Pacoima Wash Bike Path
A 606 Project Proposal:
For the conversion of Pacoima Wash
Into a Community Amenity.
By Ian Fitzsimmons & Laurel Gollong
City of San Fernando
117 Macneil Street
San Fernando, CA 91340
Department of Landscape Architecture
California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
Pomona, CA 91768
The 606 studio is a consortium of faculty and graduate students in the Department of
Landscape Architecture at the California Polytechnic University, Pomona. The studio
promotes the application of advanced methods of analysis and design with particular
emphasis on the preservation and restoration of sensitive natural systems. Projects
address serious and important ecological, social, and aesthetic issues related to urban,
suburban and rural or natural landscapes.
Teams of third-year graduate students and members of the graduate faculty carry out
projects. Working with the direction and continuous participation of the faculty group,
graduate students perform the tasks of research, analysis, planning, and presentation.
Design approaches vary considerably depending on the scope and character of the
project. In every case, the approach fits within the framework of Ecosystematic Design
developed by the Cal Poly Pomona graduate program. This approach stresses sensitive
understanding of principles of ecology, particularly the systematic behavior of material
and energy flows, in relation to human uses.
The academic studio environment offers a unique opportunity for graduate students to
explore issues and possibilities. Because it functions within an educational institution,
the 606 Studio bears the responsibility to maintain academic integrity, advance the state
of the art, and contribute to public well-being. The real nature of theses projects has a
strong practical base, as well as a display of technical and professional expertise.
The schedule of the 606 projects is fixed by academic year. Project definition and
organization begins in October each year, with actual work beginning in the first week of
January 2004. Work must be completed and final reports submitted and approved by
The 606 Studio at Cal Poly Pomona. http://www.csupomona.edu/~la/grad/606html/. Please see our
website for more information, past projects, and awards.
Imagine children riding their bicycles to school or to the local Cineplex. Imagine these
same children playing in new parks just minutes from their homes, or planning a fieldtrip
to explore the intricacies of nature. Imagine these children with their parents, strolling or
biking under shade trees along a trail connecting the parks in the city to the National
Forest a few miles north.
Now imagine all of this happening within the small City of San Fernando, which is
surrounded by Los Angeles one of the most populous metropolises in the United States of
This small city, with a population of only 45,000, lies in the northern portion of San
Fernando Valley and is a short distance to the Angeles National Forest. Yet for a
community that was first to be established in the valley originally named Valle de
Encino, or the Valley of Oaks, it currently lacks any significant connection to the natural
One way to foster this connection is to create a bike path that connects the residents of
San Fernando and the surrounding communities to the trails in the Angeles National
Forest via a vegetated path along Pacoima Wash. This trail would also connect the
community to an existing bike path that runs along First Street, to a future high school
and middle school, three sites considered for open space, a retail and Cineplex
development, and possibly to the region as a whole through cooperation with the City of
Another way to foster a connection to nature is by integrating the bike path and open
space into a greenway running along the Pacoima Wash which allows the City of San
Fernando to explore regenerative options for the wash, such as increasing permeability,
creating wildlife habitat, natural pollution controls, and stormwater treatment.
By thinking regionally, ecologically, and socially, the City of San Fernando can take a
leading role in a region that has typically been underserved by Los Angeles and spur
greater regional investment in ecologically and socially responsible public projects.
Key Issues and Opportunities
The Pacoima Wash is a tributary of the Los Angeles River running from the Angeles
National Forest to the Tujunga Wash. In this short distance, the wash runs through native
costal chaparral, new residential development, established neighborhoods, industrial sites,
and commercial developments. Given this context, a number of key issues must be
o The path will provide a much needed connection between an existing bike
path, the communities surrounding San Fernando and the neighborhoods in
between. What is the best way to make connections to the neighborhoods it
passes through and more importantly, how is the path connected to more
distant communities? Is there the potential for connection to other greenway
or open space systems?
o The path is to be designed for multiple types of users. How can the design
address conflicts between the different user groups such as casual strollers,
cyclists, skaters, and children coming and going to school?
o What recreational resources, such as parks, wild lands, and commercial
recreational activities will this trail connect? How can these connections be
o Are there rest areas and where would they be located? What other recreational
opportunities could be integrated into the path and these rest areas?
o The wash and proposed bike path traverses an industrial area with some
brownfields. As these sites may serve as open space, the issue of soil
contamination needs to be addressed. If the sites are contaminated, can
phytoremediation or other bioremediation techniques mitigate the problem?
o What opportunities exist for the proposed trail to also serve as a corridor for
preservation of native plant and animal species in the region? Are there any
endangered species or other species of concern which should be targeted in
o Invasive plant species abound in the areas surrounding the wash. Can
restoration of native plant communities effectively take place in this context?
o Erosion, pollution, and litter running off the site into the Pacoima Wash will
further degrade this already highly impacted area along with the valley’s
aquifer. What design strategies could be employed to preserve water quality?
Can this trail assist in the filtering of pollutants from adjacent sites,
particularly in the older industrial area?
o What is the range of user profiles that can be expected to make use of the
proposed path? How would the path design best serve the diverse
communities along its mile and a half plus length?
o How are community demographics and population expected to change over
the next 20 years? How can this path respond to these anticipated changes?
o How will safety issues be addressed so people are comfortable using the path?
o How can the path integrate the public history of the communities which it
serves? Are there opportunities for artistic expression of culture, history, and
o Will the path have an educational element to it? If so, how will this be best
integrated into the design?
o What historical events happened in this area? Are there any events directly
related to the wash? What are some of the historical uses of the wash and the
surrounding areas? How can this information influence the design? Are there
ways of making this history accessible to the community as a whole?
o For a long period of time, the San Fernando Valley Region has had to deal
with air pollution and congestion. How can the design of this path attract
people to use it as transportation alternative?
o Can a trail connection between urban and rural areas provide greater
awareness to the general public? Can the trail help people think beyond their
property lines and discuss issues in a regional context?
o How does this trail fit within the network of the regions trails and paths?
Increase city wide recreational opportunities.
Help the city meet its goal of having open space within a fifteen minute walk of all
Provide a visual amenity in a historically bleak industrial area.
Increase the natural functionality of the wash and the area landscape.
Provide a safe alternative transportation route to a wide range age groups.
The goal of the proposed Pacoima Wash Bike Path and Greenway is to develop designs,
guidelines and strategies for remediation, restoration and recreation along the Pacoima
Wash with particular emphasis on the section located within the City of San Fernando’s
boundaries. The path design itself should embody the vision of the community, consider
the needs of the environment, and provide for the mental and physical health of future
generations. In order to fulfill this goal, the project team will look beyond the confines of
the project site to examine the region’s social and environmental issues, seeking
opportunities for connectivity and environmental sustainability. In addition to path
design, the team will create guidelines and strategies for addressing connectivity between
local and regional trails, greenspaces, and native habitats. This will allow the Pacoima
Wash Bike Path and Greenway to become an integral part of a much larger system.
There will also be designs and recommendations for controlling and treating pollution
that enters the site from adjoining properties before it enters a stream or percolates into
the water table. These guidelines will provide alternatives to the typical methods of
treating pollution by examining methods of dealing with point source and non-point
source pollution. These guidelines will help the communities to take a more active role in
pollution reduction and foster education through example.
The Pacoima Wash Bike Path and Greenway Plan will also take into consideration
existing plans, including those proposed by the City of San Fernando, the City of Los
Angeles, the California Department of Transportation (CalTrans), the Army Corp of
Engineers, Regional Water Quality Board, and others.
To inventory the environmental, historical and cultural resources of the Pacoima
Wash and the surrounding neighborhoods.
To develop a vision for the creation of a bike path and open space system by
holding a series of town hall meetings to gain input from residents on the creation
of the path/park.
To explore and develop plans and guidelines on how the path can be an integral
part of a much larger regional system
To collect, analyze and interpret data for site restoration.
To create designs and guidelines for recreational use along the Pacoima Wash.
To explore and develop plans and guidelines for habitat restoration throughout the
To explore and develop guidelines for natural habitat connectivity throughout the
region to the site
To work with City and County agencies, environmental groups, and other
stakeholder organizations to develop guidelines and plans for the path/park.
Stakeholders in the Pacoima Wash Bike Path and Greenway
A successful project must address the concerns of the various stakeholders. Below is a
partial list, with further identification of stakeholders taking place during the initial phase
of the project.
City of San Fernando
City of Los Angeles
County of Los Angeles
California Department of Transportation
Army Corp of Engineers
Regional Water Quality Board
Neighboring property owners
Neighboring residents, business, and farms
Potential trail users including cyclists, joggers, walkers, and skaters
U.S. Department of Forestry
L.A. Watershed Council
SCOPE OF WORK
The Project will be divided into four stages:
1. Experience sense of place
Understanding the site through initial perceptions, interpretations and environmental
interactions is the emphasis during this initial stage. The design team will visit the site to
establish relationships with the physical, social, cultural and environmental
characteristics of the site. During this stage, issues and concerns for the site are
determined. Activities in stage include sketching of existing and potential elements of
the site, interviews with stakeholders, first hand observations of site functions and natural
processes, brainstorming ideas, posing research questions and gaining insight through
community interaction. During this stage, the first town meeting will take place to solicit
input from the community. The experience of this initial stage will help guide the
direction of the project and the design process.
2. Research, analysis and generation of models
During this stage, the design team will assemble hard data and relevant information to
determine the relationships between the various aspects and scales of the project.
Deficiencies in information are then identified and targeted. Analysis takes place to
generate opportunities and constraints for the site at micro, site and regional levels.
Finally, various models are generated to better understand the complex relationships of
Tasks during this stage include:
Locate existing site data
Collect, assemble and analyze GIS data and/ or site data to identify
o Geographic boundaries
o Political and jurisdictional boundaries
o Demographic and economic data
o Circulatory data including pedestrian, bicycles, train and auto
o Hydrologic information
o Species diversity, wildlife habitat and vegetation
o Land use patterns, both historic and present
o Potential hazardous contaminants
Collect, assemble, and analyze available data from the City’s Planning and Public
Collect, assemble, and analyze available data concerning historical significance of
the site and adjoining areas
Analyze existing plans for Los Angeles County to determine compatibility to the
proposed site uses
Explore potential recreational uses beyond alternative transportation options
Explore habitat restoration possibilities
Explore habitat connectivity possibilities
Explore phytoremediation techniques and “best management practices”
Hold a community meeting in order to ascertain the communities needs and
Formulate preliminary design guidelines
Mid-project presentation at a second community meeting to gain additional input
from clients and community
3. Generation of possibilities and alternatives
During this stage, potential design and planning solutions will be explored. Desired
outcomes will be identified and the actions to produce these outcomes will be
generated based on the research in stage two. Alternatives will be generated based on
the identified areas of concern, with relationships between various scales being
addressed. Design alternatives will be evaluated based on the project goals and
A meeting with city officials (the client) will be scheduled in order to gain feedback
on the solutions.
4. Generation of final report, presentation and products
A final report will be produced in written form. This report will be presented to our
client and the community. The products produced at this stage will include a
professionally printed report detailing the design process, final guidelines and final
In all told, there will be four community meetings held. One meeting will be held in the
first stage, two in the second, and the last during the fourth. The community will also be
notified of presentations that will be held at Cal Poly. Additional meetings will be held
with the client as needed including the meeting mentioned in the third phase.
Contribution to the Landscape Architecture Profession and Society
One of the guidelines for choosing a 606 Studio project, is that the project must
contribute somehow to the advancement of knowledge in the field of Landscape
Architecture while also making a contribution to society. This project fulfills this
requirement in a number of ways.
First, the project looks beyond the immediate concerns of the site, its user groups, and the
immediate neighbors. In looking beyond the project boundaries, the team will look at
how the site can address native plant renewal while being in an area heavily disturbed by
industrial use. The team will also look at how this bike path/ greenway can be an amenity
for not only the neighboring developments, but also for the region as a whole. In trying to
integrate the path, greenway, and wash into a regionally ecological and social context, the
project team will promote a different approach to designing paths along flood control
channels by example.
Secondly, the open space sites are by definition brownfields and until recently
brownfields were left alone. With the limited examples and with the uniqueness of each
site, brownfield redevelopment usually requires the project team to explore new
solutions, thus adding to the knowledge base in this particular area of the field.
Though the team’s focus on interconnected greenways is not a new concept - Fredric Law
Olmsted planned interconnected greenway and park systems in the 1800’s - the concept
of including brownfields in connecting not only recreational spaces, but also to
reconnecting natural systems is a relatively new concept being championed by the
Landscape Architecture profession. Creating a system, such as this project has the
potential to do, in a vastly urbanized region has great potential for benefiting millions of
people and the local environment.
As for benefits for society, they are numerous. The project promotes regional dialogue,
the use of alternative transportation, ecological education, and physical activity for all
ages. The project will also benefit society by creating awareness for regional trail systems
that are more than just a ribbon of pavement and promoting ecological design in all
aspects of our constructed world. By benefiting society and advancing the field
knowledge in Landscape Architecture, this project’s influence will travel well beyond the
communities surrounding the site.
Printing and Copying $4,000.00
100 printed copies of full document, 50 distributed to the client
and 50 to the University, faculty, and students
Supplies, Communication and Travel $2,000.00
GIS data, photography, maps, office supplies
Phone, fax, and postage
Visits by project team
1 visit by studio class and faculty
Consultant Fees $2000.00
Copy editor and technical experts
Equipment Cost Share* $2,500.00
606 Studio technology fee
606 Studio Fee* $7,500.00
Facilities and resources fee to maintain the 606 studio
20% Cal Poly Foundation Overhead $3,600.00
* Fees required by the University
** Personnel Costs Absorbed by Cal Poly
(cost of four professional students at 40 hrs./wk for
20 weeks @ $20/hr)
Faculty supervision and expert advice $40,000.00
(Approximate- 2 faculty 15 hours/wk for 20 weeks
at $50/hr plus two faculty 5 hrs/week for 20 weeks
TOTAL SAVINGS TO CLIENT $104,000.00
Work on this project will commence during the first week of January 2004. A number of
formal presentations will be held. The first in January 2004, upon completion of stage
one; will be presented to faculty and guests at the Cal Poly Campus in Pomona. The
second presentation will be held at Cal Poly Pomona at the conclusion of stage two, in
mid-March. The third presentation will take place in June of 2004, upon completion of
the project and will be presented to faculty and guests at the Cal Poly Campus in
Pomona. A final presentation will also be made to the client in San Fernando, California.
This project, as part of the 606 Studio, fulfills the requirement for graduation from the
Department of Landscape Architecture graduate program at Cal Poly Pomona. Each
Student on the design team is expected to contribute at least 40 hours a week to his or her
Upon completion of the design project in June 2004, the client will have the opportunity
to review the written report, prior to printing. After approval by the client, final printing
of the report will occur in Fall 2004.
SCHEDULE OF PAYMENTS
The final project contract and specific schedule of payments will be managed by the Cal
Poly Pomona Foundation, Inc. The foundation is a private, non-profit foundation of the
Cal Poly Pomona Campus
606 Studio Faculty Members:
Associate Professor Kyle D. Brown, PhD.
Professor Brown is a co-principal investigator with the 606 studio. He teaches
intermediate design in both the graduate and undergraduate programs, as well as
advanced courses in the graduate curriculum. He is also serving as acting graduate
coordinator during the 2003-04 academic year. His research interests have been devoted
to increasing the relevance and effectiveness of planning and design professionals in
contemporary societies, including computer applications, and issues of social
responsibility. He is the co-editor of Time-Saver Standards for Landscape Architecture
CD-ROM, and co-author of the Landscape Architect's Portable Handbook, and Time-
Saver Standards Site Construction Detail Manual. He received a BLA from the
University of Minnesota, an MLA and Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts.
Professor and Department Chair Phil Pregill, ASLA
Professor Pregill is a co-principal investigator with the 606 studio. He is currently
Department Chair and Director of Cal Poly Pomona's Landscape Architecture in Italy
program, in addition to teaching design, history, construction, and graphics in both the
graduate and undergraduate programs. He is co-author of Landscapes in History, and is
currently conducting research on abstraction in the design process. Phil is also an
accomplished painter, and his works have appeared in numerous juried competitions. He
received his BA and his MLA from the University of Oregon.
Assistant Professor Gerald Taylor
Professor Taylor teaches in both the graduate and undergraduate programs with a focus
on landscape ecology, advanced landscape design, planting design, and plant
identification. He is actively involved in research and professional projects relating to
ecological restoration, ethnobotanical use of plants, native plant habitats, urban ecology,
and the healing and restorative properties of landscapes. In addition to being a Registered
Landscape Architect, Gerald is a Certified Arborist. He received his BSLA and his MLA
from Cal Poly Pomona.
Mr. Douglas Delgado, Lecturer
Mr. Delgado has taught advanced landscape planning in the graduate program. As a
graduate student within the Cal Poly Pomona program he co-authored a widely circulated
and often cited 606 project, “Reconnecting the San Gabriel Valley.” Professionally, he
has been actively involved in watershed planning throughout Los Angeles County,
especially the San Gabriel River Watershed. His past works include the master plan and
landscape design for the Rio Hondo and San Gabriel River Spreading Grounds and the
open space plan for the San Gabriel and Lower Los Angeles Rivers and Mountains
Conservancy. He has also participated on the steering committees of the San Gabriel
River Master Plan and the Ballona Creek Watershed Task Force and has been a frequent
speaker at planning venues throughout the region. He received his BA in economics from
UC San Diego, his JD from George Washington University and his MLA from Cal Poly
606 Studio Team Members:
Ian Fitzsimmons is a Master of Landscape Architecture Candidate at California
Polytechnic State University – Pomona. His interests lie with the environment
sustainability, public art, and public spaces. His work experience as a high end residential
landscaper and as a wholesale nurseryman has given him practical knowledge in plant
selection and construction. His liberal arts education at Southern Oregon University gave
him theoretical knowledge in art, art history, creative writing, literature, and earth
sciences. While his passion in life is painting, rafting, snorkeling, sculpture, and travel.
This combination of interests and knowledge make a well rounded person who can tackle
various projects while balancing public, private, and environmental concerns.
Jeffery Paul Creel is currently pursuing his Masters in Landscape Architecture at
California Polytechnic University at Pomona. He is also a project captain at Integrated
Design Group, a Landscape Architecture firm located in Claremont, California. His
interests include improving public education through landscape design, sustainable
regional park design, and the role of landscape architecture in sustainable urban forestry.
Jeff received his BA in Economics from The University of California at Santa Cruz.
Garrianne Bradt is a third year graduate student in the Masters of Landscape
Architecture Program at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, CA. She is a
native San Diegan who received a Bachelor of Arts in German, Russian from San Diego
State University. She received an Associate of Science in Ornamental
Horticulture/Landscape Design from Cuyamaca College. Garrianne served as a member
of the Point Loma Peninsula Planning Board and was instrumental in preserving the
Famosa Slough located in the San Diego community of Point Loma/Ocean Beach. As a
landscape architect, Garrianne desires to specialize in ecological design and planning
with emphasis on urban design and brownfield redevelopment.
John Stuart Fishback is a Masters of Landscape Architecture candidate at California
State Polytechnic University, Pomona. His educational interest centers on the
investigation of natural process as a model for environmental design in public, urban
spaces. He continues to pursue means of educating the public through design. An
emphasis is placed upon furthering an understanding of the connection between people
and their environment. It is hoped that a deepened clarity of this connection will promote
a more healthy individual, community, and world for all.
Carly Meiko Furuno is an MLA Candidate currently works as the student landscape
architect for the Angeles National Forest. Her interests lie in native plants, habitat
restoration, and preservation of our natural resources. She received a B.A. in American
Literature and a minor in Asian American Studies from the University of California at
Tiffany Galaway is a master student of landscape architecture at Cal Poly Pomona,
Tiffany is motivated by the opportunity to resolve landscape issues through innovative
design practices that are both sensitive to the environment as well as understanding of the
social, cultural and historical landscape of the area. Through challenging our solutions to
intertwine these many factors, she believes a design will emerge that facilitates not only
regeneration of the spirit of the landscape but also results in one of those special places
that is restorative of the human spirit. During the summer of 2003, Tiffany was selected
to join a small team of international planning and environmental design students for
EDAW's Summer Student Program in Beijing, China. In China, the team was asked to
evaluate, enhance, and incorporate an integrated master plan for a mixed-use
development and public open space system within the context of a site rich with Chinese
cultural heritage. Critical issues included, but were not limited to environmental
remediation and water resource management, heritage resource management, community
economic and identity building and development of a sustainable new town community.
Tiffany finds integral consideration of the many factors involved on a site facilitates her
design process and helps to stimulate creative solutions that resonate many perspectives.
Laurel Gollong is a Master of Landscape Architecture candidate. Her interests include
habitat restoration and regenerative design. Laurel is currently working for the City of
Los Angeles, Environmental Affairs Department on urban greening projects throughout
the City, as well as specific projects within the Los Angeles Unified School District. She
received a B.A. in History from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Nancy Heuler completed three years of the undergraduate landscape architecture
program at Cal Poly Pomona, prior to becoming a third year landscape architecture
Masters Degree candidate. She also has a B.S. in nutrition from the University of Texas
having worked in hospitals as a registered dietitian. She is interested in bringing humans
into closer contact with the healing and educational powers of nature, through public
gardens, parks, schools and wilderness experience. Specific interests include water
issues, planting design and incorporating regenerative design principles into
communities, wetlands, planting design and therapeutic gardens.
Chunghao Kuo is a Master of Landscape Architecture candidate at California State
Polytechnic University, Pomona. He is interested in applying regenerative design to
both built and natural environments. After the devastating 1999 earthquake in the central
part of Taiwan, he participated as a community planner in rebuilding the town of Puli.
He received a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Tamkang University, Taiwan 1995.
Janet McFerran is a third year Master of Landscape Architect candidate at Cal Poly
Pomona. Janet has a B.S. in Kinesiology from U.C.L.A. and is a California Registered
Physical Therapist Assistant. Her interest in Landscape Architecture centers on
Sustainable Development and Regenerative Design at a variety of scales. Janet is a
member of Sigma Lambda Alpha International Honor Society for Landscape
Architecture. She has been awarded a Chapman Forestry Award in 2002 and 2003, the
2003 Second Year Graduate Creativity Award, a 2003 Lifescapes Scholarship Award and
a Graduate Presidential Fellowship for the 2003-04 school year. After graduation, Janet
plans to continue her education on the doctoral level in the area of Environmental
Studies, do local and international research and consulting, and teach on the university
Lynn Neyman has both a Bachelor of Professional Studies in Architecture degree and a
Master of Architecture degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo. Many
of her studios there involved working with small communities to help assist those who
lived there with their design decisions. Some of these studios included weekly town
meetings assisting not-for-profit organizations who were interested in revitalizing their
communities through pubic art and information kiosks. Lynn was also involved in
studios that looked at larger scale projects involving county Planning Boards. While
attending school at Cal Poly Pomona Lynn has developed and expanded her interests into
large scale renewal projects including ecological and historical preservation and
restoration. She has a strong interest in bringing life and vitality back to areas through
human involvement, awareness and use. After graduating she wishes to integrate her two
degrees by pursuing an architecture and landscape architecture career at an urban and
regional scale planning firm.
Samuel G. Sabin III brings over 30 years of technical experience in the landscaping
industry. As a contractor he designs, installs, and maintains landscapes on a regular
basis. As a Project Manager, he has overseen the design, planning, specifications, and
budgeting of numerous diverse landscape architectural projects. He is highly proficient
in AutoCAD, MicroStation, and other software such as Microsoft Word, Excel, and
Josh Segal holds a BA degree in Communication from UC San Diego and has a
background in graphic design, web design, and marketing. His interests in landscape
architecture are in the areas of urban revitalization, open space preservation, and native
plant design. For his project titled "Developing a New Suburbanism," Josh was awarded
a commendation in the 2003 ASLA National Student Design Competition.