LA’s “Green Street” Brings Nature Back to the Neighborhood

LA’s “Green Street” standard provides communities with a funding opportunity, a watershed improvement opportunity, a traffic calming opportunity and a street beautification opportunity.

left The first “Green Street” in Los Angeles came to a celebrated completion last summer along Oros Street in Elysian Valley. One of several projects of its type, the Oros Street overhaul marks the first time a Los Angeles neighborhood sub-watershed will contribute no pollutants to the L.A. River.

“Only clean water, if any, from this neighborhood will enter the Los Angeles River,” says Public Works Board President Cynthia M. Ruiz. “[Oros Street] is the first of many green streets to be constructed within the City.”

Oros Street has been designed to capture stormwater runoff from private homes and the street itself. The stormwater is then cleaned through a series of soil filtration and vegetative bioretention treatments before it reaches the L.A. River. Other noticeable benefits include the beautification of the neighborhood with new infrastructure and ample greenscape.

The first to be partially funded by Proposition O program grants (over $385,000) with additional support from the California Water Control Board, the Oros Green Street Project was a collaborative effort, spearheaded by the not-for-profit North East Trees with assistance from City, State, and Federal agencies as well as various community stakeholders. Close coordination was also made with the Los Angeles Department of Public Works, Bureau of Street Services, Bureau of Sanitation and Bureau of Engineering.

“This project is the new gold standard for how North East Trees and our project partners can transform and complete the cycle of restoring nature’s services in an urban environment,” says Larry Smith, Executive Director of North East Trees.

Green Street 2Utilizing new technology, the Bureau of Street Services constructed five stormwater gardens along the street corridor. The garden areas in the parkway act as filters for runoff and hold the water for a period of time before it is discharged in to nearby Steelhead Park, which serves as a natural filtration system. This process assists in the removal of toxic pollutants, serving dual functions for the community; one as neighborhood park and another as water purifier.

“[The Oros Street project] is a model of project sustainability that is helping to restore nature’s services for our neighborhoods,” says Smith of North East Trees. “We are very excited about our partnership with the City of Los Angeles.”


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