Mayor Eric Garcetti's admirable support for the $1-billion revamping of the Los Angeles River needs to be backed not just by environmentalists and developers but by every doctor and nurse in the area.
The proposed area of revitalization is north of downtown, but the effort should be a precedent for river restoration in communities farther south, which have the greatest health challenges and the lowest rates of access to parks in the county. Revitalization of the river — with careful consideration and input from surrounding neighborhoods — would provide much-needed green space for exercise and recreation, socializing and active transportation through walking and bicycling.
L.A. County residents spend more than $1.3 billion a week on healthcare, due in no small part to physical inactivity. An excellent way to decrease healthcare expenditures would be to invest in prevention, specifically walking and bicycling.
Couldn't we get a revitalized L.A. River for the price of a week of medical care?
Richard Jackson, MD, and Tyler Watson
Jackson is the chairman of the environmental health sciences program at UCLA's Fielding School of Public Health, where Watson is a researcher.
In this time of drought, we should be reminded that the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power dumps more than 20 million gallons of treated water into the L.A. River every day.
This water originally was intended to replenish the aquifer under the San Fernando Valley. Politics got in the way, so now we have some pretty areas along the river.
Perhaps instead of spending hundreds of millions of dollars to make our river prettier, we should use the water as planned, at least until an El Niño brings rain.
Roy W. Rising