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Initial Services

Initial services for river staff should include picking up trash and emptying waste/recycling receptacles, on the ground emergency notification capabilities, wayfinding, providing basic information about the river, and associated administration and coordination duties.

This could be piloted in a couple of 3-4 mile zones in year one at an estimated cost of $225k per mile for staffing this team, operating expenses, and start up and training costs. Although start up and training costs will diminish over time, scaling the program to 51 miles is estimated at $11.7 million in the near and long-term future for initial services.

Additional funding streams could complement initial services in an intermediate phase with the establishment and monitoring of facilities along the river, educational interpretation, safety escorts, and outreach and referrals to health and human services to nearby communities and people experiencing homelessness. These services fall within the realm of outreach and on-the-ground assistance instead of law enforcement, which would require extensive permitting for authorizations, training, and additional resources if not carried out by existing authorized law enforcements with responsibility for river reaches.

Large amounts of trash and debris are common conditions underneath bridges along the LA River.
LA County Public Works, 2018.
A phased approach to river staff for operations and maintenance, safety, and interpretive programs can help build a safe, inclusive, and well maintained reimagined river.
OLIN, 2019.

Future comprehensive programs could include vegetation/native habitat maintenance and monitoring, crime prevention through environmental design resources, and various educational and recreational tours and programs along the river. Varied funding and operations sources would be required at this stage. All initial and future services would rely on increasing public health and neighborhood safety resources as a primary approach instead of deterring and criminalizing people experiencing homelessness or any other targeted populations from using public space along the river. A dedicated on the ground presence of O&M and safety staff would facilitate the strategies employed by the Master Plan to address primary community barriers to access to the river as well as enhancing coordination among jurisdictions and efficiency and streamlining for services along all 51 miles of the river.

434 community members reported poor maintenance as the reason why they are not visiting the la river

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