A plan released by the L.A. Bureau of Engineering lays out a framework for a dramatic makeover of the San Fernando's massive Sepulveda Basin - but the timeline is long, and the price tag is steep.

View of Sepulveda Dam with proposed river improvements from Burbank BridgeCity of Los Angeles / Olin

Much of the 2,000 acres of land within the basin already serves as publicly accessible space - including offerings such as sports fields and three 18-hole golf course. However, a 2011 plan created by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, which owns the land, estimated that 575 acres is either designated inactive or set aside for vegetation management, which leaves room for new amenities.

Likewise, the Bureau of Engineering notes that the surrounding neighborhoods of Van Nuys and Sherman Oaks are considered to be park-poor, with just 0.2 acres of park space for every 1,000 residents. That falls far below the Los Angeles County goal of providing four acres for every 1,000 people.

City officials had previously explored three alternatives for the vision plan, each of would expand recreational space while also introducing new multi-modal transportation infrastructure, including new bridges, green streets, walking paths, and an extension of the Los Angeles River bike path. The chosen alternative, The Wildlands, was the most ambitious of the options in terms of habitat restoration, although feedback titled against the removing of existing recreation areas. As a result, the plan no longer calls for eliminating two of the existing golf courses in the basin.

Proposed Bull Creek OverlookCity of Los Angeles / Olin

The resulting vision plan, developed by Olin, Agency Artifact, and Geosyntec, contemplates 46 total projects, which would be implemented over a period of roughly 25 years - although a handful of projects may be completed in advance of the 2028 Summer Olympics, in which the Sepulveda Basin is slated to serve as a venue. Those individual components have price tags ranging from as low as $5 million for modest improvements to an existing freeway underpass to a $655 million to widen the Los Angeles River between White Oak and Balboa. The total cost of all improvements is estimated at $4.8 billion.

The range of projects includes new recreational facilities such as soccer fields, pickleball courts, and a kayak launch on the river, as well as ongoing plans such as the Balboa Aquatic Center, the Hjelte Soccer Field, and an extension of the Los Angeles River trail from White Oak to Burbank.

Proposed transportation and mobility projects within the basin would include a shuttle system, mobility hubs, river bridges and overlooks. Plans also call for new entry gateways at major intersections - the most notable of which is a proposed civic plaza and promenade running parallel with Victory Boulevard, which would include community amenities, an amphitheater, and other public gathering spaces.

Proposed improvements in Sepulveda Basin Vision PlanOlin

To give more feedback on the vision plan, click here.

For more images, visit our gallery.

Follow us on social media: 

Twitter / Facebook / LinkedIn / Threads / Instagram