenos that can reach the site by car or public transportation.

Some objectives also include:

  • Quality of Life 
    • Create Great Park User Experience
    • Provide Recreational Opportunities and Safe River Access
    • Reflect History and Culture
    • Enhance Public Health and Safety
    • Encourage Active and Mass Transportation
  • Resource Allocation
    • Conserve Water and Energy Resources
    • Use Recycled Materials
  • Natural World
    • Remediate Contaminated Soils
    • Restore Natural Habitat
    • Support Biodiversity
    • Enhance Wildlife Connectivity
  • Climate and Risk
    • Design for Sustainability and Net Zero
  • Leadership
    • Engage Stakeholder Community
    • Design Consistent with Existing Plans
    • Evaluate Economic Viability