Rep. Tony Cárdenas announced more than $5 million in funding for improvements to the Pacoima Wash on Monday, April 18, including funds headed to the office of City Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez to build a new pedestrian/bicycle bridge and path along Telfair Avenue.
The Pacoima Wash is a concrete flood control channel that runs through much of the Northeast San Fernando Valley before joining the Los Angeles River.
The wash slices through Pacoima, creating an obstacle for people who want to travel by bike or foot to neighboring communities. The new bridge, however, will create a safe way to cross over the wash and link Pacoima with the city of San Fernando.
Rodriguez’ office will receive $5 million to build the bridge, with $800,000 going to the non-profit Pacoima Beautiful.
“Pacoima Beautiful is an environmental justice organization serving the entire Northeast San Fernando Valley that advocates for a better quality of life for the community,” according to the group’s leader, Executive Director Veronica Padilla-Campos.
“The funding we got from Congressman Cárdenas is $800,000 that will serve the first phase of construction for the Pacoima Wash. This portion is going to have a bikeway, a pedestrian walkway, and amenities for youth as well,” added Padilla-Campos.
The first of four phases of the Pacoima Beautiful greenspace project will run along the wash from the 118 freeway to the Haddon Avenue, where an existing narrow bridge is already in place.
The first part of the beautification project will include a bikeway, a pedestrian walkway and amenities for youth.
The project started with input from the community in 2011 that identified the area a region in need.
The four phases of the project will stretch from the 118 freeway to San Fernando Road when completed. There is no estimated date for completion.
“We are going to create a safe passage for young people and members of our community that won’t have to go through the laborious task of getting around some of these manmade structures,” Rodriguez said, “and that is what is most important to keep everybody safe and create the connections in our community that has often been obstructed by these waterways and freeways.”
Cárdenas is quite familiar with the Pacoima Wash. “I walked across that bridge to high school,” the congressman said as he motioned to the existing bridge at Haddon Avenue over the wash.
Cárdenas grew up in Pacoima and attended San Fernando High School.
“This is what the taxpayers sent us to do, bring money back home,” he said. “The community said we need to address this, we need to make it safe, bigger, and better, and that is what this money will do. When it comes to Pacoima Beautiful, they are going to make this space more inviting, more welcoming so people can actually not just walk across but enjoy this space and say, this is our space, this is our community.”
Associated Program: Pacoima Wash