Green Together Pacoima

Pacoima is squeezed between two freeways, a private airport, and surrounded by some of the city’s most heavily polluting industries. More than 50,000 people live within these 4.3 square miles in Northeast Los Angeles. Decades of disinvestment have left this small predominantly Latino community with crumbling sidewalks, polluted air, and a dilapidated city park. Residents have some of the highest rates of asthma and childhood obesity in region. In the summer, vast expanses of asphalt bake the neighborhood because there are few trees to provide shade. When it does rain, the streets flood because there is limited soil to capture stormwater. Knowing meaningful change could only come from within the community, a group of neighbors, calling themselves Pacoima Beautiful, lit the spark that has turned Pacoima into a model for change. 

They started by creating one small, pocket park out of an unused side street. This little stretch of native plants and shaded seating has become a much loved public space, known as Bradley Plaza, where neighbors meet for picnics or Zumba. Pacoima Beautiful worked with The Trust for Public Land to build the park and a turn an adjoining alley into a safe passageway for pedestrians that does double duty as a drain for millions of gallons of stormwater. This success helped this community realize they could do so much more. Once again, Pacoima Beautiful turned to The Trust for Public Land to undertake an even more ambitious effort.

The two organizations teamed up with Community Partners, GRID Alternatives, Los Angeles Business Council, LA Conservation Corp, and the City of Los Angeles to create a holistic program with a constellation of health and environmental benefits for the people of Pacoima. Working hand-in-hand with neighbors through intensive community outreach, with help from workers hired from within the community, big changes are in the works. 

Greener spaces

Throughout Pacoima, trees and native plants will clean the air, cool the neighborhood, and reduce water run-off.
David M. Gonzalez Park is being revitalized with shade trees, native plants, walking paths, and a picnic area. Below the surface of the park, state-of-the-art technology to capture and clean more than a football field’s worth of stormwater. 


ca_heatislands_IntlCommSchool_10302019_015Kira Maritano – Bay Area Parks for People Project Manager Photo Credit: Angela DeCenzo

Safer Streets

2.4 miles of pedestrian improvements will allow neighbors to safely walk or bike. This includes new sidewalks, high-visibility crosswalks, ADA sidewalk ramps, and designated space for bicycles along Pacoima’s streets.

hi_a_ala_park_10112020_037Photo Credit: John Bilderback

Modern infrastructure

By 2030 most cars on California roads will need to meet zero emission standards. To be sure low-income communities like Pacoima are not left behind, charging stations are being installed throughout the neighborhood.

co_westwoodviaverde_09262020_061.JPGPeople paint murals on the road for The Westwood Via Verde project outside of Munroe Elementary in Denver, CO, on September 26, 2020.Photo Credit: F4D Studio

As a result of this community effort, over 32,000 MT of GHG emissions will be prevented, over 9 million gallons of stormwater runoff averted, and 95 jobs will be created in the local community. Too many low-income communities like Pacoima face similar challenges. Cut off from other neighborhoods by highways, and sandwiched between polluting industries, residents lack access to parks and sidewalks or crosswalks are nonexistent. The Trust for Public Land works with those who know these communities best, the people who live there, to build new parks and create treasured green spaces. We unlock funding to support our community partners, and we bring the might of a national organization to help address system disinvestment – so neighbors can live in the safe, healthy communities they deserve. 

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