Daylight at the End of the Culvert: Great News for the Expo Greenway

Rendering of the Greenway from the Bureau of Sanitation's Watershed Protection Division's Concept Document

(On Tuesday night, an email from our friend Jonathan Weiss appeared in the Streetsblog inbox celebrating what appears to be a successful conclusion to the Expo Greenway proposal to create an environmentally friendly water garden.  Weiss’s email can be found below.  For more Streetsblog coverage of the Greenway, click here.  For more coverage of this week’s announcement, visit Rancho Park Online. – DN)

After more than four years, and with the encouragement and help of dozens of friends, neighbors, and environmentalists, the Expo Greenway is closer than ever to fruition.

Last week, the Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation’s Watershed Protection Division (WPD) unveiled its Westwood-Expo Botanical Water Garden concept.  Only a month before, Los Angeles City Councilmember Paul Koretz had prevailed on the Expo Authority to choose open space, instead of 170 parking spaces, on the 200-foot wide right of way, around the Westwood Light Rail station in the Westwood Gardens neighborhood in West Los Angeles.  Paul Koretz worked on behalf of residents, the homeowners association, environmentalists, rail activists (both for and against light rail), and, of course, ExpoGreenway.org, who united to preserve this historically open space.

Today: Water pooling at the Northside of Exposition Boulevard and Westwood Boulevard

The Westwood-Expo Botanical Water Garden would divert dry‐weather flow from now-buried streams and run it up and down City-owned land adjacent to the Expo ROW.  The revived stream would support a restored ecosystem and enhance pedestrian and bike paths lining the Expo transitway.  Through interpretive signs and labeled trees and plants, the Water Garden would also provide educational opportunities teaching visitors about ocean-friendly gardens and yards that conserve and clean water.

Ballona Creek’s “tributaries” cross the ROW, where water can be cleaned while sustaining a restored native plant ecosystem.  The Botanical Water Garden would divert dry‐weather flow (spring water, mixed with urban runoff) from the Overland Avenue storm drain to treat up to 4000 acres dry-weather runoff.  Diverted water will be lifted to the stream on the south side of the Expo light rail (South Stream), and run through a culvert under the tracks to the north side (North Stream).  During the 3-4 hours of being liberated from the storm drain, water would be cleaned through physical and biological treatment, as it flows through various plant communities and soil media and is exposed to the Sun’s ultraviolet light.

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