A few weeks back, I explored some of the LA River as it meanders under concrete overpasses and alongside freeways.
There is a paucity of decent parkland in Los Angeles, as anyone who lives here can attest. Looking at an overhead map of the San Fernando Valley, one sees blocks and blocks of development, only sometimes interrupted by a small park.
The great freeway builders of the 1950s rammed their roads through the parks because it was easier and cheaper to do than buying up private property. As a result, North Hollywood, with its river and public green spaces, now plays host to an eternal hellish drone of smoke, noise, litter, violent driving and environmental catastrophe.
In Van Nuys, the 405 slices through parks, a wildlife sanctuary, past the Sepulveda Dam and through the Woodley Park area.
There are forces now, benevolent ones, like the Friends of the LA River, who are trying to reverse the damage done by the entombing of the river in the early 1940s, and the paving over by traffic engineers in the 1950s and 60s. They are planting trees, promoting walking and nature, and building bike trails. The most affluent area of the San Fernando Valley, Studio City, has seen the most upgrades along the LA River.
But mostly the river and water and wash is ignored, standing mute, alongside the vehicles and the onslaught of cars and trucks, whose main goal is getting somewhere faster.