Avalon Alleys To Become Green Allies

South Los Angeles has the challenge of being one of the most green-space-challenged areas in Southern California. The Avalon Green Alley Network Project is working to change that by transforming often unsafe and polluted alleyways into new community green spaces.  The project will work to create walkable and bikeable thoroughfares that incorporate stormwater low impact development practices. “The alleys will be repurposed for people, water and urban wildlife as an interconnected open-space network, with pedestrian walkways and gathering spaces built over an infrastructure designed to address LA’s pervasive water needs,” said Enrique C. Zaldivar, Los Angeles Sanitation Director. 

Recently city and community leaders broke ground near 54th Street and Main Street on the first of two alleys to be retrofitted. This demonstration project, which is a joint partnership between the City of Los Angeles, The Trust for Public Land, the Council for Watershed Health, the Coalition for Responsible Community Development and the Los Angeles Conservation Corps, retrofits a 15,100-square-foot public alley, located in a high-density, 5.2-acre neighborhood.  The project will install permeable pavers, dry wells and rainwater harvesting elements to slow down the speed of the rainwater flowing from a 3.15-acre sub-tributary to the Los Angeles River, and allow for its capture and use and/or infiltration back into underground aquifers.

The improvement of water quality in the Los Angeles River and the replenishment of underground aquifers are just a few of this project’s many gains.  South Los Angeles residents will also enjoy multiple benefits. These green corridors will provide safe routes to and from school for children as well as encourage residential walkability and help to cool areas of Los Angeles often plagued by an urban heat island effect.

This demonstration project is scheduled to be complete by fall 2015 and is funded by Proposition 84 and Proposition O. The long term goal of the Avalon Green Alley Network Project includes the greening of almost 900 miles of alleys in Los Angeles, which represents nearly 2,400 acres of potential community and green space. The project also hopes to add community art, interpretive signage and a fitness path.

Often viewed as blighted and undesirable, the Avalon Green Alley Network Project takes the perception of the area behind homes and buildings and turns it upside down – demonstrating the potential that is in all of LA’s neighborhoods and transforming often forgotten alleys into green allies.

Photo courtesy of The Trust for Public Land and Content Object Design Studio.

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