Rendering of East L.A. median

Rendering of one of the medians after project has been completed

East Los Angeles -- Several large median strips and traffic islands will soon be doing double duty by helping clean stormwater runoff and providing more recreational uses.

Earlier this month the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved the East Los Angeles Sustainable Median Stormwater Capture Project. It will divert urban and stormwater runoff into dry wells underneath several large medians and roadways on Northside Drive and Southside Drive between Simmons Avenue and Garfield Avenue.

The area is part of a subdivision called Montebello Park, a former ranch that was transformed into a new suburb in the 1920s. This East L.A. neighborhoods features several wide medians and traffic islands, some nearly three acres in size. The streets form large concentric ovals that are bisected by what is now Olympic Boulevard. 

The project includes catch basins, infiltration wells and drought-tolerant landscaping. There will also be above ground improvements such as jogging paths, granite walkways, picnic tables and exercise stations. Additionally, educational opportunities on sustainable development and habitat preservation are part of the plan.

“We are delivering more comprehensive, community-serving, and livable projects that address the multi-faceted needs of all of our communities,” said Supervisor Hilda L. Solis, whose district includes unincorporated East Los Angeles. “By approving this project, we are directing County resources where they can make the greatest impact on improving overall health and wellness.

The project will cost approximately $31 million—coming from grant funding, the county general fund and contributions by the city of Monterey Park, Montebello and the Flood Control District. The decision to back the project came after three community meetings—the first one was in April 2016.

Construction is set to start in Fall 2019 and all the phases are expected to be finished by Winter 2020.

east la stormwater Map.jpg

The stormwater project will focus on several medians and traffic island in the southeastern corner of East Los Angeles.

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