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Safe Clean Water Program: Focus on LA’s Lankershim Boulevard Project
Safe Clean Water Program: Focus on LA’s Lankershim Boulevard Project Image

If you’re a resident of the San Fernando Valley, you learn which streets to avoid when it’s raining. You know which streets become flooded, which streets are almost impassable, which streets create challenges and dangers for both vehicles and pedestrians. Lankershim Boulevard has historically been one of those streets. But what if there were a way to flip the story and take a situation that has been a problem in the San Fernando Valley and turn it into part of the solution to LA’s ongoing water supply challenges, with the added bonus of creating a greener and cooler neighborhood?


That is exactly what the Lankershim Boulevard Local Area Urban Flow Urban Management Network Project (also known as the Lankershim Boulevard Project) aims to do. Its goal is to capture, clean and then keep stormwater by infiltrating it into underground aquifers – transforming a former risk into a future resource. 


The Lankershim Boulevard Project has the distinction of being one of the first projects approved for funding by LA County’s Safe Clean Water Regional Program in late 2020.  This $43 million project will improve a 1.5 mile stretch of Lankershim Boulevard between Tuxford Avenue and Sherman Way and is an excellent example of transforming a traditionally designed street into a corridor that simultaneously improves water quality, increases water supply, reduces area flooding and creates community enhancements.


The Lankershim Boulevard Project will use a combination of stormwater best management practices (or BMPs) and stormwater infrastructure to achieve its goals. The proposed BMPs include the construction of a new storm drain pipe and catch basins along Lankershim Blvd., from Tuxford St to Sherman Way in order to address the existing flooding issues. Underground dry wells will capture, treat and infiltrate stormwater runoff, new street trees will reduce the heat island effect and improve air quality, new vegetated median islands and new parkway planters will treat surface runoff, infiltrate rainwater and reduce peak flow during strong rain events. Working together, this new green infrastructure creates an impressive list of water quality, water supply and community benefits, which include:


  • 52 underground dry well systems will be integrated with a new storm drain system and capture more than 36 million gallons of stormwater runoff from a 300-acre area in a normal rainy season –  that’s enough water for 250 LA families annually!
  • 85% of zinc from stormwater runoff will be captured and removed, preventing this pollutant, as well as other other pollutants from reaching the Los Angeles River
  • 57 stand-alone catch basins will syphon stormwater off the street and direct it to the drywell systems. Excess runoff will overflow into the new storm drain system, reducing the flooding on Lankershim Boulevard
  • 315 trees will be planted to reduce the heat-island effect in the area, provide habitats for nesting birds and other species, and improve air quality by reducing local levels of carbon dioxide and other air pollutants 
  • 232 parkway planters (vegetated areas along the sidewalks) will be constructed and planted with California natives, which will beautify the neighborhood while slowing the flow of stormwater
  • 15 vegetated median islands located in the center of the roadway on Lankershim Blvd. will provide canopy, urban respite and ample green space in this park poor area


LA Sanitation and Environment anticipates design work for the Lankershim Boulevard Project to begin in December 2021 and construction to start in late 2023. The project is projected to be completed by October 2026.


If you have any questions about the Lankershim Boulevard Project or would like to be included on the list of project stakeholders who will receive periodic updates, please contact us at san.safecleanwater@lacity.org and place “Lankershim Boulevard Project” in the subject line.


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