I think the Los Angeles River can be "liberated" in the not-so-distant future, and I believe it can be done without holding Los Angeles taxpayers hostage ("L.A. River: Neat Idea, Bad Timing," (editorial, Aug. 13).
My proposal to revitalize the river would transform an urban dead zone into a vibrant esplanade by incorporating transportation, greenbelting, recreation, low-cost housing and community development--and at little or no extra cost to Los Angeles residents.
My plan would create additional lanes for commuters while bringing neighborhoods along the river together by lining its banks with parks, trees, schools, community centers, housing and public/private commercial ventures. And much of it would be paid for with transportation dollars.
Last June, California voters approved Propositions 111 and 108, providing the funding source for projects such as the "Los Angeles River Parkway." Commuter lanes strictly for car pools, van pools and clean fuel-burning buses along one side of the river basin would eliminate 300 tons of air pollution each year.
The construction of commuter lanes would be accompanied by the planting of tens of thousands of trees, eligible for funding under Proposition 111's urban reforestation program, which also provides for the acquisition of land for natural habitat and parks. And no city funds would be taken away from police or paramedics.
The potential exists on the southern end of the Los Angeles River Parkway to construct toll roads for trucks, yet another possible revenue source. By removing trucks from the Harbor and Long Beach Freeways, we could remove daily stress and lost time for commuters who have to share those highways. No city funds would be taken away from trash pickups, libraries or parks.
The parkway will provide opportunities for mixed-use developments and public and private partnerships on land adjacent to the river.
Nonprofit groups could work with developers to create an esplanade of shops, housing, schools and community centers. And no city funds would be taken away from fire fighting, sewer systems or any other strapped budgets.
The Los Angeles River is a tremendous asset that the city has failed to manage. My vision of the Los Angeles River Parkway seeks to address our transportation crisis by adding commuter lanes while still protecting and enhancing our environment.
I seek a creative way to combine and leverage public and private dollars in order to improve the quality of life in our city. My aim is to create a sight for sore eyes from what is now nothing but an eyesore.
Chairman, Transportation Committee