From Mediocre to Magnificent

If you have been driving up and down Woodman Avenue between Lanark and Saticoy Streets this past year, you probably noticed quite a few changes taking place along this avenue’s previously vegetation-challenged median. Earlier this month, the City of Los Angeles cut the ribbon on a brand new median that is not only aesthetically pleasing to passing motorists and pedestrians but will create a more beautiful environment for the Los Angeles River watershed with above-ground and underground improvements. “The Woodman Avenue Stormwater Capture and Median Retrofit Project in Panorama City benefits more than just the local environment. It makes our community proud to live in our neighborhoods and drive down our streets,” stated Los Angeles Councilwoman Nury Martinez.  “Growing up, I’ve seen many changes in the San Fernando Valley and efforts that beautify our district like this can inspire the next generation to also invest and care for our community.”

This median project features some impressive numbers. Ninety-nine new street trees have been planted and 27,000 square feet of native and drought tolerant landscaping has been installed along the 3,500 foot long median. Additional enhancements include a five-foot-wide walking path, access ramps and revamped bus stops. The below-ground improvements are even more notable. The project will help to recharge groundwater basins, improve water quality and alleviate local flooding in the San Fernando Valley. The project will now treat polluted surface runoff from 127 acres of a LA River sub-watershed and divert it into a naturalized vegetated swale where the water will infiltrate into the ground. To give you a sense of how much water we’re talking about, this median now has the potential to infiltrate half a million gallons of water into our groundwater supplies during a rain event.  Wow! 

This project demonstrates perfectly that the rethinking – and re-greening! – of our urban landscape can mean real benefits for a city and a state struggling with water quality and conservation issues. It is a multi-beneficial plan that helps a community and our coast, all while transforming a median from mediocre to magnificent.

Photo courtesy of City of Los Angeles, Department of Public Works.

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