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The L.A. River's potential

Environmental Health Sciences Professor Richard Jackson and PhD student Tyler Watson wrote to the L.A. Times about the public health impact of revamping the L.A. River.
Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Mayor Eric Garcetti's admirable support for the $1-billion revamping of the Los Angeles River needs to be backed not just by environmentalists and developers but by every doctor and nurse in the area.

The proposed area of revitalization is north of downtown, but the effort should be a precedent for river restoration in communities farther south, which have the greatest health challenges and the lowest rates of access to parks in the county. Revitalization of the river — with careful consideration and input from surrounding neighborhoods — would provide much-needed green space for exercise and recreation, socializing and active transportation through walking and bicycling.

L.A. County residents spend more than $1.3 billion a week on healthcare, due in no small part to physical inactivity. An excellent way to decrease healthcare expenditures would be to invest in prevention, specifically walking and bicycling.

Couldn't we get a revitalized L.A. River for the price of a week of medical care?

Read the op-ed online.