The Greening of LA County: Huge Parks Plan Would Finally Give LA Its Emerald Necklace

Neal Broverman


The Emerald Necklace Vision plan, which would create a 17-mile loop of parks and greenways connecting 10 Los Angeles County cities, was ambitious when it was announced nine years ago, but now an expanded version makes that earlier plan look like a cakewalk. The Emerald Necklace Expanded Vision, via Next City would create 176 miles of greenways connecting the cities of the San Gabriel Valley to the southeast Gateway Cities, to Los Angeles proper and the Pacific Ocean, Catalina Island, and other municipalities and unincorporated areas. The plan is led by Amigos de los Rios and the Conservation Fund, which hope to add trails and bridges along rivers and washes, take advantage of rights-of-way, and encourage walking and biking with crosswalks, bike paths, and improved signal timing for pedestrians.

The initial effort was inspired by Olmsted Brothers' legendary park plan for LA, which envisioned a "necklace" of green encompassing the city, but was abandoned in the 1930s amid bureaucratic in-fighting. The Amigo de los Rios has already constructed 10 parks in notoriously park-poor areas, like El Monte and Whittier. Mayor Garcetti is on-board with the expanded vision—a separate endeavor from the $1-billion greening of the LA River—and supports the regional approach to getting it built. Part of the plan includes the identification of funding, but there is an understanding that implementation would take 20 to 30 years.
· Ambitious L.A. Parks Plan Will Require Coordination of 88 Cities [NextCity]