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Want to create a park by the LA River? There's a guide for that

Kayakers on the L.A. River near Marsh Park during the opening day of the new "recreation zone."
Mary Plummer/KPCC
Kayakers on the L.A. River near Marsh Park.

There’s a host of hidden gems in the greenway along the 51-mile L.A. River – but you have to know where to find them.

Luckily, there’s a new, handy guide for that. This weekend, the UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation released the Los Angeles River Greenway Guide, a roundup of small and large projects that have been implemented all along the the river. It spotlights 14 projects, including parks, bike paths, hiking trails, bridges, river access points and even areas with free exercise equipment.  

It's not a comprehensive list, but the guide delves deep in the organizational and community efforts that went into each project. That’s because aside from just highlighting these projects along the greenway, the guide is meant to inspire communities near the river to think about how they can develop even more projects in the area – and learn from the challenges that other projects have faced. 

“Future project proponents can use that information and don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time they’re working on something new along the greenway,” Kelsey Jessup, project manager at the UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation, tells KPCC.

The case studies include guidance for developing project goals and feasible timelines, funding options and considerations about permits and private land use, using examples from projects developed by local communities as well as larger initiatives spearheaded by government agencies.

Jessup says she hoped the guide would not just encourage everyone living in river-adjacent communities — not just government officials or project managers — to speak up about what they want for the future of the L.A. River. 

"When you see that there’s going to be any event talking about the river held by an agency or a nonprofit, you should go and voice what you want to see along the river," she said. "You don’t have to be an expert. Just by being someone who is living near the river, you have a say."

You can find the Luskin Center’s guide to the greenway here