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Pacoima Wash

News:Download our Pacoima Wash Vision Plan!

The Pacoima Wash Initiative is collaboration between community residents,youth,community-based organizations,and government agencies and local elected officials from Sylmar,Arleta,and Pacoima to adopt an action plan for the restoration of the Pacoima Wash. The Initiative was made possible by a Los Angeles County PLACE Grant and has been coordinated for the past three years by Max Podemski. The Pacoima Wash is a 10 mile flood control channel constructed in the 1940’s. It begins at the Pacoima Dam in the San Gabriel Mountains and ends at the Arleta Spreading Grounds. The wash snakes through the LA communities of Sylmar,Pacoima,and the City of San Fernando. The wash has the potential to provide 10.5 miles of parks,bike and walking paths for one of the most park deprived areas of the City.

The initiative will create a Vision Plan for areas of the Wash located within LA city limits,specifically in the community of Pacoima. Through the initiative residents,youth,and collaborative partners identified sites,evaluated compatibility,environmental hazards and impacts and physical safety,and created a framework for a recreation area that meets the recreation and physical activity needs of the community.

The community of Pacoima is home to over 100,000 people of which 85% are Latino and 8% African American.  It suffers from severe overcrowding with 21% of the population living in garages or renting rooms.  60.92% of residents have less than a high school education;66% receive medical assistance and 19% food stamps;and 16.86% of families live below the Federal Poverty Level.  The community is bordered in 3 sides by freeways and industrial and residential uses are often situated right next to each other creating a toxic environment where 20% of the residents have Asthma.

Compounding the environmental problems in the district,Pacoima also suffers from a lack of space for physical activity in an area that desperately needs it. 1 in 4 Pacoima residents suffer from heart disease. Stroke is the 3rd leading cause of death in the neighborhood and 6.3% of the population suffers from diabetes. 17% of Pacoima residents are obese including 29% of the youth,ranking in the bottom quartile of LA County. In spite of this the neighborhood only has 54.3 acres of park space. According to the LA City General Plan,the ideal ratio of park space is 4 acres per 1,000 residents.  If Pacoima had its ideal ratio,close to 400 acres of park space would be available for residents and families.

Rendering of future Pacoima Wash Park

The goal of the Pacoima wash initiative is to turn a dead space which has become an eyesore into a valuable community asset and in turn help alleviate the severe environmental conditions in the neighborhood. We are currently in the process of conducting a physical assessment of the wash and working with the community and government officials to develop a plan for restoring it. The long-term goal is to develop park space along the wash and revise the city zoning away from industrial activity. Pacoima Beautiful has assembled a diverse coalition to champion this project including:Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority,Los Angeles Planning Department,Council Member Felipe Fuentes,7th District;Congress Member Tony Cardenas,Councilwoman Nury Martinez,6th District;Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky,39th Assembly District;Assembly Member Raul Bocanegra;and State Senator Alex Padilla,20th State Senate District.

For more information about our Pacoima Wash work,contact Max by email or at 818-899-2454.