There is another new plan to “revitalize” the Los Angeles River. Costly L.A. River plan contains a raft of new ideas – Los Angeles Times. This might be a nice idea further north, through the San Fernando Valley to about Dodger Stadium, but south of there, where the soil turns into alluvium, it’s a ridiculously bad idea. This is a river that in the past 200 years, has moved it’s mouth from Santa Monica to Long Beach, often flooding the land over many miles from the center of the river channel. Up until the past few years, home owners with federally backed mortgages, had to have flood protection insurance. This requirement was only abandoned after the Army Corps of Engineers raised the edges of the river by several feet.
When I was in school, there was a group on campus that seriously argued for buying all the land for 1/2 mile on both sides of the LA River (all 52 miles), for a modest price of a billion dollars, to tear down the river banks and build green park space. Never mind that the land value is probably far greater than that, but how many people would be driven out of their homes?
Anyway, the LA River is a concrete monster. It’s our monster. It’s a tame monster now. To break it free from it’s shackles, to remove the 12 inch thick concrete along it’s base and walls, is to invite disaster for those who live along the river. To live next to a concrete monster is not pretty, but it is far better than to have your house washed away.