In August The Los Angeles Department of City Planning hosted a series of Saturday workshops to discuss the proposed River Improvement Overlay (RIO) District. The RIO is a proposed special use district that requires new projects to achieve points in three design categories: Watershed, Urban Design, and Mobility. The RIO also provides guidelines for new “complete” streets and includes a mobility strategy to ensure that the needs of pedestrians, bicyclists, transit riders, and vehicle drivers are considered when major projects or street improvements are undertaken.
The RIO will enable the City to better coordinate land use development all along the 32-mile corridor from Canoga Park to Boyle Heights. It enhances the river with coordinated design standards and guidelines that can be applied through a streamlined review process and it allows the City to link watershed and water quality objectives with land use planning. Design standards are expected to emphasize water quality, connections to the river, building orientation to the river and landscape character. “Any new industry in the area is expected to be focused on green, sustainable production processes. More sustainable urban service delivery is also important to upgrading the corridor and restoring the river – which is the longterm goal,” says Carol Armstrong, City of Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering. The Plan can be viewed online at http://www.lariverrmp.org. And the river now has its own website for updates: www.lariver.org.