Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Cal Poly Students Roam the LA River on Bicycles

Last Saturday found the Cal Poly Pomona Urban & Regional Planning 487 class on the streets of Elysian Valley, doing a site visit as part of their conceptual design plan to create a Neighborhood Gateway Center in this neighborhood on the West Bank of the Los Angeles River.

But this was no typical planning site visit. It was a bicycle tour of the neighborhood and LA River by 40 enthusiastic planning students, searching for the clues that make each community, including Elysian Valley, unique.

The morning started with coffee and overview presentations by LA River, CRA-LA, and neighborhood leaders at the Frank Romero Frogtown Art Studio on Blake Avenue.

Speakers included LA River Office Director, Dr. Carol Armstrong, CRA-LA liaison to the LA River Revitalization Corporation, Jason Neville, Friends of the LA River Executive Director Shelly Backlar, Dorris Place Elementary Principal Susan Grant, and CRA-LA Northeast Los Angeles River Study Area Planner and Team Leader, Allison Becker. Also in attendance for CRA were Jessica Cowley of the Neighborhood Design Studio, Outreach Coordinator Michael Cortez, and Technical Services Coordinator Alex Holsheimer.  Each short presentation helped orient the students to the neighborhood's history and character as well as opportunities and challenges for river restoration and community revitalization.

Then it was outside to the bicycles and a roving tour of the neighborhood and the river, via the newly opened LA River Bicycle Path, to visit landmarks, ask questions of the presenters who were posted at various stations throughout the community, and take pictures of buildings, green streets, and local color that will help them design an important new gateway community hub that will connect Frogtown, as it is affectionately called, with the LA River and beyond, including an imagined future bridge across the River to connect this neighborhood with Taylor Yard and the Rio de Los Angeles State Park on the East Bank.

Based upon the level of curiosity and energy at the site visit, expectations are high for a terrific final conceptual plan, which will be completed in March.  Check back then to see the final product.

Special thanks to local businesses Antigua Cultural Coffee House for providing coffee and Flying Pigeon LA for providing bicycles.

How about exploring your neighborhood from the seat of a bicycle?

1 comment:

  1. The experience has been great so far. I can tell everyone in the class is really excited about the project, especially after the bicycle field trip.


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