Understanding the Scale of the LA River
Nearly one million people live within one mile of the LA River and over one-third of Californians live within a one-hour drive.1Population based on census tracts that intersect a 1-mile buffer around the LA River and a 1-hour drive distance generated by Esri. Calculated from U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey 2015–2019 5-Year Estimates, Table B01001, 2021; U.S. Census Bureau, 2016 TIGER/Line Geodatabase (machine-readable data files), 2016.
To better understand costs associated with the LA River Master Plan and the funding needed, it is important to understand the scale of the LA River. The number of people who will directly benefit from the implementation of the LA River Master Plan’s goals for improved quality of life, functioning ecosystems, parks, arts and culture, housing affordability, supportive housing, education, and improved flood risk management, water quality, and water supply is unprecedented in scale by most urban park or infrastructure projects.
The LA River Master Plan proposes a 51-mile connected open space that functions as a multi-benefit resource that will manage flood waters while also improving ecosystems and health and wellbeing. When comparing the scale of the 2,300 acres of the LA River right-of-way to other public parks around the world, the LA River has significant potential to impact the daily lives of Angelenos and the ecosystems of the LA region. The LA River represents one of the most continuous, almost entirely publicly owned opportunities in LA County for public open space. Even Central Park in New York City, which is 843 acres, pales in comparison to the 2,300 acres of the LA River right-of-way.
Large Park Comparisons
Reimagining such a large land area that functions as a piece of critical infrastructure may seem daunting. However, within the context of large infrastructure projects across the United States and particularly in California and the Los Angeles region, the costs associated with the LA River Master Plan are not overly ambitious within the plan’s 25 year implementation period.