L.A.'s hometown world-renowned architect Frank Gehry will work up a master plan for revitalizing a portion of the blighted Los Angeles River, and everyone seems thrilled about it -- except The Times' letter writers.
Since the first batch of letters on the topic was published Tuesday, many more readers have written to say that Gehry -- whose notable works, including the Walt Disney Concert Hall, dramatically stand out from their environs -- is simply the wrong person to tap for remaking the river in a more natural state. Several object to any attempt at all to "restore" the river, saying the concrete-lined channel crucially shunts floodwaters safely to the Pacific Ocean
during wet years.
Who knew that L.A.'s widely ridiculed eyesore, a symbol of the city's complicated relationship with nature, had so many fans?
David Wire of Los Angeles describes why the L.A. River isn't ornamental:
Let's hope that the predictions are right and we do get a "Godzilla El Niño."
First of all, of course, we need the rain.
Second, perhaps this will silence all the ill-fated plans to beautify the Los Angeles River.
Those of us who have been here a while and actually have memories know that although the river may be ugly, its ugliness serves a vital purpose, which is to drain the floodwaters that occur when we get a few years' worth of rain in one month. Any beautification risks being washed away in a good El Niño year.
Rather than paying good money to fix something that isn't broken (the river), why not fix the streets? And I don't mean by removing traffic lanes.
Chatsworth resident P.J. Evans says our river is no Seine:
I suspect that the people who are proposing a "riverwalk"-type project have never been closer to the L.A. River than a photograph.
It's not a nice, flat, tame river where you can have sidewalk cafes next to the water. It isn't a river with several feet of water all year round that you can float boats on. It's a channel for flash floods, and it varies from nearly dry to nearly full. When there is water flowing, it can travel 30 miles an hour.
The model should not be San Antonio or Paris but Barcelona or Tehran.
Bill Duncan of Los Angeles says there are more important projects to fund:
Water, water everywhere, but Gehry a drop to drink.
The great Pacific Coast drought is ignored as our leaders are hard at work making sure all of our runoff water goes to the sea.
The irony is that soon we may spend billions to get the salt out of that same water. No sense using it now to refill groundwater or even treating it for household use.
And thank goodness we aren't wasting time and money on silly things like filing potholes, repairing sidewalks or replacing water pipes.