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Letters to the Editor: L.A. River Master Plan serves driving tourists, not local residents

Convergence of L.A. River and Rio Hondo
The L.A. River Master Plan envisions large parks near the convergence of the L.A. River and Rio Hondo in South Gate.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: We agree wholeheartedly that our municipal master plans must address displacement and avoid policies and programs that gentrify people out of their neighborhoods. (“How to make sure the L.A. River Master Plan fulfills its promise to the Gateway Cities,” Opinion, Feb. 21)

The Los Angeles River Master Plan’s focus on “elevated platform parks” will funnel massive resources into mega-projects that mainly draw people who can afford cars and parking, while leaving hundreds of thousands stuck in unhealthy neighborhoods without walkable parks or greenways.

Imagine if all that money went into greening the L.A. River banks with linear parks and making the bike path safe and welcoming, while creating smaller parks throughout the Gateway Cities communities. This would truly improve the quality of life, including the health and safety, of current residents.

The new green space would serve double duty in capturing and keeping rainwater, which is a critical need in our increasingly arid climate and a primary goal of both the L.A. County Department of Public Works and the State Water Quality Control Board, which regulates polluted runoff in our rivers and on our coast.

Rather than capping the river with concrete and building massive, centralized parks on top of it, spend taxpayer dollars in communities where parks and green space are most desperately needed.

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Shelley Luce, Santa Monica, and Tori Kjer, Los Angeles

Luce is president and chief executive of Heal the Bay; Kjer is executive director of the Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust.

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To the editor: I have seen this so-called river plan.

Lewis MacAdams would be rolling over in his grave if he saw it. He started Friends of the Los Angeles River and was a mild-mannered poet and outdoors type of guy.

MacAdams never sought to develop the L.A. River into an urban spectacle as envisioned by architect Frank Gehry. This plan would require billions of dollars and would destroy the “parkway” vision of MacAdams.

This is what happens when big shots grab onto a community-based idea.

Mark C. Salvaggio, Bakersfield


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