L.A. River revitalization ideas once included a freeway
With architect Frank Gehry now involved in remaking the Los Angeles River, it's hard to imagine that there once was a push to place a freeway along the waterway's path. In the late 1980s and early '90s, the battle over the freeway idea gave voice to a movement to restore the concrete-lined river to its natural glory — a process that is now underway in some pockets. What did roadway advocates have in mind?
The Times outlined the plan in 1988: The freeway would consist of two segments: a stretch running from the west San Fernando Valley to downtown Los Angeles reserved for buses, vans and car-poolers; and a stretch extending south from downtown to Long Beach for trucks. The freeway would not take up the entire river, and parts still could be used for flood control.
A preliminary report concluded that much of the river could support the traffic lanes, and the proposal would relieve traffic congestion on several area freeways. It did not, however, address environmental concerns.
The cost to build: an estimated $30 million per mile.
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